Do you want to use your gap year to do something meaningful? If the answer is yes, volunteering in conservation can be just what you are looking for. No one can keep their eyes and ears shut to all to climate changes that are affecting our environment. The worst part is that humans played a huge part in bringing the planet Earth in the state in which is now. Luckily, more and more people, especially young ones, are dedicating their time to contribute to environmentalist organizations.
By volunteering in conservation, you can help with the preservation and survival of key environments, wildlife, and eco-systems. Work on resolving big issues like deforestation, climate change, and poaching. You can be a part of the group that will have an impact on the future. Those of you who want to get involved in conservation volunteering should know what to consider before you make the big decision.
Decide What You’ll Project Will Be
There are many different kinds of conservation projects. However, if they are to be categorized, there are 3 main groups:
- Animal conservation
- Marine conservation
- Environmental conservation
Wildlife conservation projects are perfect for animal lovers. In this way, you’ll be directly contributing to the protection of some of the world’s most endangered animals. Your actions can prevent habitat destruction, hunting, and trafficking. Besides, you’ll be able to observe elephants, tigers, rhinos, lions, pandas, sloths, jaguars, and other animals in their natural habitat.
Marine conservation includes monitoring delicate marine eco-systems as well as working on their preservation. As they are suffering from habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing, you can work on collecting data that will motivate the government to take action.
Environmental conservation includes both of the above project types. You’ll be working on preserving different kinds of environments. Additionally, you can help local communities to peacefully interact with the nature that surrounds them.
Marie Fincher is an environmentalist and a freelance writer who works at Trust My Paper and Grab My Essay. She shared her experience with conservation volunteering by talking about the project she chose and how she made the decision. “I wanted to do something meaningful in my gap year so I chose to volunteer. Somehow I instantly knew that I wanted to work with animals so I solely dedicated myself to animal conservation. It was one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of my life,” said Marie.
Think About the Location
Conservation volunteering usually takes place in exotic locations around the world. Some of the places where you can be situated are:
- Costa Rica
Think about what type of location suits you. Where you would like to contribute to conservation? Take several locations into consideration and narrow down the choice based on the type of project you want to be a part of.
Another factor that can influence your location decision and your travel plan is the budget. Pick a country that can provide you with what you want and keep you within your intended budget.
How Long Do You Want the Trip to Last?
The next big question you need to ask yourself is how much time do you want to dedicate to this project? Do you want volunteering to last the whole year or several weeks?
You may have taken a year off, but you don’t have to spend the whole year volunteering. This is something that depends on you and your plans.
There are many short-term volunteer opportunities. You can spend a week or 10 days on your volunteering project as a test run, for example. After that, you can decide whether you want to take on the next project or do something different.
Some prefer long trips that last for weeks, months, or even the whole year. Others engage in several projects because they like to be a part of everything.
“What’s amazing is that you have all these choices in front of you and you can completely tailor this experience to your wishes and obligations,” says Henry Willis, a contributor writer at Studicus. “I spent my whole gap year volunteering in Thailand but my best friend spent a month due to his other responsibilities. Either way, you are the one who makes the decision on how long you can and want to volunteer,” explains Henry.
Look into Different Organizations
There are various organizations that offer conservation volunteering. That does give you more choices but it also makes the process of choosing more difficult.
What you should keep in mind while searching for an organization is that it is a credible organization with testimonials that prove their claims.
Organizations that have experience are more likely to deliver what they have promised.
The criteria for volunteering programs vary from organization to organization. That is why looking into organizations ahead of time is important. The sooner you find the organization you want to cooperate with, you can start collecting documents and preparing for your trip.
Additionally, don’t forget about your budget. This plays a huge role when deciding on the agency. Before you agree on anything, ask about the travel expenses and how much additional costs you can expect. You need to know in advance what will be covered by the program and what you need to pay for.
Some Final Thoughts
Volunteering in conservation can be truly an amazing experience. Being a part of such a program can give your actions a purpose. Through volunteering, you will gain real-world experience, meet new friends, and enrich your life with the knowledge that you did something good for the environment.
Get ready to experience something completely different and embrace the new adventure. This can be your way to make a valuable memory and broaden your mindset.