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What does an Environmental Volunteer do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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The responsibilities of an environmental volunteer will vary from organization to organization. Many people who volunteer to do environmental work may find themselves in the field doing hard labor to benefit the environment, while other environmental volunteer jobs may include helping run a non-profit or other type of group that aims to improve the environment on a local or even global scale. Some environmental volunteer work involves cleaning up after environmental disasters, or simply maintaining trails, forests, and wildlife areas. Other volunteers may be responsible for spreading the word about a particular environmental cause or organization, and others may volunteer to help secure financial support for environmental projects or organizations.

An environmental volunteer of course does not get paid, so the work he or she does is often done in his or her spare time. Some volunteers elect to do a little bit of work consistently over a long period of time, while other environmental volunteer positions require a person to spend a significant amount of time doing volunteer work all at once, or in a shorter timeframe. Some volunteer organizations recruit high school and college students during summer breaks to do environmental volunteer work throughout the world.

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Work in the field may include maintaining trails, clearing brush, picking up garbage or debris, designing and building better trails, barriers, or other features, or even developing and distributing educational materials. Qualified volunteers may even work with wildlife management agencies who are responsible for maintaining the safety and welfare of wildlife in a protected area. The US National Park Service often has volunteer positions available throughout the world; this service is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the national parks, and volunteers may end up doing repair or maintenance work within the parks. Volunteers may also work with park rangers to educate the public about issues that affect the wildlife within the park or the preservation of the park itself.

Fundraising is a common type of environmental volunteer work. Environmental advocacy groups often need financial backing for a variety of reasons, from political action to trail maintenance. A volunteer may work with the organization to solicit funds in the form of donations, or may participate in fundraising drives and other fundraising activities that will benefit the organization, which is very often a non-profit organization. Marketing is a big part of the fundraising process, so volunteers may help with developing and executing a marketing plan as well.

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