Eco-volunteering is a great way to give back to the environment while simultaneously experiencing everything it has to offer. Tourism has a massive impact on ecosystems, animals, and cultures of the world. While attracting foreigners can improve the economy of various nations, the net effect of tourism is often negative. By choosing an eco-volunteering opportunity for your next trip, you can forge your own unique path while reducing your carbon footprint.
Orangutans are endangered species that need our help to improve their dwindling populations. You can travel to Borneo to help with the conservation effort through programs like The Great Orangutan Project. Borneo is home to some of the oldest rainforests in the world, and this tropical destination is filled with all kinds of unique and interesting animal and plant species.
Ecotourism in Borneo will place you at the center of these wild, untamed locations. The Great Orangutan Project, for example, is situated at the Matang Wildlife Center. Aside from orangutans, there are many other endangered and threatened animals you can help in Borneo, including sun bears, binturongs, tarsiers, and many others.
Much of the conservation efforts in Borneo revolve around combating deforestation, which creates many orphaned Orangutans and displaced animals. During your downtime, you can have a chance to explore the glorious rainforest that surrounds you, and this can be a life-changing experience.
Belize offers some of the cheapest volunteer opportunities in the world, and you can fly down to this Caribbean paradise to have the time of your life. While there are many unique and interesting ecotourism opportunities in this Central American nation, their marine conservation opportunities really stand out.
One such opportunity involves staying on a private island with other volunteers to swim and dive in the surrounding waters. There, you can help out all kinds of local marine life. If you don’t have your diving license, you can become PADI-certified within the first three days of your stay.
A group of local scientists lead volunteers in their efforts to conserve the populations of whale sharks, queen conches, lobsters, and more. You’ll also have the opportunity to combat invasive species such as lionfish by engaging in spearfishing. Belize has all kinds of amazing things to see and do during your free time, and you’ll only be volunteering for about five hours per day. You can use the rest of your time to stroll along picturesque beaches, visit ancient Mayan pyramids, or go kayaking.
The beautiful deserts of Israel are home to many animal species that need help, including leopards, tortoises, oryxes, sand cats, and more. Although these animals are native to the Negev region, they require assistance to repopulate the area and restore the landscape to its former glory.
You can travel to Israel and help with these efforts in the Arabah Desert. You’ll be working hand in hand with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and tasks include feeding the animals that call the Nature Reserve home.
In your free time, you can explore the local area, where nomadic Bedouin people still roam. An excursion to a local coral reef is included if you need to cool off, and you’ll receive a guided tour of Tel Aviv to experience some local culture.
Remember, the cool thing about eco-conservation is that it’s a relatively cheap way to see the world. Because you’ll be expected to work (quite hard in many cases), your room and board are generally included in the overall package at a low price. Not only will you make a substantial contribution to the planet, but you’ll also experience some of the world’s most majestic locations without breaking the bank.