Awesome Conservation Projects Looking for Volunteers

If you're passionate about the marine world and are frustrated with how some things seem to never change, you should consider volunteering for a cause. Volunteering is a wonderful way to be a part of something that impacts not just your own life, but countless others as well, human and otherwise. Conservation projects are always looking for people who are dedicated to enacting change.

The dedication of volunteers is often the strongest asset to any cause, more so than money or material goods. A feeling of connection that comes with participation in these types of projects is the ultimate reward for the volunteer, which perpetuates the cycle of goodwill.

Many places worldwide need the help of volunteers to rehabilitate or protect marine habitats, perform research, and encourage others to participate as well. If you feel like something should change, don't hesitate to volunteer your time, expertise, and enthusiasm! Every hand is a step closer to achieving a goal.

Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup

Ocean Conservancy began the International Coastal Cleanup more than 30 years ago, inciting the global population to take the health of their marine environments into their own hearts and hands. Thousands of cleanups are scheduled worldwide throughout the year, with the main event commencing September 15, 2018. The International Coastal Cleanup focuses on recording every single thing they pick up during their cleanups in order to produce data about where the pollution is coming from.

Cleanups take place on beaches, in and underwater, along riverbanks and streams — anywhere that garbage is polluting a source that runs to the sea. Anyone of any age can assist in the cleanup and help raise awareness of the plastic that's slowly killing our seas and their inhabitants.

Project AWARE's Dive Against Debris

Project AWARE has teamed up with Partnerships Against Trash to create the Dive Against Debris events, which systematically record data about and remove ocean debris from every possible marine environment. This conservation project is ongoing, and enlists the help of certified and experienced divers to join or create their own underwater survey in their area.

The information gathered and actions taken during the course of Dive Against Debris surveys don't just improve the immediate health and condition of the marine environment. They also help inform governmental policy changes by gathering real-time information about these environments from people actually working within them.

Reef Check Foundation

Reef Check Foundation is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preservation of tropical coral reef systems. According to their website, Reef Check is always looking for volunteers, and while dive skills are certainly valued, they are not absolutely necessary to participate.

A wide variety of people are needed to volunteer, including photographers, divers, marine scientists, students, small businesses, media, and general public, with volunteer opportunities available worldwide.

Sea Turtle Conservation

Sea turtle conservation volunteer work is a bit more location-based. There are seven species of sea turtles left on the planet, and each one is endangered. Sea turtle conservation consists of recording data about the animal's size, habitat, and nesting behaviors. Nesting sites will often be relocated for the safety of the turtle eggs, and volunteers may assist in their release upon hatching.

You can use an online search engine to locate possible turtle conservation projects in your area if you live where sea turtles nest. There are even hotels that plan nightly events around sea turtle conservation and volunteerism. Even if you don't live anywhere near the beach, you can still offer your services in other ways. If you want to play a part in saving seven sea turtle species, there will always be a way.

Images via USFWS PacificUSFWS/Southeast

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