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9 Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities You'll Be Glad You Signed Up For
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9 Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities You'll Be Glad You Signed Up For

Sign up for outdoor volunteer opportunities you’re passionate about and spend a bit of your free time doing selfless work.

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5 min read

May 13, 2021

So you want to make California a better place for everyone to live. Awesome, you’ve come to the right place. These outdoor volunteer opportunities are for people who have heart and are willing to put in the effort to make the Golden State the best place it can be. These incredible organizations’ initiatives allow you to spread love and joy through volunteering and help your community thrive.

Sign up for outdoor volunteer opportunities you’re passionate about and spend a bit of your free time doing selfless work. We promise that the reward of volunteering will leave you feeling satisfied—after you've tried it once, you’ll want to volunteer more. 

Outdoor volunteer work you'll love doing

Do you love working with people and being in the great outdoors? Then apply to the Fish and Game Natural Resource Volunteer Program.

1. Natural Resource Volunteer Program

California’s Department of Fish and Game Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) is perfect for those who love the outdoors and working with people. During this outdoor volunteer opportunity, you’ll be involved in conservation efforts and will help educate the general public about California’s wildlife and natural resources.

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to volunteer. First, you have to submit an application and a personal history statement. Then, you’ll need to pass an interview and background check. Once selected, you’ll complete an 80-hour training course and a six-month probation period.

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2. L.A. Works

From adult education and family services, to hunger and homelessness, L.A. Works has volunteer opportunities that support a variety of causes (including virtual ones). Perhaps the most urgent volunteering opportunity of all is the COVID-19 testing program. You’ll provide widespread testing to the citizens of Los Angeles, ensure the efficient flow of self-administered tests, and ultimately help your community through the pandemic.

To apply to this outdoor volunteer opportunity, you need to be over the age of 18, have a legal ID and social security number, and be in overall good health.

Beach cleanup volunteering

Want to know why California's beaches are so clean? It's thanks to the volunteers of the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

3. California Department of Parks and Recreation

The California Department of Parks and Recreation helps keep the Golden State’s beaches clean with the help of kind-hearted volunteers. While the regular beach cleanup programs have been suspended during the pandemic due to safety issues, the efforts certainly haven’t. If you’re an eager volunteer who wants to keep your local beach in pristine condition, you can still do it with the Home to Beach Cleanup program.

This outdoor volunteer work encourages you to clean a beach near your home and take pictures of the results. The pictures of your cleanup will then be shared on social media to spread the volunteer spirit to your friends and neighbors. Anyone can take part in this beach cleanup volunteering until the regular cleanup programs are resumed. Yay for clean California beaches!

Camping volunteer opportunities

If you love combining volunteering with fun activities, you should definitely apply to Camp Quest West's program to do that and more.

4. Camp Quest West 

Are you passionate about science, children, and the great outdoors? You'll love volunteering with Camp Quest West. Whether you want to volunteer as a camp staff member or work behind the scenes, you'll love the camping volunteer opportunities provided here.

Work with awesome people and help educate campers about creative and critical thinking, self-respect, ethics, democracy, free speech, and more. Apply online and have fun making wonderful summer memories while doing this outdoor volunteer work.

Hiking trail volunteer work

There's a reason why the Bay Area Ridge Trail is one of the best hiking spots in Norcal. Maintain the trail and give back to the community.

5. Bay Area Ridge Trail

Do you love hiking in Northern California and maintaining the environment? Help the Bay Area Ridge Trail promote and sustain the famous trail so it can be enjoyed year-round. Give back to the community by doing maintenance trail volunteer work, trail advocacy, leading local outings, and more. After all, without the efforts of organizations like Bay Area Ridge Trail and their devoted volunteers, the best hikes in Northern California wouldn't be what they are today.

6. Angeles National Forest

If you’re in the southern end of the state but still want to do trail volunteer work, the Angeles National Forest could always use your help. Contact the Angeles Volunteers Association (AVA) to preserve and care for the forest. Get in touch with the Bear Canyon Trail Crew to maintain the five-mile trail and the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) to help the mountain-biking community. 

More outdoor volunteer opportunities are also available throughout the year, each with their own qualifications and missions. Choose what you’re most passionate about, help make Southern California’s natural habitat prosper, and stay in top-notch shape.

Volunteer to plant trees

Someone is sitting in the shade today because somebody planted a tree a long time ago. Be that person and help plant more trees in the state.

7. California ReLeaf

California ReLeaf is all about preserving, protecting, and enhancing the Golden State’s urban and community forests. You can volunteer to plant trees and even do so in your own yard—this will not only make your neighborhood greener, but it will also easily increase your property value. Other ways to help through outdoor volunteer opportunities with ReLeaf include caring for community trees and encouraging kids to raise awareness and interest in trees. Check out the ReLeaf network to find a community near you and get planting ASAP.

8. TreePeople

A ground-up movement aiming at building a more sustainable future for California, TreePeople increases tree canopy in urban forests by protecting local mountains and educating others to do the same. Be a part of the change and volunteer with TreePeople throughout Southern California. Whether you volunteer to plant trees, adopt a tree, or become a community leader, your time and effort will definitely be appreciated in the most rewarding and fun way possible. Get involved now and inspire others to volunteer with TreePeople.

Volunteer to build homes

Build up your community with Habitat for Humanity. Transform your neighborhood and make the world a better place.

9. Habitat for Humanity

Volunteer to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and help everyone in your community live in a dignified residential environment. Build, renovate, and repair homes, and ensure that your neighbors can live in decent, affordable, and sustainable housing. Enter your ZIP code on the website to find outdoor volunteer work near you. Other programs include Travel and Build, where you can build shelters in various locations; Youth Programs, aimed at volunteers from ages five to forty; Veterans Build, which provides employment and homeownership opportunities to vets; and many more cool programs. You're sure to find something that interests you in your area.

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