There’s no denying the benefits of being outdoors, a day spent in nature is good for body and soul. In honor of Earth Day this month Woolx in Action team member, outdoor enthusiast, and founder of technologyhiker.com, Justin Knowles, shares some ways we can give back to the outdoor areas that have given us so much.
5 Ways to Give Back to the Outdoors
Earth Day on April 22 and National Trails Day on June 4 inspire people to give back to the environment. How best to volunteer in the outdoors and think global, act local? Here’s five proven ways to help support your outdoor community, get some fresh air, and have fun.
1) Trail Builder
Have you ever wondered who built a hiking trail? Chances are they’re built or maintained by dedicated volunteers. Without dedicated volunteers most trails would quickly fall into disrepair. Trail building gives volunteers a new appreciation of trails, parks, and hiking. Many groups sponsor half day, full day, or longer volunteer trail builds with training, tools, and a beautiful location. The American Hiking Society, Pacific Crest Trail Association,, or local groups like the Trail Center organize many volunteer trail builds.
2) Weed Warrior
What do kudzu, cheatgrass, and scotch broom have in common? They are all non-native plants to North America and significantly alter habitats. Displacing native plants reduces biodiversity and can threaten local animals. Weed warrior volunteers remove invasive plants, restore habitats, and support the growth of native plants. Plant Native, California Native Plant Society, and Volunteer Match list events.
3) Hike Leader
Do you enjoy fresh air, nice views, and conversations with few distractions? Group hikes need leaders to plan & organize. Sharing your passion for the outdoors on a hike with family, friends, or an organization is one of the simplest ways to give back. The Appalachian Mountain Club, Sierra Club, and local Meetup hiking groups organize hikes.
Do you have a passion for sharing the secrets of a natural area or park history? Docents often staff interpretive center tours, lead tour groups, and help educate the public. Parks or conservancy groups typically train docents on park highlights and interacting with the public. Volunteer.gov lists many opportunities and local parks like Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve have extensive programs.
5) Outdoor Organization Board Member
Who sets direction & supports outdoor organizations today? Volunteer Board of Directors help define the non-profit’s strategy, support programs, and drive fundraising. The best bet to get involved is with many local park foundations, friend groups, or affinity groups like trail building or mountain biking. These groups need talented, dedicated volunteers for boards. Skills in finance, IT, legal, or marketing are especially valued. Local organizations like the San Mateo County Parks Foundation and Eno River Association are just a few of many local park groups with volunteer board opportunities.
Thanks Justin! Participating in responsible stewardship of the environment is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make sure that these wonderful wild places will still be there for generations to come. You can follow along with Justin as he and his family explore the west coast and beyond on TechnologyHiker.com and on Twitter: @technologyhiker and Instagram: @technologyhiker.