Volunteers More Than Just People

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Environmental volunteer jobs are plentiful and available both at home and around the world. Positions range from secretarial and administrative assistants, journalists and field biologists to ecologists, and everything in between. Volunteers may be anywhere from 18-80, retired or just beginning their education. They can volunteer for a few weeks or for six months. Most of the people who volunteer for environmental jobs have a thirst for knowledge, a scientific nature, and a desire to keep our planet green and safe.

Environmental monitoring helps the public become aware, and get involved in the technology and politics that surround conservation of endangered species. This results in a more democratic decision-making process. Environmental jobs assume great significance in areas that have a lot of conservation regulations and stringent environmental standards.

Costa Rica is a country full of natural wonders; rain forest, ocean front, rich farm land, and wonderful flora and fauna. They have an extensive volunteer program in place to protect their environment. Over 25% of the country has been set aside as national parks and preserves, and they are careful not to allow their tourism to damage their resources. Still, they are dealing with issues such as the endangered sea turtle and other species, preservation and restoration of the rain forest, etc.

Volunteers can expect to deal with clean up efforts, monitoring of wildlife, the maintenance of trails and other such activities. However, the most important activity for environmental volunteers is running campaigns to educate the public. The volunteers must be flexible, patient, and tolerant, and able to adapt to each new situations presented to them. This is not always easy when there is so much to be done. The volunteers are assigned to a local host family, who provide them with a room, breakfast, and dinner every day. This helps to bring a new understanding between very different cultures.

Costa Rica is looking for all types of volunteer workers. You can choose between biological research, planting, reforestation, animal welfare, protection of the endangered sea turtle, wild life surveillance, ecotourism, or perhaps pastoral work, education and organization of the community. No experience is required.

Though there are often jobs around the world that pay a salary, most of the international environmental volunteer jobs are voluntary. Most government agencies and not for profit companies are on very tight budgets and simply cannot find the resources to hire all of the manpower that is needed. So volunteering is the alternative. While you are providing this most necessary service you can continue to look for paid work and consider this as additional experience that will look impressive on your resume. It will change your perspective and you may make some important contacts along the way. If you are very lucky, the agency you are working with may be able to reimburse you for your room and board and even for transportation.

In the United States, the Forestry Service employs nearly 100,000 volunteers each year. Among other things, these volunteers plant trees, restore damaged streambeds, help with fire protection, host campgrounds, lead nature walks, and give lectures for visitor tours. They are expected to work for a minimum of six to eight weeks. Summer volunteers should commit for at least a month. The volunteer is expected to be in good health.
In the Fish and Wildlife Service, the volunteer handles trail and bridge building, as well as habitat restoration. Other tasks include the surveying of birds, stocking the streams with fish, banding animals, and assisting in research.

There is also a huge need for volunteers to fill emergency medical positions around the world. Volunteers are needed to respond quickly to disasters such as disease outbreaks, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. Registered doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, should respond quickly when a catastrophic event occurs. In most cases you can even volunteer if your license has expired. Your knowledge and experience will still be of tremendous value. Contacts can be easily found online.

Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America all are crying for medical and international volunteers. Medical volunteer jobs are available and needed to give assistance to people at medical risk, give immunizations to prevent the spread of disease, distribute food, water, medicines, and equipment to the local health camps, and to help these victims become self-reliant once more.

80% of the refugees in the world are women and children. Environmental volunteer jobs can help to lessen mortality, enable safe deliveries in local hospitals, and educate and train local doctors and midwives. They are fed nutritious meals and given education and training that will enable them to take care of themselves and their families.

Medical and environmental volunteers are working feverishly in Africa to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS related diseases. Local healthcare workers are being trained to educate communities on prevention, fight ignorance, and prevent transmission from mother to child. No one approach will work, so these programs deal with testing, prevention, and education.

Let us not forget that there are environmental crises occurring in our own country as well. Habitat has been stolen from the wildlife all across the country. The manatee is endangered in Florida. Whales are in trouble all over the world. Sharks are hunted ruthlessly. Dolphins and seals are senselessly destroyed when caught in fishermen's nets. Environmental volunteers can help with this crusade as well.
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