Volunteer Abroad USA: California Nature Conservation
This international volunteer project will give you a few weeks of excitement in California. You and other volunteers from around the world will play an active role in nature conservation in the western USA, living in the heart of California's breathtaking natural landscape. The downtime between projects will give you ample opportunity to enjoy the region’s breathtaking nature and the American Way of Life at your base – between Boulder Creek and the Big Basin Redwoods State Park as well as beautiful Lake Tahoe. Your work on the project will take you to the breathtaking Big Sur area, well away from the beaten path, giving you an insight into California which few will be able to match.
- Become part of a conservation project in the "Golden State"
- Help conserve California's pristine natural areas
- Meet volunteers from all over the world
- Sleep in California's wild nature
- Discover the West Coast's unique national parks and beaches
Plan your trip
Included in the programme fee
- Placement in the programme
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Assistance with selecting travel insurance
- Assistance with booking flights
- Pre-departure information pack
Daniel, your travel agent for California
You would like to learn more about this trip? Don't hesitate to contact me! Our service doesn't end with your departure: I answer all of your questions and support you before, during and after your stay abroad
Conservation volunteering in California
As part of this project in beautiful California you get the chance to actively contribute to conserving nature and, at the same time, discover the fascinating West Coast of the USA.
Arrival and orientation on the US West Coast
You arrive at San Francisco International Airport on a Saturday and will be picked up by our partner in the USA and taken to your base station. Here you can settle into your room, meet your fellow volunteers and get an overview of the project’s goals and your tasks.
Volunteer activities in the United States
In this project you will have the chance to make a valuable contribution to nature conservation efforts on the West Coast of the USA. Over the course of your stay, you will be involved in different tasks in order to protect the California landscape, focusing on trail building and maintenance work. Moreover, building dry walls and fences, removing invasive plant species and erosion control belong to your volunteer tasks.
If you stay in the project for 8 or 10 weeks you will mainly be working at locations around Santa Cruz and the Big Sur Coast. Those who stay for 12 weeks will additionally perform conservation tasks at breathtaking Lake Tahoe, located right at the border to Nevada. You will spend 6 weeks at the Santa Cruz/Big Sur project site, and 6 further weeks at the Lake Tahoe site.
You will not only acquire knowledge of several trail building techniques and become proficient with several hand tools, but you will also get to know the biodiversity of beautiful California, well away from the beaten path. The work will usually follow an 8-6-8 rhythm: eight days in the volunteer project, then back to the base station in Boulder Creek for six days off (note: this rhythm may vary!). Then you will return to the project to work for another eight days. Your time as a volunteer in one of California’s impressive regions enables you to explore the Golden State in detail and, at the same time, to make a valuable contribution to conserving the state’s unique nature.
Accommodation during the conservation project
A volunteer accommodation between Boulder Creek and the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, in the midst of California’s impressive Redwood forests, will be your base between projects, no matter if you stay for 8, 10 or 12 weeks. You will be accommodated in one of the volunteer houses in a shared room. This means that you can spend your free time with international volunteers from all over the world and get to know your surroundings together. On the days between projects the participants are responsible for feeding themselves and there is a kitchen for this in each house.
When joining the project for 12 weeks, a volunteer house near Lake Tahoe will serve as an additional accommodation. Here, you will also sleep in shared rooms and use shared bathrooms. Just like the volunteer house near Boulder Creek, this accommodation has a shared kitchen, a living room, a dining area and an office. There are many neighbouring businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants, a pharmacy and a new indoor climbing gym.
During the projects you will sometimes spend the nights on camp sites with sanitary facilities, sometimes in the wild. Meals are always prepared by the entire group.
Leisure time as a volunteer in North America
Between projects we would highly recommend that you explore the magnificent scenery in the area with other volunteers. There are plenty of opportunities for this: Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada or Death Valley. Natucate will gladly help you with your plans and we can give you valuable tips for an unforgettable journey through the western USA.
Arrival in San Francisco
Your stay in the conservation project: A typical volunteer day
Last day in the volunteer project and departure
“After a few days in the house there it feels like my new home and I met a lot of nice people from all over the world. It’s a good experience to live and work with them [...].”
“The time in this wonderful place passed so quickly, I will never forget the experiences I made and I am sure about one thing: I will definitely come back!”
“Retrospectively I can say that the three months in California were one of my best experiences in my life and I would nothing do differently.”
“During the backcountry project, we had the chance to discover new experiences in the middle of nature, far away from civilization and the usual tourist places. I have never experienced such silence. Even while camping in the woods, we could hear the ocean.”
“Participating in projects for the protection and improvement of those natural areas feels amazing, there is not better office to be working than those landscapes!”
Finn spent five amazing months in California where he volunteered in our nature conservation project preserving local natural habitats. Here are some wonderful impressions of his time in the Golden State.
Friederike went to the USA and provided active support in our volunteer project conserving California’s nature. Take a look at some of her fantastic photos and get an impression of her time overseas.
Justus spent 5 ½ months volunteering in our nature conservation project in California and took lots of amazing pictures. Here you can find some fantastic impressions of his time at the Golden Coast:
A place full of diversity, facets and contrasts: California is a US state on the West Coast of the United States and is hard to beat in terms of scenic diversity and exploration opportunities. Endlessly long sandy beaches, mountain panoramas, sequoia forests, the dry Death Valley and metropolises like Los Angeles or San Francisco – surfing, skiing or snowboarding, horseback riding, hiking, city trips or just relaxing on the beach: everything is possible in California!
As a participant in our project, you will have the opportunity to explore the many national parks, deserts and beaches of the Golden State.
Purpose of the conservation project in California
California is also known as the “fruit garden of America” due to its hot and sunny climate and the wide variety of fruit and vegetables which grow in the area. It is one of the most diverse states in the USA, particularly relative to its size. The California landscape includes mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada, foggy coasts, scorching deserts like Death Valley, and the fertile Central Valley. One of the most impressive sights is Yosemite National Park with its steep granite slopes, majestic waterfalls, mountain pastures, the legendary giant sequoias and rare animal species. California is a popular destination for day trippers and tourists looking for adventure because of its geographical diversity and the resulting variety of animal and plant species.
However, tourism and conservation frequently don’t see eye to eye. Because of this, the only way to keep the largely untouched natural landscape as it is, is to regulate tourism and set up protected areas. Establishing hiking trails and fencing off conservation areas is some of the work which is necessary in this area.
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