7 Sustainable Places to Volunteer
Changing our individual habits is a great start toward helping the environment, but it is not the ultimate solution. Climate change is a systemic issue that requires collective action. There is power in numbers. If we want to see a change in our neighborhood, city, or state, we must band together to achieve that change. Throughout the Philadelphia-area, there are numerous organizations actively working towards environmental education, preservation, and restoration. They are also addressing other issues related to sustainability such as food waste and food insecurity.
Don’t just stop at your zero waste swaps. If you have the means, use your free time and volunteer with local organizations to enact change beyond your personal bubble.
All of these organizations also happened to be at our Green Week Opening Reception!
7 Organizations You Can Volunteer With:
Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc.
The Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed works to maintain the health and vitality of the watershed. Maintaining the creek requires big community involvement and people taking pride in where they live.
- Hosting community clean-ups to keep litter from going into storm drains and the creek
- Becoming a streamkeeper and monitor water quality by recording information at the watershed sites
- Working with scientists and collect data on freshwater mussels that are crucial in keeping the creek clean
- Getting your hands dirty by planting rain gardens or removing invasive species
- Marking storm drains to prevent litter washing into the waterways
Friends of Heinz Refuge
The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is the nation’s first National Environmental Center. The Friends of Heinz Refuge maintain the Congressional mandates of wetland restoration, environmental education, and public activities.
- Becoming a walk leader and lead free, public nature walks
- Educating students and youth groups as an Environmental Education Aide
- Being an aide tabling or lending a hand at special events hosted by the refuge
- Photographing special events, the flora and fauna, or teaching students at a photography-based summer camp
- Maintaining hiking and biking trails
Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
Keep Philadelphia Beautiful stays true to their name with beautification projects across the city. As an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, they work on litter prevention, waste reduction, hands-on action through community engagement. KPB creates a positive impact on Philly neighborhoods by making it a welcoming environment for residents and visitors.
Beautify Philly by becoming a volunteer educator, a community clean-up volunteer, or a corporate clean-up volunteer.
Fairmount Park Conservancy
The Fairmount Park Conservancy supports parks, playgrounds, and programs owned by the city of Philadelphia. With strong leadership, the conversancy spearheads preservation efforts in Fairmount Park and beyond.
There are a few ways you can support the Fairmount Park Conservancy. The conservancy hosts a biannual citywide park clean up in honor of Love Your Park Week. Volunteers have the opportunity to clean up parks across Philadelphia. This spring’s event is taking place from May 12-20.
If you’re a people person, become a volunteer ambassador to promote events and programs. There are also collaborative volunteer opportunities through Philadelphia Parks and Rec and the Fairmount Park Conservancy every second Saturday of the month. From planting trees to removing invasive species, you can get your hands dirty while exploring all of Philly’s parks.
Philly Food Rescue
Philly Food Rescue works to eliminate food waste by transporting rescued surplus to communities in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Donors often include universities, grocery stores, and caterers while recipients are schools, soup kitchens, senior centers, and other institutions serving those in need.
You can become a Rescue Hero and transport the food from Point A to Point B. By using the Philly Food Rescue app, you can find rescues near you that fit in your schedule.
If you can’t be a Rescue Hero, you can help out in smaller ways like supporting their blog, recommending a drop-off site, or recommending your company as a donor!
If you want to know about other sustainable apps, check out our previous post.
Riverbend Environmental Education Center
Riverbend Environmental Education Center connects kids with nature, cultivating an appreciation of the natural world early on. They host numerous educational opportunities through cams and school programs. Hands-on science learning is made accessible through their work in Gladwyne.
There are volunteer opportunities for teenagers and seniors alike. Tasks can range from habitat restoration, education, administrative duties, or lending a hand at events. Anyone can sign up to be an individual volunteer.
If you’re a teenager, there are two opportunities geared toward you. The Teen Summer Volunteer program gives youth a chance to work on habitat projects and working with children at their summer camp. If you or someone you know is a teen between 15-18 years old, they can apply to be an Educator in Training.
You can also volunteer in groups whether it be a school or a company!
Do you want your voice to be heard in Pennsylvania’s government? As a nonpartisan environmental advocacy organization, PennFuture has worked for two decades fighting for change to protect Pennsylvanians’ air, water, and land.
You can be a volunteer of PennFuture and contribute through letter writing, blogging, event planning, and visiting legislators.
Photos: In Between Rivers