There are some unforeseen crises that the world will never be ready for, but the global environmental and climate emergency is something that we have the opportunity to prepare for and unite against.
After watching David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, we’re feeling more inspired than ever. Although there isn’t one single solution, we can make a big difference by putting nature at the heart of our decisions. Protecting our planet is key to the survival of our precious ecosystems, wildlife and even humankind.
At IVHQ, we believe that volunteering on Environmental Conservation programs is integral to helping solve these challenges. We always aim to leave places better than we found them - and our Conservation programs enable you to protect these precious ecosystems, while exploring a new part of the world.
As David says “if we take care of nature, nature will take care of us.”
- What is environmental conservation and why is it important?
- Why volunteer on an environmental conservation program?
Best environmental conservation programs abroad
- Forest Conservation in Madagascar
- Rainforest and Coastal Conservation in Zanzibar
- Forest Conservation in Portugal
- Jungle Conservation in Peru
- Eco Agriculture in Costa Rica
- Sustainable Agriculture in Romania
- Environmental Sustainability in New Orleans, USA
- Environmental Conservation in the Philippines
- Sustainable Agriculture in Nepal
- Coast and Waterway Conservation in New Zealand
- Environmental Education in Bali
- How to get an environmental conservation job
What is environmental conservation and why is it important?
Environmental Conservation is the practice of preserving the natural world to prevent it from collapsing as a result of human activities, such as unsustainable agriculture, deforestation and burning fossil fuels.
Side effects of these practices include toxic air, plastic pollution, destruction of natural habitats and climate change. Scientists warn that if we don’t act soon, this will lead to an increase in natural disasters, rising sea levels and extreme weather, resulting in collapsed ecosystems, mass extinction of wildlife, food scarcity and global displacement of people.
This is a very scary thought. Yet as a community of travelers, we hold a deep appreciation for the natural world and want to experience it in a way that is responsible, sustainable and meaningful. As volunteers, we see first-hand how collective individual effort is an important catalyst for significant global change.
Why volunteer on an environmental conservation program?
As an Environmental Conservation volunteer with IVHQ, you will work closely with local organizations and community members to support both proactive and reactive methods of protecting our natural environment.
From eco-agriculture to jungle conservation, our locally-run projects are set up to target the most pressing environmental challenges of that region. Whether it’s preserving natural habitats, preventing deforestation, promoting sustainable farming practices, educating local people or helping ease the effects of pollution and climate change - you can be sure that you’ll be making an impact where it is genuinely needed.
As the only certified B Corporation in our field, our impact on volunteers, local teams, communities and the environment is audited and held to the highest ethical standards.
Best environmental conservation programs abroad
We’ve rounded up our favorite Environmental Conservation programs abroad to help you find the program that best suits your skills, goals and personal interests.
Covid-19 update: Most of our programs have already reopened, but you can see the full list of operational programs here. Our flexible booking policy means you can make changes to your booking for free - and all IVHQ programs have additional health and safety measures in place to protect against Covid-19.
The forest of Nosy Komba is home to much of the iconic wildlife that Madagascar is renowned for, many of which only exist in this one place. Sadly, many of these endemic species are endangered due to habitat destruction from deforestation and increasing infrastructure.
Volunteers on our Forest Conservation project collect data on lemurs, reptiles and birds, which is used to study and monitor changes in forest dynamics, populations, habitat health and the identification of potential localized threats. This is integral to protecting the highly threatened Sambirano forests and the diverse species that call it home.
“I learned extremely valuable skills towards my education and self growth on the rainforest conservation project in Nosy Komba. We performed beach cleanups, habitat, lemur, bird, and reptile surveys, which each required 5 hours of steep, slippery and absolutely breathtaking hikes.” - Ally, Animal Science/Biochem student from Texas.
The rainforests of Zanzibar - located off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa - are home to some of the most fascinating ecosystems in the world. This is a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature, immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and stay in a rustic jungle camp.
Go into the wild and support conservation initiatives to protect native snakes, lizards, tortoises, chameleons and the endangered Red Colobus Monkey. Tasks include planting, reforestation, tackling coastal erosion on the island and providing environmental education to local children so that these initiatives can continue for future generations to come.
If you’re looking to preserve the beautiful native forests of Europe, then this is the volunteer project for you! The trees surrounding Lisbon are habitat to a wide range of plants, birds and other species. This project aims to enhance natural heritage, reduce environmental damage, regenerate and recover natural spaces and restore ecological functions.
As a conservation volunteer in Portugal, you’ll have the opportunity to observe wildlife, aid the ecological recovery of degraded areas and get your hands dirty preserving the local environment. Tasks include applying control techniques for invasive species, planting different species with diverse methodologies, maintaining planted areas, protecting biodiversity niches and maintaining walking trails.
Peru’s Amazon rainforest is one of the most incredible places on Earth, teeming with wildlife and raw landscapes but facing its own set of challenges. Immerse yourself in nature, go back to basics and take a break from fast-paced modern life, while helping protect the largest rainforest in the world.
Volunteers are based in the heart of the jungle and get a rare insight into rich Peruvian biodiversity, while helping to preserve the unique and fragile ecosystems that call it home. Tasks include reforestation, trail conservation, home-base maintenance, animal inventories and research projects - all of which are essential to protecting this part of the world that is currently under severe threat.
Go off the beaten track and support sustainable farming practices in Costa Rica’s world famous coffee industry. You’ll volunteer alongside a local family to support all stages of their coffee production, including harvesting, roasting, composting, replanting, packaging and more.
Based in the spectacular Central Highlands of Costa Rica, you’ll be surrounded by rainforest and unique volcanic landscapes. This is an immersive permaculture experience that involves hands-on work to implement sustainable, effective practices while also respecting local farming methods.
Organic farming is increasingly seen as the most sustainable way to produce nutritious food with a reduced carbon footprint - and where better to learn about it than in a traditional Romanian community amongst the beautiful backdrop of the Balkans!
Volunteers play a crucial role in the upkeep of a local garden and greenhouse that provides fruit and vegetables for people in need. You’ll take part in traditional Romanian agricultural practices, such as planting local seeds, using homemade solar panels, creating eggshell powder and wood ash to add nutrients back into the soil, as well as collecting rain water to sustain the garden.
“Romania surprised me in so many ways. I was blown away by the complexity of its history, the kindness of its people and the beauty of its environment. My program involved the construction of a greenhouse which was to be used for a local community garden to promote sustainable farming practices.” - Ruby from Australia
Make a difference in the vibrant city of New Orleans, where music, art and flavor come together to make it feel like you’ve gone overseas! Help shape this city’s colorful character by supporting sustainable practices and nurturing green spaces to enable local people and ecosystems thrive.⠀⠀
Volunteers assist environmental initiatives in community gardens, public parks, recycling warehouses or urban farms. Tasks include planting trees, removing invasive species, sorting and recycling housing materials, building urban trails and maintaining drainage areas. These projects are key to improving urban spaces, biodiversity and the quality of life for marginalized communities.⠀
The island of Palawan is world famous for its natural environment, with stunning beaches, green bushland and crystal clear water. However, vital habitats for coastal marine ecosystems have declined in recent years and play a huge role in both cleaning the sea water and protecting biodiversity.
Conservation volunteers plant mangroves, take part in beach clean-ups and put all the collected rubbish in recycled plastic bottles to create eco-bricks that are then used for local building and construction projects. There’s also the opportunity to teach students within the region about sustainable environmental practices.⠀
“Nothing beats meeting like-minded people who travel from all corners of the world to give their time and energy to help communities in foreign countries. This is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.” - Timmy from New Zealand
Agriculture provides livelihoods for nearly 70% of the population in Nepal, however many farmers struggle to make a profit or produce an adequate supply of food to their local communities. Volunteers are placed with a small-scale farming family to support daily agriculture tasks and implement more resilient practices, which in turn improves the financial security and quality of life for local people.
This is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in authentic Nepalese culture, learn traditional techniques and practices while also introducing sustainable farming methods and market opportunities. Tasks can include clearing land, cultivating and harvesting crops and caring for livestock in the rugged rural landscapes of beautiful Nepal.
As a volunteer on the Coast and Waterway Conservation project in New Zealand, you’ll spend time outdoors helping to preserve stunning local beaches, waterways and islands. This includes beach clean ups, litter audits, tree planting, composting and working with a local iwi (Māori community) to protect native lands and ecosystems.
If you’re a fan of rugged beaches, volcanic landscapes and lush green rainforest, then this is the place for you! From hiking to bungee jumping, this nature lover’s paradise is home to some of the greatest outdoor activities in the world.
Plastic pollution is a serious problem in Bali, partly due to a lack of education on the devastating effects of litter on the environment. Volunteers play an important role in educating local children, so they grow up understanding how to protect wildlife, preserve biodiversity and carry out responsible practices.
Volunteers are based in local primary schools, helping to run classes around sustainability and recycling, as well as getting involved in the community on clean up campaigns. This is a unique opportunity to get creative and make a difference through the delivery of environmental education activities. This project is key to phasing out plastic pollution and protecting native species over the long-term.
How to get an environmental conservation job
If you’re interested in an active career that won’t be spent behind a desk – then volunteering on an Environmental Conservation program will allow you to gain the relevant skills and experience, boosting your resume, job and college applications.
Another excellent option is an Environmental Conservation internship with Intern Abroad HQ. Whether you’re after lab experience or ecology training, this will help you get your foot in the door and set you up for success in the conservation world. You’ll get the chance to work alongside experienced environmentalists in an international conservation organization customized to your academic major or career path.
With flexible overseas and remote internships available, you can achieve all this from the comfort of your home, or in one of the world’s most sought after destinations. Intern Abroad HQ’s exclusive experiential learning curriculum works alongside your internship to enable you to gain a deep cultural intelligence, make your resume stand out and articulate your unique experience to future employers.