Volunteer vacations have become a popular option for travelers to the Florida Panhandle and many are using their vacation time to make a difference. Travelers are combining their vacations with community involvement, education, and other worthy causes. Let’s unpack the Top 3 Volunteer Vacations in the Florida Panhandle.
#1 National Park Service – Volunteer-in-Parks
One of the bigger attractions in the Florida Panhandle is the more than 200K acres of forest that permeate the region. But it’s difficult to maintain such a large area with vacationers visiting year-round.
However, you can help by volunteering with the National Park Service while on your vacation here. Via Volunteer-In-Parks “for a day or year-round. Either on your own or with friends and family; close to home or at a dream destination,” you can enjoy your vacation and give back. You’ll do anything “from maintaining the campgrounds and day-use areas to providing information and fort programs.”
#2 Volunteer with Florida State Parks
- Campground Hosts assist with greeting campers at Florida State Parks by answering questions, selling basic camping necessities, and performing maintenance and cleaning of campground amenities.
- Park Resident Volunteers help provide service to parks without campgrounds or other overnight accommodations. You’ll help welcome visitors at ranger stations, assist with landscaping and maintenance, and help treat and remove invasive plants.
#3 FWC – Northwest Region Volunteer Program
The Northwest Region Volunteer Program offers many opportunities for vacationers to get involved in the conservation of Florida’s wildlife. Below are just a few options for volunteering.
- A Steward for Shorebirds – While vacationing in the Florida Panhandle between April and September, you can give back by volunteering for shorebirds in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, or Gulf Counties. As Bird Stewards at popular nesting sites, you’ll educate visitors about nesting shorebirds and sharing information.
- Oyster Reef Restoration – If you take your Florida vacation in later months, from August to October, then head to Gulf County to assist in monitoring the efforts of an artificial oyster reef project. You’ll take various surveys to assess the progress of the oyster reefs. Surveys may require swimming and/or walking over the reefs and/or working from boats.
- Wildlife Management Areas – Here you can volunteer in various areas at various times of the year assisting biologists with a variety of activities. These include bird nest box construction, wildlife surveys and population checks, maintenance, data entry, and more.