Every day is a good day to make thoughtful choices about your environmental impact, from voting with your dollars and choosing sustainable products to reusing what you already own. But when Earth Day rolls around on April 22, use the day to stay accountable and do even more.
There are all kinds of worthwhile Earth Day volunteering opportunities across the globe—and in your own backyard. To find one near where you live, you can search broadly for Earth Day volunteer events happening in your area through Volunteer Match and Earth Day 2022.
Looking for ideas on what to do? This guide will get you started. Below, we’ve picked a few noteworthy ways to help improve the health of our planet, including joining cleanups, planting trees, restoring wildlife habitats, and brushing up on your ecological knowledge. Read on for ideas, and then roll up your sleeves to do your part for our planet.
The Best Earth Day Volunteering Opportunities for 2022
1. Join a National Cleanup
Get your hands dirty to clean the planet. Picking up litter prevents animals from getting to it, keeps it out of our oceans, and beautifies the outdoors. Volunteer clean up days are scheduled throughout the spring, including on Earth Day. Search for an event in your area through National Cleanup Day’s interactive map, sign up for updates on cleanups near you, or organize your own public or private event. That’s right, make a day of it: Gather some friends, grab trash bags, and pick up trash in your neighborhood.
2. Do Good from Home
Often, the most meaningful actions for change start by educating yourself—and that’s definitely true when it comes to the environment. By expanding your knowledge of climate and environmental impacts, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the issues and how you can help.
There are lots of educational events to choose from. This year The Nature Conservancy is hosting a hybrid event called Let’s Planet Together that features speakers, performances, and presentations. You can register to attend virtually or in person in Phoenix, AZ. The Sierra Club has organized a whole month of earth-inspired activities, including fundraising and specific actions you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. The Wildlife Conservation Network’s Expo is on April 23 (you can attend in person or virtually); there you can learn about protecting endangered animals and more. Finally, the Earth One Film Festival is showing the Earth Week Mini Film Fest from April 18 to 24. Topics include climate change, environmental justice, and more. Get your tickets in advance.
3. Restore Wildlife Habitats
Animals deserve love on Earth Day, too. The Audubon Society hosts year-round opportunities at its centers: You can attend seminars and workshops, restore habitats, and go on bird walks or hikes to discover unique animals in your area. Check your local center for events in your community on Earth Day.
There may also be opportunities to help out at a national wildlife refuge near you. These public lands are managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service—check the department’s website to find ways to get involved with protecting wildlife.
4. Help Build Trails
The U.S. Forest Service is always looking for volunteers to work on trails for a few hours or days throughout the year, including on Earth Day. Added bonus: Volunteers who accrue at least 250 hours are eligible to receive an Interagency Volunteer Pass, which gets you free access to National Parks and other public lands.
If the Forest Service doesn’t have a trail work event near you on Earth Day, you can also sign up for trail work with a number of other organizations, including the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Wildland Restoration Volunteers, The Green Mountain Club, American Hiking Society, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and many more.
5. Plant Some Trees
Trees are climate champions: They remove carbon dioxide from the air, pump out oxygen, and even cool the area around them (among other benefits). Help more of them grow by signing up for a reforestation effort through One Tree Planted and Origins Green the Planet, two groups working together to fund urban forestry projects this spring. Events are already planned in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and beyond, with more opportunities in the works.
As much fun as it is to dig in the dirt, you can also put your dollars to work by donating to tree-planting efforts like The Canopy Project and One Tree Planted.
6. Celebrate National Park Week
Earth Day falls during National Park Week, which is planned for Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 24. Entrance to the National Parks and NPS-managed sites is free on April 16, and many locations are hosting volunteering and educational events during this time.
At Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, you can help remove invasive, non-native species. At Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, join other stewards for a day of ecological education. At Indiana Dunes National Park, drop in to collect trash from the trails and beaches.
Check out the National Parks events calendar to find a nearby volunteer opportunity. For updates about National Park Week, keep tabs on the NPS website.