National Park Conservation Vacations Available to More Volunteers this Year

American Conservation Experience has expanded its “Volunteer Vacations” program making experiences usually reserved for AmeriCorps service members or long-term volunteers accessible to more people.

Last year, the pilot program was limited to Catalina Island off the coast of California. But with its overwhelming success, the Flagstaff-based nonprofit has expanded the program this year to include Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Volunteer Vacation participants have access to areas that are not on tourist maps and are able to experience a completely different perspective than those on a typical vacation. It is a vacation, but work is expected and is a big part of why the experience is so enjoyable.

This year’s Volunteer Vacations season officially launched last month on Catalina Island, where volunteers helped maintain the health of the island’s ecosystem while enjoying their vacation. The next session will begin on June 3, 2013 in the Grand Canyon, with sessions running through August at all three locations.

“Volunteers should expect a positive, fulfilling experience,” said Wilson. “It can also be challenging, but overcoming these challenges leads to a sense of achievement. This is in addition to the fulfillment that is experienced by completing volunteer service, and the camaraderie that forms within the group of volunteers.”

“A common trait is that individuals are active and enthusiastic and wish to meet new people in a non-typical setting,” said Tom Wilson, director of the Volunteer Vacations program at American Conservation Experience.

The experience is an opportunity to meet and work with people from around the country and around the world. International volunteers have been the trend, but Wilson wants to see more people from the United States enjoy the experience in their own back yard.

“We are ready to get the word out about this amazing opportunity, and are very happy the Volunteer Vacations program was so successful and has since been expanded,” said Wilson.

For more detailed information on the locations, dates, and the work that is involved, please click here.