FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Volunteers can become an honorary park ranger for 11 days on American Conservation Experience’s newly expanded Conservation Vacation programs. Trips to either the Grand Canyon National Park or Catalina Island off the coast of California feature added educational components, based on feedback from participants.
Conservation Vacation added the Grand Canyon National Park to its tour options in 2013 to supplement the Catalina Island volunteer experience.
“We are always looking for ways to make the experience more fulfilling for our participants,” said Tom Wilson, director of the Conservation Vacation program at American Conservation Experience. “Therefore, this year we have added some activities such as plant identification and bird spotting, teaching more about the invasive and native plants, and the significance of the work that we do.”
On Catalina Island, guests aid in maintaining the health of the island’s ecosystem during working hours, while evening and weekends are free for exploring and socializing. Volunteers have access to kayaks and snorkel equipment to enjoy the vacation portion of their trip.
The Grand Canyon National Park uses a similar schedule for volunteers, who can ride on a bike tour of the South Rim as an included part of their stay.
“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.”
For more information, visit www.conservationvacations.org.