A great way to have fun AND do good at the same time is to volunteer your time while you are visiting Hawaii. Giving something back to mother nature is guaranteed to be a memorable experience and, besides, it will take you into a wilderness that few other visitors (and locals for that matter) will ever experience! To quote a happy volunteer, it “puts a smile on your face, and fill your pockets with good memories!”
You can help out in many ways. You can set aside (part of) one day of your vacation to help clear trails and rainforest of invasive species, but you can also sign up for a multiple-month adventure to monitor local ecosystems or help preserve the endangered Hawkbill Turtles!
We list below some links to organizations that organize volunteering opportunities.
Volunteer and go whale watching!
Volunteer on the Big Island, O’ahu or Kaua’i for the humpback whales of Hawaii on each last Saturday of January, February and March for the sanctuary ocean count.
Residents and visitors team up for four hours to volunteer and make the world a better place! During the ocean count you will be counting whales and register their behavior together with a group of volunteers.
Read more about volunteering and saving the whales on Hawaii.
Volunteer at the Volcano Art Center
The Volcano Art Center organizes forest work days every third Sunday of the month. You can also help them out with site and trail maintenance, and much more. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
Occasionally Friends of Hakalau Forest organizes volunteer service trips. These trips could be out-planting of native trees, working in the native plant greenhouse, or annual cleaning of the volunteer cabin, or possibly interior or exterior painting of cabins, or other work. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer to restore native rainforest in Puna
The Keau’ohana Native Rainforest in the Puna district is the largest and most intact lowland wet forest remaining in the entire state. Clearing out invasive species and reintroducing native plants is important for the restoration and preservation of this unique habitat, and you can help!
Volunteers are welcome to join crew day efforts to restore trails or the quarterly work parties. You can read more about the Keau’ohana Rainforest here and sign up to be notified of volunteer opportunities here.
Volunteer at the Kahalu‘u Bay education center
The Kohala Center has entered into a ten-year agreement with the County of Hawai‘i to establish a learning center—the Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center—at Kahalu‘u Beach Park. Kahalu‘u Bay Education Center offers a unique visitor education experience—one that teaches respect and reverence for the natural and cultural resources of Kahalu‘u Bay. You can help them out by volunteering to become a reef teacher, a citizen scientist or a KBEC volunteer, and you can also “Adopt-a-Day ” at Kahalu’u bay. Find out more on the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer at the Sierra Club
Help the Sierra Club make the world a better place! The Sierra Club protects and restores Hawaii’s native habitats, prevents the introduction and spread of alien species, and cleans up coastal pollution. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.
Save the Hawkbill turtles!
Saving the Hawkbill turtles requires an 8-12 week commitment and long, strenuous work! This is not something to do “on your day off”, but will give you a lifetime experience. Your tasks include, e.g. watching over nests and protecting them against predators and tagging and helping hatched turtles. Accommodation and a small daily stipend are provided. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Be a V.I.P (Volunteer in Park) and help the National park protect some of the most treasured natural and cultural resources in America. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer with the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “support the National Park Service in the protection, preservation, and interpretation of the natural and cultural resources at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for the enjoyment of current and future generations”.
Volunteers can, for example, help out and restore the native forest, assist at field seminars or lend a hand at public events. More information at the volunteering section of their website.
Volunteer at the Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
It is possible to volunteer for any amount of time that suits you: one hour, a day, a week, or longer. You can find more information on the volunteering section of their website.