We know our planet faces environmental challenges such as deforestation and climate change. People are stepping up and taking action. Environmental activists and nature lovers around the globe are coming together to contribute to protecting nature. To protect the wildlife species, volunteers are also paying attention to wildlife conservation. If you've been wondering how to play your part, a tree-planting volunteer program could be right for you and is a great way to give back to nature.
When you participate in tree planting activities or planting events, you'll be essential in restoring the natural order and creating a healthier place for us all to live.
There are many volunteer programs across the globe, and most likely, you'll find a tree-planting volunteer opportunity near you. Below, we explore the how and why of getting involved in tree planting volunteer opportunities.
Human Activity and the Tree Decline
As we know it, the earth would not be the same without trees and forests. Forests are of significant importance to human and animal life. Apart from being a primary source of oxygen, the value extends to providing us with materials. These include medicine, food, and other raw materials.
Yet, over the years, human activities have caused a decline in trees worldwide. It is estimated that the world has lost one-third of its forests1, with agricultural activities one of the significant contributors to this decline.
Furthermore, a study estimates that people cut down around 15 billion trees yearly2. Through tree planting volunteer projects, you can play a role in restoring and maintaining the natural environment.
What Are Tree Planting Volunteer Opportunities?
To transform and protect the earth, people are putting in efforts to join volunteer programs. Human activities continue to cause massive deforestation on a global scale. There is growing consciousness around the need to protect and restore forests. These forests and the trees that form them are essential to life. They provide, nourish, and protect.
Through tree planting projects, programs, and activities, people raise awareness about deforestation's global environmental issues. As a result, many organizations, opportunities, and programs have sprung up. Their mission remains to join hands to protect, restore, and rebuild. Depending on your program of choice, your responsibilities as a volunteer could vary.
Some people focus on providing education to communities to encourage sustainable practices. Others plant and maintain native trees, focus on wildlife conservation, or even develop communities. Furthermore, companies often organize tree planning days where corporate groups get involved, either directly or with the help of a tree planting organization.
With the interest to join a program or non-profit organization comes the choice to volunteer abroad. If you don't have the resources to travel overseas, you can also work to restore the green life in your immediate or surrounding community through events hosted locally.
Through partnerships with like-minded communities, when you volunteer to plant trees, you nourish yourself and nature.
What to Expect from Programs as a Volunteer Tree Planter
Signing up for tree planting opportunities allows you to make a difference and contribute to a greener future. Many environmental conservation and tree planting volunteer opportunities also host training events.
So, if you're new to planting trees and related endeavors, there are many training programs and learning opportunities.
As a volunteer, many of your contributions will also be tied to working in groups supporting natural areas. Thanks to the emergence of these organizations, you can receive support as you embark on your volunteering journey. Below are some things you can expect when you sign up for volunteer opportunities.
Planting and Maintaining Trees
The most apparent activity or expectation from a program is the planting activity. On a small scale, this could look like planting trees within neighborhoods in your community.
Tree planting has many benefits. These plants release oxygen into the air and absorb carbon. Apart from beautification, planting trees also contributes to living in a healthy place.
When you volunteer to plant trees, your contributions typically involve preparing the soil and planting during the planting season. Tree care also becomes vital to preserving the new ones that have been planted as well as existing ones.
On a broader scale, this activity involves contributions to programs in other countries. For instance, you can travel to volunteer in areas like the Amazon Rainforest to contribute to restoring forests. In essence, these volunteer opportunities create a community dedicated to preserving the environment, protecting wildlife, and enhancing the quality of living.
Community Development and Education
Many tree-planting organizations also include community development and education programs in their mission.
Apart from planting trees and restoring forests, there are volunteer opportunities to create awareness within local communities. This involves providing information to local communities about environmental conservation best practices.
Such efforts empower the community members. They can also understand the importance of forests and positively contribute to their areas. For instance, during the planting season, the farmers become armed with information to provide organic foods while maintaining soil fertility.
Another way volunteers support communities is by working closely with the locals. This collaboration usually involves the collective planting of trees in various areas.
Volunteers can also work with staff working in natural recreation areas like parks. The goal is to support, educate, and provide training resources to empower them. The goal is not to provide information but to empower communities to take an interest in environmental preservation and tree care.
Projects and Tasks
Being involved in a volunteer program also involves participating in various projects to support the organization's mission. These include fundraising projects, organizing special events, conducting tree inventories, and participating in cleanups. Through this, you can get to know other volunteers through small group tasks.
Since forests are significant to wildlife species, it's only natural that some volunteer opportunities include wildlife conservation. If you work with an organization that takes on rainforest and wildlife conservation, you'll be involved in more animal-centered operations. Some volunteer opportunities include animal research, relocation, and local wildlife management.
How to Find Volunteer Tree Planting Opportunities Near You
When looking for opportunities to plant trees or upcoming events, you can join and get involved in tree planting. It's always best to start searching within your community or communities near you. This way, you'll be contributing to local development. You could also be helping to develop your city's urban forest. Here are some ways to find volunteer opportunities near you:
Conduct Your Research
Google is everyone's best friend these days. By searching for 'tree planting volunteer opportunities in my area,' you'll find a list of possible choices.
Social media is also a helpful tool for finding local opportunities to create an urban forest or join one of a growing number of already existing tree-planting events. Since there's an increasing interest in volunteer opportunities, some programs limit the number of volunteers they take on.
It is important to note that different opportunities come with varying types of programs. Be sure to look up the specific program types to help you identify the area you want to work in.
Also, check for requirements, if any, to help determine if an organization is looking for specific skills from volunteers.
Plus, the planting season can vary from place to place, especially in colder winter months, and therefore, don't be put off. You may have to wait a bit to get your hands dirty. After ticking the necessary boxes, email the organization or apply on their website to become a volunteer.
Attend Tree Planting Events in Your Area
Apart from closed volunteer opportunities, there are also open events that the general public can easily access. Schools and local organizations often organize these. Individuals come together during these planting events to plant trees within specific areas or neighborhoods.
These events provide you with opportunities to network with experts and leaders. So, if you're on a mission to join a particular organization or program as a volunteer, you can meet the right individuals.
Making A Difference: Creating a Volunteer Project
When you can't find a program near you, you can decide to start one. A simple idea to plant a tree can expand into a full-fledged program, and you can become the initiator of an urban forest or series of planting events. Thanks to the internet, you can quickly mobilize like-minded people to join your project. These are some of the steps to help you kickstart a tree-planting project:
The first step would be to define the project and its scope. This will include the areas you want to plant trees and the particular area's needs.
To pursue an initiative like this, you must gather the necessary resources to succeed. This involves collating the equipment and tools you'll need to plant and care for a tree. You'll also need to know the number of volunteers the project will require.
Depending on where you live, you'll most likely need to submit your plan for approval. Be sure to include safety plans and precautions in your plan.
The size of the initiative will determine how much funds you'll need. Having your proposal will make it easier for the project to be taken seriously. Consider writing to government agencies, businesses, and corporations for their support. You can also organize fundraising events.
On the days set aside for planting, ensure all the necessary materials and equipment are ready. Also, ensure that the volunteers are organized and their well-being is checked. You can use fliers, banners, and online tools to publicize the event or program. Post-planting events, tree care is of utmost importance. Tree care or maintenance should be part of your plan. This will ensure the nourishment and protection of the trees.
Trees are an essential aspect of life and the earth. Without them, life on earth would suffer. Human activity affects the natural environment through felling trees in communities or deforestation for agricultural purposes. You may want to contribute to change but are unsure where to start.
Volunteerism allows you to play a role in restoring and maintaining the natural environment. Remember that when you plant one tree, you contribute to positive change. When you plant trees with a group of involved people passionate about the environment, you can amplify the impact you create significantly.
Ritchie, H. (2021, February 9). The world has lost one-third of its forest, but an end of deforestation is possible
Crowther, T. W., Glick, H. B., Covey, K. R., Bettigole, C., Maynard, D. S., Thomas, S. M., ... & Bradford, M. A. (2015). Mapping tree density at a global scale. Nature, 525(7568), 201-205.