Budget Volunteer Vacations: Exploring the Scenic Catalina Island
As part of our on-going series, Budget Volunteer Vacations , we spotlight low cost, no frills volunteer travels to various destinations around the world. These trips do not include airfare, but meals and lodging are often included at no cost or for a minimal cost of $100-$200. These trips are great add-ons to your vacations!
If you are looking to take a low cost volunteer vacation packed with activities, Santa Catalina Island may be just the destination for you! Located 22-miles off the coast of Southern California, the island is 76 square miles and boasts a range of valleys, isolated caves, two thousand foot peaks and rare native plants and animals.
The Catalina Island Conservancy aims to keep the island wild by engaging in conservancy and restoration efforts with roots in science. The Conservancy also provides lifelong learning opportunities for children and adults alike, to help them understand and discover their connections to nature. Volunteers will help preserve the island’s native plants and animals, as well as help in the restoration process from a fire in May 2007.
This year, the Catalina Island Conservancy is offering two different and distinct volunteering options.
This program is for volunteers looking for a more physical challenge. Participants will stay at the volunteer camp located in a secluded area with views of the coastline and stars, as well as the mainland cityscapes! The camp has tents on raised desks with padded bunks, flushing toilets and hot showers located on-site. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. This trip begins on Monday and ends on Saturday, and includes four days of service and a naturalist activity.
The project difficulty is moderate to strenuous, and may include the following: hiking up to one mile (uneven terrain), repeated kneeling and rising, fence removal, invasive plant removal or handling heavy tools.
Cost: $180.00 per person
Dates: April 20-25, 2009; June 22-27, 2009; October 5-10, 2009; October 19-24, 2009
This new program offers the best of both worlds, catering to those who like to volunteer but who also enjoy the creature comforts of home. This is also a family-friendly option that allows children over the age of 12 to participate, as long as a parent accompanies them.
The trip begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Participants will stay in a vacation home booked through Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. Project difficulty is light to moderate, and may include beach clean-up, watering and trail maintenance. A sample itinerary would include a half-day Jeep Eco-tour, one full day of service, a two-hour walking tour of Avalon, a half-day of service, a free day and a half-day beach clean-up. This package also includes two (2) tickets to the Wrigley Memorial Botanical Garden and two (2) tickets to the Catalina Island Museum.
Cost: $498/couple, $249/individual *minimum 4 participants required*
Additional Cost: Accommodations booked through Catalina Island Vacation Rentals. Special volunteer vacation weekly rated available and vary depending on the home and season.
Contributed by Heather Berkowitz