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Ready to save the planet?

Posted in SPORTS & ACTIVITIES By Maggie O' Sullivan

Nationa Trust Working HolidaysImage: National Trust

Saving the whole planet is probably a bit ambitious – so how about tidying it up a bit on a conservation or organic farming holiday? The National Trust, for example, isn’t just about preserving houses for the nation. It also has a wide variety of conservation programmes, with activities ranging from clearing beaches, ponds and footpaths to rebuilding walls and unblocking storm drains; if you prefer something a little less physically challenging, the NT also needs volunteers to carry out biological surveys, mapping animal and plant species across the UK. Every little helps. From £85-£155.TCV food-growing projectImage: TCV 

TCV undertakes a wide range of conservation projects in both urban and rural locations – everything from planting trees and wild flower meadows to building stiles, clearing footpaths or creating new food-growing projects. What’s unique about TCV is its Green Gym concept which combines activities such as planting trees or digging ponds with warm-up and cool-down exercises. You can find out about projects in your area by going to the website and typing in your postcode (it found 140 activities near me).WWOOF organic farmImage: WWOOF

If you're convinced that organic food production can help save the planet from environmental disaster then check out the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) website which lists organic farms in more than 120 countries in need of volunteers. The farms range in size from small holdings to larger establishments and all offer food and lodgings in exchange for work. Prior experience of farming isn’t necessary though you must be fit and willing to learn. Would-be volunteers have to become a member of WWOOF (£15) before they can contact the host farms directly.Turtle conservation in Sri Lanka/Volunteering Journeys

A more costly way to save the planet is to book a trip with one of the many volunteer holiday operators. Volunteering Journeys, for example, has a collection of family friendly volunteering holidays which includes conservation programmes in both South Africa and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, families work on a conservation project monitoring sea turtle activity and conserving the local nesting sites in the Kosgoda region. Volunteers dedicate much of their time to building the hatchery which allows rescued eggs to hatch safely away from predators, before being released into the sea at night-time. Two weeks from £699 per person.Impact Experiences, The Ritz-CarltonOr you can go the whole hog and book into one of the many luxury hotels that offer guests a chance to give something back. Earlier this year, for example, Ritz-Carlton hotels launched Impact Experiences, a Community Footprints programe offering group guests the chance to ‘participate in socially responsible activities that make a positive impact on the destination while fostering collaboration and a great sense of accomplishment’. Examples include supporting critical coastal trail and rain forest restoration in Kapalua, Hawaii, protecting the natural wetland in Donau-Auen National Park near Vienna and collaborating with New York’s Battery Conservancy to help beautify the 25-acre public park. Shopping in New York and saving the planet? Sign me up now.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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