The benefits of going green are as numerous as the benefits of volunteering. Both are good for you, your health and your community, and Philadelphia offers plenty of green volunteer opportunities. Gain valuable career experience working with environmentally focused or sustainable organizations, learn about going green through hands-on experience, make a difference in your community and meet others who share your passion for green living as a volunteer at one of these Philadelphia organizations.
Mayor’s Office For Sustainability
Beginning in 2009, the Mayor’s Office for Sustainability launched Greenworks Philadelphia in an effort to make Philadelphia more sustainable. The plan targets 15 areas of sustainability, including the economy, equity, environment, energy and engagement. The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service connects individuals, clubs, schools, organizations and companies with volunteer opportunities such as making fresh, locally grown food accessible to residents through community gardens, farmers’ markets run by Farm to City and the Food Trust or planting trees – 300,000 of them by 2025 – in an effort to increase every Philadelphia neighborhood’s tree canopy to 30 percent.
Philadelphia Orchard Project
Plant with POP is an effort that encourages residents to volunteer in efforts each spring and fall to plant orchards in Philly neighborhoods with the goal of growing healthy food while cultivating green spaces and community food security. All ages are welcome to dig in and get their hands dirty mulching, weeding, planting and enjoying the fruits of their labor – eating locally grown fresh fruit.
Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc.
Watersheds encompass the lands that drain rainwater through streams, creeks and rivers. To prevent the bodies of water in the Philadelphia area from becoming contaminated by trash, chemicals and other materials – with adverse effects on wildlife, plants and even our drinking water – TTF depends on hundreds of volunteers from north, northeast and northwest Philadelphia and Montgomery County communities including Abington, Jenkintown, Cheltenham, Springfield and Rockledge. Volunteers deliver workshops to raise awareness, steward cleanup and maintenance efforts and much more.
Sustainable Business Network Of Philadelphia
With the mission to build a just, green and thriving economy in and around the City of Brotherly Love, the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia strives to educate the public and policy makers while cultivating a broad base of local independent and sustainable businesses. Volunteers attend the Social Venture Institute for free while supporting SBN staff in registration, set up and delivery of events and workshops.
The Philadelphia Marathon strives to set an example to the community and other races through a commitment to environmental responsibility. Volunteers can help this effort to implement green initiatives to reduce the event’s carbon footprint by reducing waste, reusing resources and recycling materials. Volunteer “Waste Watchers” help marathon attendees – 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators – sort recyclable, compost and trash items into the appropriate containers in an effort to divert 75 percent of the event’s waste from landfills.
Philadelphia Horticultural Society
PHS encourages Philadelphia residents, business, schools and service clubs to volunteer in support of their efforts to nurture community through horticulture while improving the quality of life in the City of Brotherly Love. Volunteer opportunities include planting trees, cleaning up parks and donating time and effort to the City Harvest initiative, which provides over 1,000 needy families each week with locally grown, fresh produce.
Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, was created in the belief that nobody should go hungry. Volunteers, 14 years and older, are needed year-round at all Philabundance centers including Hunger Relief Center, Community Food Center, Fresh For All, Seasonal Gleaning, Kid Bites and Berks Warehouse. While volunteers need to be 14 to volunteer, Philabundance offers monthly family volunteer nights when family members of all ages can work together to help fight hunger.
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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.