• Destination: Guapilu, Pijal, and Quito, Ecuador
  • Experience Organizer: Kindred Spirit Tours and Travel

Travelers learn about the music and rhythms of Andean cultures from contemporary musicians and masters of native music. They also help with service projects selected by the community. Besides learning to construct native percussion and wind instruments, you might construct a school.

www.kindredspiritstourandtravel.com

  • Destination: Hoanib and Hoarusib River Catchments, Northwestern Namibia
  • Experience Organizer: Earthwatch Institute

While staying at remote field camps in one of the world's most spectacular and stark landscapes, participants assist Dr. Keith Leggett with his research on the desert elephants' population ecology. Track elephants and observe their behavior and group composition to help Dr. Leggett study the relationship between elephants, humans, and their shared environment.

www.earthwatch.org

  • Destination: Monastery of San Giovanni Battista, Serravalle, Italy
  • Experience Organizer: Heritage Conservation Network

The cloister of this Northern Italian monastery was built at the beginning of the 15th century and modified in 1668. During repair work in 19th century some of the original columns were replaced. Participants conduct a photographic survey and make other observations to determine which columns are original and which have been replaced and to identify the location of the site's frescoes. By helping craft a conservation plan, you don't just visit a historic building, you help save one.

www.heritageconservation.net

  • Destination: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Experience Organizer: Habitat for Humanity

More than 30 percent of Mongolians live below the poverty level and many lack decent housing. Habitat for Humanity volunteers work with families, helping them build or renovate their homes. Use your vacation to construct a shelter in the "Land of Blue Sky."

www.hfh.mn

  • Destination: Baxter State Park
  • Experience Organizer: American Hiking Society

Volunteers construct foot bridges and cut overgrowth away from trails while enjoying panoramic views. As you work to improve the Russell Pond Trail in the valley between Mt. Katahdin and the Turner Mt. Range, you may see moose or other wildlife.

www.americanhiking.org

  • Destination: Gjakova, Kosovo
  • Experience Organizer: Balkan Sunflowers

In an effort to restore community life in a region ravaged by war, volunteers organize children and youth activities or workshops for adults. As part of the Science in our Schools program, visitors can engage kids in learning by demonstrating scientific principals in an entertaining way, such as using atmospheric pressure to crush an aluminum can.

www.balkansunflowers.org

  • Destination: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
  • Experience Organizer: Global Volunteers

Volunteer in the glorious isolation of the South Pacific Ocean, working on research and education projects for the Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation.

www.globalvolunteers.org

  • Destination: Butrint National Park, Ksamili peninsula, Albania
  • Experience Organizer: Responsible Travel

Butrint, which according to legend was founded by Helenus after the fall of Troy, has been described as a microcosm of the last 3000 years of Mediterranean history. The site has military fortifications from the sixth century BC and fresh archeological digs turn up artifacts from the time of the ancient Greeks to the age of the Venetians. Help stewards of the classical site improve access so it can be enjoyed by visitors without being destroyed.

www.responsibletravel.com

  • Destination: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
  • Experience Organizer: Volunteer Adventures

Travelers work at a local museum dedicated to indigenous art and history. You can promote awareness and support for local art and culture by guiding museum tours or helping museum staff work on new displays.

www.volunteeradventures.com

  • Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Experience Organizer: Earthwatch Institute

Dr. Lee Dyer from Tulane University studies the effects of extreme weather events on caterpillar populations. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita gave Dr. Dyer a chance to test his hypotheses but they also damaged his collection of reared insects. Help Dr. Dyer with his climate research by collecting caterpillars and caring for them in the lab.

www.earthwatch.org

  • Destination: Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico
  • Experience Organizer: Global Citizen's Network

Sital Siwame (Star Women), is a women's group in the Nahua community of Xiloxochico which makes handicrafts and works on issues of common concern. Visit the Sierra Norte region and help the women build a casita, a small building where they can meet and work on their art together.

www.globalcitizens.org

  • Destination: Tamil Nadu, India
  • Experience Organizer: Global Volunteer Network

Villages along the coast of India were devastated in the 2004 tsunami disaster. You can participate in the recovery, rebuilding and long term development of the region by volunteering your efforts in community development, medical, agricultural, or waste management and recycling programs.

www.volunteer.org.nz

  • Destination: Robben Island, Western Cape, South Africa
  • Experience Organizer: Responsible Travel

A shipwreck off the coast of South Africa in 2000 led to an oil spill that "oiled" approximately 19,000 adult African penguins. Luckily, most of the marine birds were rehabilitated. A team of scientists led by Dr. Peter Barham is studying the long term impacts of the accident. Help the scientists tag and monitor this threatened penguin population.

www.responsibletravel.com

  • Destination: Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala
  • Experience Organizer: Bridges to Understanding

On the Southern shore of Lake Atitlán volunteers collaborate on digital storytelling projects with Guatemalan youth in the Fotokids program, whose mission is to help children living in poverty develop employable skills and express themselves through art. Use your vacation to build cross-cultural relationships by capturing and sharing stories.

www.bridgesweb.org

Voluntourism: 14 Vacations for the Socially Conscious

  • Destination: Guapilu, Pijal, and Quito, Ecuador
  • Experience Organizer: Kindred Spirit Tours and Travel

Travelers learn about the music and rhythms of Andean cultures from contemporary musicians and masters of native music. They also help with service projects selected by the community. Besides learning to construct native percussion and wind instruments, you might construct a school.

www.kindredspiritstourandtravel.com

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