Looking For An Unusual Vacation?

Some people prefer the offbeat when they travel.  (I’m trying something different this year; you’ll get a full report if I can pull it off.)

I’ve just found something that appeals to those who also want to help the environment.  It’s called SANCCOB — South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (https://sanccob.co.za/ ).   SANCCOB offers an around-the-clock rescue service for sick and injured seabirds and abandoned chicks.  It’s a multi-faceted organization that provides rehabilitation and chick-rearing, and is also involved in education, training, and research.  A particularly busy time is when there is an oil spill along the South African coast.  This difficult (and smelly) job relies a great deal on overseas volunteers.  It’s not your typical day at the beach, but the rewards are immense.  “The personalities of the birds are as varied as those of the people I work with,” says Liam Healy, an 18-year-old volunteer from Washington, D.C., whose 10 weeks at the center have convinced him to study marine biology (http://www.ozy.com/good-sht/your-next-vacation-hand-rearing-baby-penguins/78966?; the photo is from that website).

Granted, South Africa is a long way to travel, even for a cause like this.  But I googled “environmental volunteer vacations” and got 102,000 hits.  I’ve never gone on such a trip myself, although I know organizations like The Nature Conservancy (https://www.nature.org/ ) offer volunteering opportunities.  But this kind of adventure sound much more satisfying that just sitting on a beach, so maybe someday…





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