Find an Opportunity
Environmental Service and Education
Interested in a chance to get off campus and get your hands in the dirt? Portland is a great city for ecologically-minded volunteers of all stripes. There are abundant opportunities to plant trees, grow food, remove invasive species, and aid in data collection at numerous habitat restoration sites. Some groups have internships available, while others focus on one-day projects, and all of them contribute in different ways to a vision of integrating ecology and urban spaces. This page is an attempt to bring together information about as many of these groups as possible, for easy exploration and inspriation. Hope you find what you’re looking for!
SEEDS has worked with many of these groups on its monthly environmental service trips, which offer an easy way to get connected. In addition, keep an eye out for the annual SEEDS Sustainability in the City field trip, a whirlwind tour of local organizations working toward urban sustainability.
If you have any questions or suggestions of other organizations to include on this page, please email Emmanuel Enemchukwu.
Audubon Society of Portland
Contact: Deanna Sawtelle
Volunteer page: http://audubonportland.org/about/volunteer
The Audubon Society of Portland promotes the understanding, enjoyment, and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats, with a focus on the local community and the Pacific Northwest.Their wildlife sanctuary encompasses miles of forested trails, and opportunities to learn about birds, wildlife, and conservation issues about. Volunteers lead education lectures, classes, and trips; with training, they can even work to rehabilitate wounded animals at the Wildlife Care Center, which tends to over 3,000 wounded animals each year. This is a great resource for those interested in environmental education and building a world where “people and wildlife flourish together”.
Volunteer page: http://cityrepair.org/about/volunteer/
City Repair works to educate and inspire communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live by facilitating artistic and ecologically-oriented placemaking. Their projects honor the interconnection of human communities and the natural world and are brought to life by thousands of volunteer citizen activiests. Their work focuses on community organizing, and it a great opportunity for anyone interested in non-profits, large event organizing, group organizational development, and the like. More efforts are based around sustainable community building, creating highly local culture, public space reclamation, gardens, gathering spaces, and art! In their words, “We like to have fun while saving the world. Mud is sometimes involved.” They’re the organizers behind the annual citywide Village Building Convergence, an amazing flourishing of community building, art, and celebration, and Depave, which works to remove unnecessary concrete from urban spaces.
Friends of Mount Tabor
Interested in volunteering at Portland’s one and only volcano? Over many years of benign neglect, invasive plants (especially English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and clematis vitalba) and trees largely displaced natives throughout Mt Tabor Park, greatly reducing biodiversity and increasing water run-off. Friends of Mt Tabor Park, working with Portland Parks and the Bureau of Environmental Services, was formed to embark on a major habitat restoration effort in this 200 acre urban Park located in SE Portland. Between 2009 and 2011 volunteer hours have been on the rise, and they’re always looking for friendly hands. Particular energy has gone into their Weed Warrior volunteer work parties, and they are always looking for more crew leaders. In their words, “We have fun getting dirty, and we're making a huge difference to restoring the health of this gem of a Park.”
Friends of Trees
Contact: Jenny Bedell-Stiles or Andy Meeks
Volunteer page: http://friendsoftrees.org/volunteering
Friends of Trees' mission is to bring people in the Portland-Vancouver and Eugene-Springfield metro areas together to plant and care for city trees and green spaces. Through their Neighborhood Trees program, homeowners buy discounted trees to plant with their neighbors at weekend plantings. During the first year of their exciting three-year Plant It Portland! campaign, they planted more than 4,000 street and yard trees in Portland and more than 500 street and yard trees in Vancouver, WA, and Beaverton, OR. Through their Green Space Initiative, trained crew leaders guide volunteers at weekend events to restore public natural areas and green spaces between freeways and neighborhoods. They offer a great single-day or long-term opportunities to plant trees, grow community, and make Portland a more sustainable city for all!
Friends of Tryon Creek
Contact: Sarah Kreisman
Volunteer page: http://www.tryonfriends.org/volunteer.html
Help preserve and protect nature at your local State Park! Tryon Creek State Natural Area is a 675-acre wildlife preserve nestled in SW Portland just 15 minutes from Reed College. The mission of the Friends of Tryon Creek is to share our passion for the preservation and conservation of nature with the goal of instilling that value in all who we encounter. They offer structured education and interpretive programs to people of all ages, both formal and informal, and support the creation and maintenance of accessible, thematic, hands-on interpretive exhibits throughout the Nature Center and the park. The volunteers of Tryon Creek bring enthusiasm, skills and innovation that keep Tryon Creek a place like no other. Over 1,700 volunteers contribute 12,600 hours to the Park every year. Whether you want to volunteer for just a few hours or every day, they’d love to have you on board!
Johnson Creek Watershed Council
Contact: Amy Lodholz
Volunteer page: http://www.jcwc.org/getInvolved/volunteer.htm
The Johnson Creek Watershed Council was formed in 1994 as a single organization which could focus holistically on the entire watershed. The JCWC provides numerous opportunities for community members to participate in enhancing the resource that flows through their neighborhoods and communities. Whether it's through planting trees and removing invasive species, reviewing land use applications, planning watershed events, attending meetings or advising on restoration projects, volunteers are the heart of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council. Opportunities are diverse, ranging from on-site physical efforts to committee-based event planning and organization. You may want to check back periodically on their internships page for further opportunities.
Volunteer page: http://solv.org/get-involved
SOLV works to bring people together to improve the environment and build a legacy of stewardship, providing plentiful opportunities for environmental clean up and habitat restoration. Their projects include more than 40,000 volunteer opportunities at 1,100 project sites in 185 throughout Oregon communities each year. Last year, during SOLV IT (a one day event) we had over 7,600 volunteers participate in over 200 projects! Other projects include Oregon Adopt-a-River, Spring Beach Clean-up, and educational outreach via the Green Team.