Resources: Environmental Justice and Service
Note: the organizations listed below are not necessarily eligible for off-campus Federal Work Study. Please find FWS eligible opportunities here.
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."
Address: 5151 NW Cornell Road, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: 503-292-6855, ext. 108
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 activists. 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.
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' 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!
Address: 3117 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR 97212
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!
Address: 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219
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.
OPAL's mission is to build power for Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in our communities. Environmental Injustice comes from systemic, historic discrimination, displacement, violence, and exploitation. Race, class, and social status impact our lived environments. OPAL amplifies the voices of negatively-impacted individuals to address inequalities. We are building a movement for Environmental Justice led by those who are most impacted. OPAL ensures decision-makers cannot ignore the experiences of the people who have the most to gain, or lose, from policy outcomes. OPAL is looking for dedicated individuals to fill volunteer positions to support our organizing and operations. We have leadership and volunteer opportunities perfect for every skill level, age and ability. Sign up here!
Address: 3202 SE 82nd Avenue, Suite B, Portland, OR 97266
SOLVE 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 SOLVE 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. Find out more here!
Address: 2000 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 400, Portland, OR 97201