Conservation vacations: ACE participants
Conservation vacations: ACE participants help maintain the health of the Catalina Island's ecosystem while enjoying leisure activities in their free time // (c) 2013 American Conservation Experience

Flagstaff-based nonprofit organization American Conservation Experience is offering a number of “Conservation Vacations” that allow travelers to enjoy park ranger-style vacations in Grand Canyon and on Catalina Island.

Conservation vacations: ACE participants
Conservation vacations: ACE participants help maintain the health of the Catalina Island’s ecosystem while enjoying leisure activities in their free time // (c) 2013 American Conservation Experience

Now in its third year, Conservation Vacations provides participants with a completely unique experience from the “typical” vacation, while also offering access to areas that are not generally on most tourist maps. Volunteers spend the weekdays working on park projects, while evenings and weekends are free for exploring and socializing.

“We are always looking for ways to make the experience more fulfilling for our participants,” said Tom Wilson, director of the Conservation Vacations program at American Conservation Experience. “This year we have added activities such as plant identification and bird spotting, teaching more about the invasive and native plants, and the significance of the work we do.”

On Catalina Island, for example, volunteers help maintain the health of the island’s ecosystem. In their free time they can access kayaks and snorkel valtrex with no prescription equipment (courtesy of the University of Southern California), with plenty of free time to enjoy the pristine waters of the marine institute. In the Grand Canyon National Park, a bike tour of the south rim is included (courtesy of Bright Angel Cycles).

The next session on Catalina Island begins May 26, while the first session in Grand Canyon National Park begins will begin on June 2, with sessions running through September and October.

“Volunteers should expect a positive, fulfilling experience,” said Wilson. “It can be challenging, but overcoming these challenges leads to a sense of achievement. This is in addition to the fulfillment that is experienced by completing volunteer service, and the camaraderie that forms within the group of volunteers.”

The experience allows participants to meet and work with like-minded people from around the world. Volunteers mostly hail from international destinations, but director Wilson would like to see more people from the United States join in these experiences.

Conservation Vacation packages are 11-days long and start at $700, including accommodations, airport transportation, meals and some activities.

Conservation Vacations
www.conservationvacations.org