5 Earth Day Volunteer Ideas: How to Celebrate and Honor Mother Earth

Earth Day is a time for reflection on how to give back to the planet, and volunteering is a special way to connect with others and with the Earth.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Apr. 16 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

Group of about 30 volunteers stand near bags of collected trash in a clean up event held by association WAU! (We Are Urban) to clean the streets and the public spaces of Certosa district on the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

Volunteers take part in a clean up event held by association WAU! (We Are Urban) to clean the streets and the public spaces of Certosa district on the occasion of Earth Day on April 22, 2023 in Milan, Italy.

As you plan your latest celebration of the Earth and all that she provides to us, volunteering is a fulfilling way to honor the planet and your fellow humans. From community cleanups to goal-setting and other remote methods, there are no shortage of ways to support the health of the planet on Earth Day regardless of abilities or budget.

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We've got you covered with no shortage of volunteer ideas on Earth Day 2024, whether you're dedicating the whole day to volunteering or celebrating from afar at work.

Join a community trash cleanup for Earth Day 2024.

A volunteer wearing a watch picks up a plastic bottle from the ground.
Source: iStock

There is no shortage of Keep America Beautiful affiliates around the U.S. participating in the Great American Cleanup, and you're sure to find one near your city. If you're looking for inspiration, look no further than a recent event in Las Vegas, where participants made their way through downtown while plogging — a unique mix of the word "jogging" and the Swedish phrase for "pick up," or "plocka upp."

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If you can't find a community cleanup on the Earth Day website, you can also take matters into your own hands and register your own cleanup.

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Support community gardens and plant something new.

A group of multiethnic men and women work together while planting greenery in a community garden.
Source: iStock

The Bronx, a New York City borough, is leading the way in building sprawling community gardens in urban spaces. The Bronx features many community gardens, including the Davidson Avenue Community Garden, which has been growing plants since 1995.

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Community gardens are often inclusive spaces where community members can come together. If you're unaware of any community gardens nearby, you can also start your own and find other volunteers at places like schools, local businesses, and places of religious worship, according to Gardening Know How.

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Plant a tree in your community or donate to a reputable organization.

Three volunteers in green shirts plant a young tree in a park.
Source: iStock

The U.S. Forest Service and USDA's Plant-A-Tree program is a decades-old opportunity to donate money earmarked for tree planting in national forests throughout the U.S., in exchange for a personalized certificate.

Alone, a single tree won't solve the climate crisis, but trees planted in spaces year after year and cared for will eventually yield an oasis that can bring life to a once-barren land.

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If you're looking for a more hands-on approach, you can plant a tree on Earth Day — or any day of the year —with other volunteers at parks and other community spaces. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, you should always check with your local government's policies on tree planting to be safe.

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Lend your time to helping animals in need.

Two volunteers feed three dogs outside at an animal shelter.
Source: iStock

Hopefully, there is an animal sanctuary — not a zoo — nearby, but if not, there are still plenty of ways to support animal welfare. If you're already showing your compassion for animals through your diet, consider spending time at an animal shelter.

Whether you spend your day walking shelter dogs outside, donating gently used towels and blankets and other supplies, or fostering senior or newborn shelter animals, there are many ways to support animals in need.

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Host a fundraiser and donate to your favorite charity.

A team in green shirts hosts a community food and clothing drive, and a woman hands a brown bag to a pregnant attendee.
Source: iStock

According to a Donorbox blog, anyone can host a community fundraiser for causes that are meaningful to them.

Whether it's a donation page online for funds to support animal shelters, animal rescue groups, or a climate organization; an event at a local community space for baby supplies for low-income families; or food drives to help those in need, there are endless ways to utilize donated funds and community support to give back to those who need it, the planet, and those who protect it.

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