Join a Volunteer Effort in the Florida Keys
Voluntourism is all about connecting. It’s about connecting with the earth and the ocean. It’s about connecting with people and all living things. It’s about connecting with the natural beauty of The Florida Keys and its unique eco-systems. It’s about connections between cultures and social classes. It’s about giving something back and making the world a better place.
You can be a visitor to The Florida Keys and dedicate a part of your vacation or you can “be local” and get involved on an ongoing basis.
Causes range from reef restoration and beach clean-ups to helping kids or spending time working in a wildlife refuge. Whether you have special skills or interests, or just want to help out, you can connect with the causes and charities that are dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of both human and animal life in The Florida Keys.
Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center welcomes volunteers to help at the hospital and/or the 5-acre sanctuary with habitat construction, care and feeding of wild bird patients, or rehabilitated residents. Volunteer info
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is recruiting and training volunteers for their Team OCEAN program, to serve as boat operators or educational interpreters at busy reef areas on weekends and peak days during the summer months. Volunteer info
Marathon Wild Bird Center always welcomes volunteers to assist with the capture and transport of injured wildlife as well as assisting with the release of successfully rehabilitated birds, in addition to fundraising events, picking up supplies, feeding birds, and more. Volunteer info
The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden has a variety of ways that volunteers can help, including assistance with presenting classes, greeting visitors, gardening, giving tours, and special events. Volunteer info
Key West Wildlife Center’s mission is to ensure the future of the Keys’ diverse native wildlife by providing timely rescues and quality rehabilitation with the hope of release back to the wild. Become a Wildlife Sponsor
Habitat for Humanity of Key West and the Lower Florida Keys believes volunteers are a valuable resource! Work alongside staff, partner homeowners and other volunteers, to help transform lives. This transformation and energy sustains our passion. Volunteer info
Divers Can Cultivate Corals, Capture & Count Fish to Help Restore Reefs
Coral reefs are considered the rainforests of the oceans, supporting marine life, protecting shorelines and providing food and economical benefits to humans. Along with thousands of the world’s ocean advocates, recreational divers interested in volunteering with reef restoration can participate in coral restoration and propagation alongside the marine scientists of Key Largo’s Coral Restoration Foundation in an ongoing mission to preserve the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.
Participants learn about environmental impacts on Florida’s reefs through educational lectures and hands-on dives to restore endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals, two of the reef-building species that have the best chance to propagate and create new habitats within a year or two.
Collaborations with the local dive community and businesses allows for these educational dive trips with Coral Restoration Foundation, whose volunteer program began in 2007.
CRF’s focus today is to restore eight sites along the Florida Reef Tract, which runs from north of Miami to Key West, and re-establish sexually mature coral colonies that can successfully reproduce and repopulate the reefs.
At the nursery, corals are started from a clipping about the length of a knuckle and grow to 30 or 40 centimeters. After a year on the reef, the corals grow several inches tall with multiple branches. In five years, they are strong, independent structures serving as habitat for a variety of tropical fish.