Volunteer Opportunities


Photo: Lisa Field 

San Diego has a mediterranean climate and is located in the California Floristic Province. There are eleven watersheds, and twenty unique vegetation communities.3 Within those communities, there are 29 plants and animals that are either threatened or endangered.4 In addition to these local concerns, San Diego is located within a biodiversity hotspot. A biodiversity hotspot is an area of land that has an exceptional concentration of plant endemism and only has 30% or less of its original vegetation.2 Though much of this loss is due to climate change, the largest threat to biodiversity is habitat destruction.1 The major issues contributing to habitat loss are urbanization, invasive species introduction and climate change. There are amazing organizations working to preserve, protect and restore our unique ecosystems. Please click on the links below to learn how you can explore these places or get involved in conservation efforts!

Where Can I Volunteer?

Find a location near you where you can get involved in local conservation efforts. Remember… Nature Needs YOU!

Please note, some organizations may not be offering volunteer opportunities or may only be offering virtual options due to health concerns from COVID-19. Please check websites for up-to-date information before participating in volunteer events.


I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) has worked to improve the health and beauty of San Diego for over 60 years. Their mission is to lead and inspire our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment through example, outreach, and local involvement.

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a 501(c)(3) zoo and aquarium located on Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge on San Diego Bay. Their mission is to inspire the community to connect with and care for our coastal environment.

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.

Inland/East County 

The San Diego River Park Foundation is dedicated to fostering stewardship and appreciation of the region’s namesake waterway. In order to protect and enhance the San Diego River as a place for recreation, habitat, and nature discovery, we are dedicated to engaging people to be stewards of the River and working towards the vision of a 52 mile, river-long system of parks, open spaces, and community places.

Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) is an invaluable resource in San Diego County and one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The park’s more than 8,000 acres provide recreational opportunities including walking, hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching, as well as educational programs for nature lovers of all ages.

The County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) enhances the quality of life for County residents and visitors of all ages. We promote health and wellness, safe communities and civic pride through thousands of programs across San Diego including festivals, hikes and rides, educational events and activities for youth, three strategically located recreation centers, and multiple state-of-the-art sports complexes.

Parks are essential to the well-being of environments, economies and all people. Their mission is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international, nonprofit conservation organization with two front doors: the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We integrate wildlife health and care, science, and education to develop sustainable conservation solutions.


The Ocean Connectors mission is to educate, inspire, and connect youth in underserved Pacific coastal communities through the study of migratory marine life.

Outdoor Outreach uses the outdoors to inspire youth to see possibility and opportunity in their lives to realize the positive attitude and behavioral changes that help them become happy, healthy, and successful adults.

The mission of San Diego Audubon Society is to foster the protection and appreciation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, through education and study, and advocate for a cleaner, healthier environment. 

The mission of Earth Discovery Institute is to inspire stewardship of San Diego’s native biodiversity through environmental education and conservation.

Citizen Science

Can’t get out to volunteer? That’s okay, because with citizen science, all you need is a computer or smartphone. Check out the unique projects below to see how to partner with organizations all over the world using technology!

One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over a million scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! 

The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. 

CitizenScience.gov is an official government website designed to accelerate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. government. The site provides a portal to three key components: a catalog of federally supported citizen science projects, a toolkit to assist federal practitioners with designing and maintaining their projects, and a gateway to a community of hundreds of citizen science practitioners.

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Did You Enjoy a Nature Space, Volunteer, or Participate in an Event?

Let Us Know! 

Upload your photos to Instagram or Facebook with #natureneedsSD for a chance to be featured on my page!

Thank You For Helping Nature!


Photo Credits: 

From left-right, top-bottom: 

Image #1: Lisa Field. (2021). Torrey Pines Beach looking South. San Diego, California: Sandiego.org.

Image #2 : I Love A Clean San Diego. (2019). Costal Clean Up Day Group Photo. San Diego, California: ilacsd.org.

Images in Carousel: Courtesy of owner: Jessica Ullyott (2021)