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Low-Cost Ways to Do Good This Summer

istock boy gardenDoing good for others can be a worthwhile experience for the whole family, not to mention a lot of fun. This summer, why not think about ways that you can lend a hand. There are plenty of different things to do that will give back to the community, and many of them involve the outdoors. That is a great deal for family fun, all while you bless others at the same time.

It is a fallacy that you must have a lot of money or offer monetary charitable contributions in order to make a difference in someone’s life. Try one of these low-cost ways to do good.

Become a Wildlife Watcher

Scientists need volunteers to help them keep watch on birds and other animals, such as turtles. All it involves is a walk through nature while documenting the different species on your list, such as what you see, where and when. It is a pleasant way to spend some time outdoors, can be educational for kids, and will help support natural wildlife.

Some programs simply ask for volunteers to put up a bird feeder in their own backyard and then make note of the types and number of birds that visit.

Volunteer at a State Park

If you love the outdoors, especially hiking, why not volunteer to help out at a state park? There are many jobs to be done, from greeting visitors and helping them with maps and directions, to hosting campsites, to pulling up weeds and keeping paths clear.  You can look for volunteer opportunities at state parks by visiting http://nps.gov. Click on “Get Involved” to learn more.

Teach a Man (or a Child) to Fish

Visit http://takemefishing.org/community and pledge to teach at least one person to fish. It could be a neighbor, a friend or a disadvantaged youth or child. Fishing teaches the valuable skills of patience and self-sufficiency. Plus, spending time with someone else gives you a chance to reach out for other needs that could be met.


Offer to spend some time gardening, either for a neighbor or for a non-profit organization. A local botanical garden, arboretum, or historic site may welcome families who are willing to plant, prune, water or weed display plants. Reach out and ask what you can do.

For volunteer opportunities closer to home, look to local neighbors who may be elderly or ill, single parents, or a family who just moved into the neighborhood and could use some simple gardening help.

Assist in an Urban Study

Just because you live in a city does not mean that there are not opportunities to help outside. Participate in an urban study where you will help with urban ecosystem research. New York City has a big program through the Earthwatch Institute, but so do other cities across the country and the world (There are 30 countries to choose among.) For more information, visit http://www.earthwatch.org to get a complete list of projects that need volunteers.

Rescue a Beach

This summer, consider cleaning up a public beach to make it safe and pleasant to all who visit. Many towns, regions or states have beach clean up days where everyone comes out, or you can sign up to choose a day or two during the span of the summer. You’ll remove trash and recyclable materials that can harm humans and wildlife.

Frugal family fun has never been so full of impact!

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com