bing pixel
volunteer-at-the-beach

On your next Gulf Coast vacation, why not combine leisure activities with some time spent helping others? Here are 3 ways you can get involved during your fall beach vacation.

3 Ways To Do Good During Your Fall Beach Vacation

We already know a beach vacation is healthy. Spending time at the beach boosts creativity, relieves stress, elevates Vitamin D, is good for your skin, and promotes physical activity.

There’s another way to realize health benefits during your beach vacation: making a difference by volunteering your time to worthwhile causes while you’re here. And fall is a perfect time to enjoy the beach and help others at the same time.

According to an article in Forbes, there are several surprising benefits of volunteering. Volunteering makes you feel like you have been granted more time; helps you develop new skills; helps you have a healthier body, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression; helps you build your experience; and builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile, thus increasing the feeling of love.

Since a beach vacation benefits your health and volunteering give your mood and body a boost, how about combining a beach trip with volunteering to increase your sense of well being and help others at the same time?

Here are 3 ways your trip to the coast can improve and enhance the beach and surrounding communities.

1. Clean Up The Coast During Alabama Coastal Cleanup

Each year Alabama Coastal Cleanup holds a beach cleanup on a Saturday morning in September during which time volunteers pick up trash in a designated zone.

An opportunity to meet new people, get a free T-shirt and do good for the environment, Alabama Coastal Cleanup invites residents and visitors to walk along the coast or board boats and “get the trash out of the splash” in areas stretching from Perdido Key, Fla., along the coastline and up into locations around Dauphin Island and Mobile Bay.

Other activities supported by Alabama Coastal Cleanup are also great ways to explore and appreciate the environment: Alabama Coastal Bird Fest, a birding and nature festival, always held in early October; monthly meetings of the Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club, which holds meetings at the beautiful Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in nearby Spanish Fort; National Estuaries Week, held in September and highlighting the importance of local estuaries; Wolf Bay Watershed Watch meetings, which are held monthly; and monthly meetings of the Alabama Hiking Trails Society, also held at Five Rivers Delta Resource Center.

For more information, call (251) 928-9792 or log onto alabamacoastalcleanup.com.

2. Help End Hunger

Through its program "Feeding The Gulf Coast," the Bay Area Food Bank aims to end hunger in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, and always needs the assistance of volunteers.

Specified shifts are available Monday through Friday and bi-weekly on Saturday mornings. Volunteer opportunities include food sorting; clerical work; special event staffing (Chef Challenge fundraiser, “Stuff the Truck” food drives, etc.); filling backpacks for chronically hungry children to take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are unavailable; on-site gardening and cleaning; produce sorting; SNAP outreach; and emergency response.

Call (251) 653-1617 or log onto feedingthegulfcoast.org/volunteer for more information on registering for a shift.

3. Protect Endangered Sea Turtles

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, on warm summer nights, sea turtles emerge from the Gulf of Mexico and crawl onto the sugar-white sand beaches of the Alabama coast to lay their eggs.

They rely on the availability of dark, unobstructed beaches to successfully nest and continue the cycle of life.

Three species of sea turtles are confirmed as nesting in Alabama: the loggerhead sea turtle, which accounts for nearly all nests in the state each year; the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle; and the green sea turtle.

Although the Kemp’s ridley and green sea turtles nest in significantly lower numbers than the loggerhead sea turtle in Alabama, there have been confirmed and suspected nests identified in recent years.

According to a Roots Rated blog, odds of an egg surviving its incubation period and its eventual walk to the sea are daunting. The eggs themselves can fall prey to animals such as fox, raccoons, and even dogs. Once they hatch they have to make a mad dash to the water to avoid other predators like crabs and sea birds.

Human threats, such as inquisitive behavior around nests, hazards on the beach, and fishermen catching sea turtles in their nests, also have significantly reduced sea turtle populations worldwide, including on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

To help ensure hatchlings face no obstacles on their path to the water, hundreds of volunteers train and take turns patrolling an assigned stretch of beach, being available for nighttime nest-sitting when hatching time is near or just helping keep supplies and equipment ready.

In 2001, volunteers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service led an effort to establish a sea turtle nest-monitoring program on private and public lands in the state. This effort was a response to widespread reports of sea turtle hatchlings becoming disoriented due to artificial state lighting along the beach road in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

The cities quickly installed sea turtle-friendly lighting to keep the hatchlings on the beach and turned toward the water as directed by the moonlight.

At the same time, a partnership of state, federal and local agencies, private citizens and environmental organizations created Share the Beach, a program with more than 300 volunteers.

Now, Share the Beach is a program administered by the Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, a nonprofit support group responsible for all sea turtle nest monitoring on private lands.

The program objectives are to monitor sea turtle nests on the Alabama Gulf Coast, minimize human-related sea turtle mortality on the nesting beach, and promote the conservation of sea turtles in Alabama through public outreach and education.

Volunteers report to the team leader for their graphic area and are responsible for understanding and following all federal protocol and requirements of the recovery permit.

All Gulf Coast vacationers are now playing a small role in clearing the path for nesting sea turtles through the area’s Leave Only Footprints program, regulated by local, state or federal laws or ordinances enforced on the beaches.

The program calls for the removal and disposition by beach patrol of any structures or equipment left on the beach one hour after sunset; items being banned from the beaches such as glass containers, tents or structures larger than 12 feet by 12 feet, litter, metal shovels or excessive digging; overnight camping; fireworks; loud music; fires; pets and vehicles. The program also calls for sand dunes to remain untouched; observation and compliance with the Beach Warning Flag System; and being respectful of private property beyond the bounds of your lodging property.

Sea turtle nesting season on the Alabama Gulf Coast runs from May through October.

For more information on how you can volunteer for Share The Beach, call (251) 965-NEST or log onto alabamaseaturtles.com/volunteer.

For more information on the Leave Only Footprints Program, click HERE.

Fall abounds with opportunities not only to enjoy relaxing and fun beach adventures but also to helping others and improving the beautiful beach ecosystem.

Bring the whole family for a stay in a Gulf Shores or Fort Morgan beach house this fall to enjoy a beach adventure combined with a healthy dose of doing good. Or, a two-bedroom Orange Beach condo would fill the bill for up to about 6 to 8 people.
search houses search condos

Related Articles

Loggerhead sea turtles are a common sight in the Perdido Key area.

Make Way For Sea Turtles In Perdido Key

Spending time in Perdido Key during a vacation likely means you'll be enjoying the beach, but it is important to remember that this coastline is home to a number of fascinating creatures. Sea turtles may be a common sight along the water, and keeping an eye open for these animals could enhance your stay.

Sea Turtles Gulf Shores

Do Your Part To Protect Endangered Sea Turtles On Your Gulf Shores Vacation

Endangered sea turtles nest and hatch on the beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast. Here are some tips about how you can do your part to protect this fragile species as they begin their perilous first journey to the Gulf waters.

How to reduce your carbon footprint while staying in Perdido Key

How to reduce your carbon footprint in Perdido Key

There's nothing more environmentally friendly than spending the day at the beautiful beaches in Perdido Key, Florida. For guests who want to truly "go green" during their luxurious getaway, there are ample opportunities.

Gift ideas for family and friends who love Gulf Shores

Gift ideas for family and friends who love Gulf Shores

Now is the perfect time to give your friends and family a vacation they'll remember at a Gulf Shores area beach rental. For a coastal vacation with extra pizazz, help them get the most from their visit with these gifts.

Take a trip and come face-to-face with sea turtles

Have fun and help out with vacation volunteerism

While you and your family are busy with all kinds of beach activities, you may want to mix things up and take to the sand for other reasons. By volunteering your time and helping baby sea turtle hatchlings make their journey to the water, you can experience the Alabama ecosystem firsthand.

Explore the backwaters of Orange Beach at the many marinas, where you can shop, dine or book a fishi

Explore the back bays of Orange Beach

The sparkling Gulf of Mexico isn't the only body of water to enjoy when you stay in Orange Beach rentals. Head just slightly north and explore the backwaters of this Alabama destination, whether you get out on a fishing charter or kayak or simply dine dock-side.

Fort Pickens has a rich history that will fascinate history buffs.

Explore the forts of the Gulf Islands National Seashore

The Perdido Key area is home to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. In addition to showing off the best of the area's natural beauty, it also showcases some fascinating nuggets of American history that history buffs are sure to love.

When you visit Fort Morgan, you'll find these arched casemates that the troops used for storage.

Give yourself a Fort Morgan history lesson

Everyone can benefit from a hands-on history lesson, and Fort Morgan provides just that for travelers staying in the area's vacation rentals. You can even pull up this guide on your smartphone as you navigate past each site and learn what it was like here for 19th-century troops.

Newest Articles

A Night Of Music, Magic & Fun With Brandon Styles At OWA

The Las Vegas-style variety show presented at OWA by Brandon Styles features singing, impressions, comedy, dance, magic and audience participation.

October 30, 2018 - Things to Do

Ideas For Fall & Winter Beach Fun On The Gulf Coast

Make plans for a beach vacation during fall and the Christmas holidays. There are so many things to do.

October 03, 2018 - Things to Do

2018 Wild & Wicked Beach Bash In Gulf Shores

Head to the beaches of Gulf Shores Oct. 19, 2018, for the Halloween-themed Wild and Wicked Beach Bash at the Gulf Place Public Beach.

August 29, 2018 - Gulf Shores | Things to Do

Location

Fort Morgan Map

Upcoming Events

  • Nov 15
    Fall Wine Pairings Dinner
  • Nov 15
    Live Music: Debbie Bond and Radiator Rick
  • Nov 15
    Live Music: Runaway Home
  • Nov 15
    LuLu's Honours Golf Charity Classic
  • Nov 16
    2018 UTR Fall Tennis Tournament Orange Beach
  • Nov 16
    Ice Skating Rink
  • Nov 16
    Live Music: Crystal Shawanda & DeWayne Stroble
  • Nov 16
    Live Music: Sassafrass

Local Weather

weather icon 45º Conditions: Overcast
Humidity: 97%
Wind: NNW 5 mph

Weather information provided by wunderground.com

Last Updated on November 14, 9:55 AM CST

Latest Video