A volunteering holiday is a worthwhile (and relatively inexpensive) way to get intimately involved with Iceland’s people and landscapes. As well as the below options, consider a stint at the Arctic Fox Center in the wilds of the Westfjords.
Iceland Conservation Volunteers (www.ust.is/the-environment-agency-of-iceland/volunteers/) Iceland’s environment agency, known as Umhverfisstofnun (UST), recruits more than 200 volunteers each summer for work on practical conservation projects around the country, mainly creating or maintaining trails in Vatnajökull National Park. Places on its short-term programs (under four weeks) are usually arranged through its partner volunteer organisations, including UK-based The Conservation Volunteers (www.tcv.org.uk) and Working Abroad (www.workingabroad.com), or Iceland-based SEEDS and Worldwide Friends. Longer-term placements are also possible on Trail Teams that work together for 11 weeks over the summer; see the UST website for details.
SEEDS (www.seeds.is) Iceland-based SEEDS organises work camps and volunteering holidays, primarily focused on nature and the environment (building trails, ecological research), but also construction or renovation of community buildings, or assistance at festivals and events.
Volunteer Abroad (www.volunteerabroad.com) Offers an overview of possible projects in Iceland. Note that many of the projects listed are under the remit of Iceland’s Environment Agency (Umhverfisstofnun), but arranged through various international volunteering organisations.
Worldwide Friends (www.wf.is) Iceland-based Worldwide Friends runs work camps that largely support nature and the environment, but there are also options for involvement in community projects, and art and cultural events.
WWOOF (www.wwoofindependents.org) World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms (also known as Willing Workers On Organic Farms) has a handful of farm properties in Iceland that accept wwoofers, although there is no national WWOOF organisation. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.
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