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Top 10 volunteer opportunities in Santa Cruz County | July 2023

Day on the Beach 2022
(Virginia Sajan)

In the spirit of Independence Day, you are invited to exercise your freedom to make a difference and help us ensure a healthier, vibrant ocean for generations to come. From beach clean-ups to preserving our vital watersheds, YouthSERVE Summer Institute to the always fun Day On The Beach with Shared Adventures, there’s an ocean of opportunities to volunteer for our oceans and beautiful outdoor spaces!

Check out the list below for ocean and outdoor themed volunteer experiences. Get inspired, make a splash, and learn about all of the ways you can get involved over the long holiday weekend, and beyond.

1. Day on the Beach

July 15, 2023 in Santa Cruz
Over 200 hundred participants with disabilities enjoy a day of beach activities, including kayaks and out-riggers rides, scuba dives and flotation swims, beach chair rides, lunch and many other activities to make this special day accessible for all participants. There is a job for everyone.

2. YouthSERVE Summer Institute

Session 3: July 24 - 27, Session 4: July 31 - August 3 in Santa Cruz
Join YouthSERVE this summer and give back to our community while having fun in the process! The YouthSERVE Summer Institute is a free 4-week program that helps youth gain community service hours, collaborate with peers, and realize their power to transform our community through service.

3. Garden Group Leader

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA
Passionate about gardening, health, wellness and giving back to the community? The Volunteer Center’s Healthy Connections program is looking for someone special to support our weekly garden group for adults living with mental illnesses.

4. River Health Day

July 8, 2023 in Santa Cruz
Volunteer and make a difference in the San Lorenzo River ecosystem! Join us for Coastal Watershed Council’s River Health Day with guests from REI and do your part to increase biodiversity and revitalize the San Lorenzo River ecosystem. RSVP for this and other River Health Day events on the CWC Website:

Day on the Beach 2022
(Virginia Sajan)

5. Help Families Access Nature Exploration

Weekends, July 15-August 14 in Watsonville
Farm Discovery at Live Earth needs volunteers to test new educational materials! Host a table full of nature exploration activities at the farm. No prior experience necessary - training is provided at the beginning of your shift. The materials are designed to be easy to use and fun! We are giving out $25 Target gift cards for people who complete the survey - so it should be easy to get folx to participate

6. Big Basin Trail Crew

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA
The Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew (BBVTC) is a volunteer group is dedicated to preserving Big Basin Redwoods State Park and volunteers have been working twice monthly to make significant progress in maintaining the trails. The BBVTC returned to Big Basin in late November to begin work on projects, such as the restoration of the Redwood Loop Tail, that will eventually allow visitors to return to the park

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Helping Hands team volunteering at Grey Bears.
(Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County)

7. Thrift Store Sorting and Customer Service

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA
If you are social person with any background in retail, the Grey Bears Thrift Store could be a great fit for you! Grey Bears is looking for volunteers who are ready to connect with the community and operate a register in any of their four thrift store departments. If you are ready to build relationships with members of the community and have an eye for detail this position is for you!

8. Pilkington Creek Habitat Restoration at Tyrell Park

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA
Come join Groundswell Coastal Ecology and your local community for coastal restoration at Seabright Beach. Together we’ll restore the riparian woodland to native habitat, create a refuge for birds and pollinators, and learn about stream ecology.

9. Nature Store Retail Salesperson

Ongoing, Felton, CA
Mountain Parks Foundation Nature Store at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is in need of volunteers who would like to work in their store. Meet visitors from all over the world interested in experiencing our wonderful redwoods and hiking trails. The store has a great group of volunteers that really enjoy sharing this oasis with our visitors.

10. 4th Saturday Wetland Habitat Restoration

July 22, 2023 in Watsonville
Every 4th Saturday of the month, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and community members gather to help restore wetland and upland habitat. The volunteer work includes planting native plants, removing exotic invasive plants, or helping in our native plant greenhouse. Gloves, tools, and a snack are supplied. Each month is at a different location. Some of the events are on the trails in the City of Watsonville and others are in other locations in the Pajaro Valley.

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
(Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County)

What works for you?

The key to gaining all of these benefits from volunteering is to volunteer for a cause that means something to you. We each have different needs when it comes to volunteering. If you are not feeling moved to sign up by any of the opportunities listed here, the Volunteer Center will connect you with an organization that matches your interests and availability:

The Volunteer Center also helps nonprofit organizations find volunteers to support their work. Register as an Organization and let us match your cause to volunteers who care.


The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC) has been connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967. Each year VCSCSC engages with more than 500 community partners and more than 15,000 volunteers who connect meaningfully to help more than 9,000 residents in need. In addition to volunteer engagement and placement, VCSCC administers 19 programs to support community need, seniors, families, youth, disaster response, and government partnerships to make Santa Cruz County a happier, healthier place to live. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Instagram.