While you're visiting the outdoor mecca that is the Laurel Highlands, you can most certainly find a way to give back to the region. It may only take a few hours of your vacation, but you will feel more than rewarded when you're done! While most locations in the Laurel Highlands have a volunteer opportunity, here are just a few:
Flight 93 National Memorial Plant a Tree at Flight 93
April 26-27, 2019
Flight 93 National Memorial is seeking 400 volunteers to plant around 14,000 seedlings and shrubs during their eighth annual Plant a Tree event. You may get a little muddy and your hands will definitely get dirty, but your contribution to help reforestation on memorial grounds will be worth it. Don't worry, no gardening or planting experience is needed. You will work alongside forestry professionals that will help you every step of the way!
Advanced registration is required. Registration opens March 27 and spots fill super fast. On the day of the event, registration starts between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and will conclude once all planting is completed, which is normally around 2 p.m. Lunch is provided. All volunteers must be age 14 or older to participate. Find more information and register here.
Help preserve and promote Frank Lloyd Wright's treasure in the Laurel Highlands by lending a hand at Fallingwater. If you have a green thumb, you can help keep the landscaping and garden immaculate. If you know Fallingwater well, you can put your knowledge to use as an "ask me" guide onsite or by assisting the tour guides' efforts to keep school groups on schedule. If you're detail oriented, help organize and clean the house's collections and artifacts. While there is a duty for people of all abilities, you must be 18 years old to volunteer. Find more information here.
Help keep Pennsylvania's largest state park clean by joining Friends of Ohiopyle State Park on a trail cleanup day! The workload includes anything from picking up trash along roadways, clearing hiking trails, cleaning out culverts, working in the flower beds, working special events and staffing the retail store.
The scheduled volunteer opportunities for the remainder of the year are as followed:
April 6 - Middle Yough Cleanup
June 1 (National Trails Day)
August 31 and September 1 (Music in the Mountains)
September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
November 9 (Volunteer Dinner)
If you are interested in volunteering with Friends of Ohiopyle State Park, shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity
Make a difference in your community by lending a hand to Habitat for Humanity. You can volunteer in one of two ways: on a build or in the warehouse.
Make sure you bring a group! The organization asks that you and a group of 5-7 other hardworking individuals over the age of 16 sign up together, which makes for a perfect team building opportunity. If you are experienced, you can sign up as an individual for the Friday morning crew.
You can also be of assistance in CWHFH's warehouse doing minor inventory repairs, sorting donations, providing customer service and everything in between. You and your group can staff the warehouse from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Regardless of where you choose to work, on a build or in the warehouse, you will be building a better life for a family in need. Learn more and sign up here.
Ohiopyle Biking Club
If you frequent the trails of Ohiopyle State Park, consider helping out the Ohiopyle Biking Club during their next trail work day. The group meets every Wednesday evening and select weekends during April through October. The club currently maintains 10 miles of single track mountain biking trails on Sugarloaf Knob. Not only will you be doing your part, you will also meet and mingle with fellow riders! Check out the organization's Facebook to learn future trail dates and details on what you'l be working on and what to bring.
Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling
While you're making your way through the Laurel Highlands, organize a cleanup for your group. The Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling is a small organization who relies on the kind acts of volunteers to help them keep Westmoreland County clean and beautiful. Visit their website for more information on how to organize a cleanup, or if you're already sold, download and return their volunteer interest form. The organization provides gloves, trash bags and safety vests for your efforts. Also, be sure to keep your eye on their website and Facebook for more information about educational environment-related programs and events.