So you've decided to volunteer
Or perhaps you're just contemplating it? Either way we thank you for your interest in our beach cleaning project! If you're fond of salty hair, dirty hands and having your breath taken away by wonderous nature, then this is definitly the project for you.
Before applying we urge you to read through the information on this page. It's important for everyone involved that you know what you're signing up for and that you agree with our rules and way of life. As a volunteer you will be expected to work hard. Anyone expecting a vacation will be sorely disappointed. However, if you are the right person for the job, we promise you the experience of a lifetime! So if you possess the mindset and spirit of an environmentalist and you are aware that beach cleaning is proper physical work, then you are already well on your way to meeting the requirements of volunteering with us and we enqourage you to keep reading.
About the project
Our living ocean
The project has two main focuses; education and beach cleaning. Beach cleaning is an adventure in and of its own, You will get to traverse rough seas and experience untouched nature filled to the brim with wildlife. As you clean beaches you will get to experience the Norwegian coastline in a manner few others have and we can guarantee sights that will leave you in awe.
Our work is not restricted just to beach cleaning, but also aims at increasesing awareness and influencing structural changes. We believe that when people get to experience issues up close and personal, they understand it's siginificance and begin to develop a sense of responsibility and accountability towards it.
When people feel resposibility and accountability it awakens within them a willingness to change, which creates alot more room for further political action in our war against marine pollution.
This is why we parallel to cleaning give lectures about marine pollution to age groups ranging from kindergardeners to high school students. The lectures are mainly given in Norwegian, but as a volunteer you play an important role in making it possible for the teacher to give lectures and spread awareness.
To aid us in this endeavour we have created a mobile outdoors classroom which we bring with us everywhere we go. This classroom resides within a pop-up tent where we invite students to come and learn whilst seated right next to the ocean. As a volunteer, you will help with logistics, creating the classroom atmosphere, and sometimes help during lectures. Our students find it very interesting to get to know people from other countries and are eager to practice their English with you.
We also arrange beach cleaning events with school children and locals, thus giving you the chance to engage with the local community in the places we visit. We believe that the combination of beach cleaning and the education of the younger generation is a big step towards less waste and better care for our environment.
Creating awareness from an early age is something we strongly believe in and is to us a keypoint in stopping marine pollution. We believe that we must both clean to try to mininimize the damage already done aswell as educate and engage with people, communities and politicians to stop more damage from occurring.
Who are we?
Norges Miljøvernforbund (NMF) was founded in 1993 and is a well-established environmental NGO in Norway with headquarters in Bergen, and with regional offices in Tromsø, Trondheim and Oslo. In our work for environmental protection, we focus on a plethora of environmental issues, locally, nationally and internationally.
Our fields consist in all direct and indirect cases between environmental protection and social welfare, such as climate, ecosystem and marine environmental protection. We also focus on food security, indigenous rights, politics, building conservation etc. . Everything concerning the environment, our climate and our society are all fields we are working with. Many of the environmental cases we are concerned with has an international reach and character, as such we extend our work outwards as needed.
NMF has since 2017 had a clear goal and path set out for the fight against marine pollution. In these last few years, we have travelled up and down the Norwegian coastline multiple times, while also having longer missions in different parts of the country. Over 3000 volunteers have joined our project, among these 60 have been long-term volunteers, and as of the start of 2023 our work as contributed to the removal of over 200 000 kg of marine litter and the educatation of over 10 800 kids and students.
What to expect?
What to expect
Most volunteers who are selected stay for 8 weeks or more, For optimal efficiency we prefeer to use volunteers who can stay for longer periods of time.
This because it takes some time to get used to our routines with the boat, as well as adapting to the amount of hard work that is needed when beach cleaning. We also experience the group dynamic and trust to be better when having long term volunteers. But if you for any reason wish to shorten your stay, you may of course leave at any time.
As a volunteer crewmember we expect you to be hardworking and adaptable, as mentioned earlier this is no vacation. You are expected to work when told, and respectfully follow the plan that is put forward by the team leader.
We also expect you to be adaptable. You will live and work with a lot of different people, and sometimes that can be challenging. It is therefore important that everyone respect and adapt to one another to make our time together memorable and fun!
You can expect us to teach you all you need to know and work patiently with you as you learn how to operate our boat and preform beach cleaning operations. We aim to help you grow into a safe and competent crew member. As you learn, we will start to rely on your understanding and awareness on how to operate the boat, and you’ll have responsibilities according to the skills you develop.
Please know that we understand that everyone learns at a different pace and has strengths and weaknesses, so we do not expect you to get everything right all the time. We also acknowledge that we all can get tired of each other after living together for a longer time period; we accept that there may occasionaly arise interpersonal issues, and we try to be as caring and proficient as possible in resolving such situations. If necessary we hold meetings to discuss anything the group feels like discussing if there should be a need to clear the air.
We also have to mention that we are entitled to terminate the stay of volunteers who present a safety risk to the crew or who does'nt get along with the team. But you can always expect us to keep your best interests at heart, and in return we will expect you to do the same.
Secutity and safety
Security and safety
Whilst on the boat or when embarking/disembarking all crew members must wear a life jacket, this is also sometimes required when we go beach cleaning at tricky spots. You are allowed to take it off when cleaning most of the time, but you need to consider where you put it and always keep it a within reasonable distance and have easy access to it.
If you want more specific and detailed information about beach cleaning, you can follow this link
We always have a first aid kit with us in the boat, and it´s important that everyone knows where it is and what’s in it. We also keep walkie-talkies handy when beach cleaning for simple communications and emergencies.
For your own safety we advise you to have travel insurance when joining the project. We have had several volunteers who have lost their luggage at airports. It´s also important to check if your insurance covers medical emergencies wh being abroad, as well as knowing that you're covered if valuable items (phone, computer, camera etc.) gets damaged while traveling.
Another safety measure is the tetanus vaccine. If you do not have it or if it´s more than 10 years since you got it, you must get it before arrival. This is because you might get scratches while cleaning dirty trash at the beaches. It is for your own protection and it´s always better to be safe than sorry.
Those of you selected will of course get a proper and detailed safety briefing upon arrival.
Accomodation and leisure
Life with us
Many have asked us what a typical day/week looks like, which is a bit hard to answer as every day may differ.
When we go beach cleaning by boat, weather is always something to consider. We want to make your experience with us safe and it´s not always up to us if we can go cleaning.
There may also be varying amounts of lectures, but the average is three days of lectures per week. Some days both cleaning and lectures may occur. The team leader allows for flexibility on how many days off you get and how much the group wants to go out cleaning. So the way weeks are structured may also differ between groups of volunteers.
We always collaborate on what to eat. As a crew we decide together on the meals we want to make and find meals to be a social gathering where everyone participates. We try our best to adapt to everyone’s dietary requirements. However, in some areas far away from larger cities it isn’t always easy to find great vegan options, so if you are vegan you mayhave to except “simple” dishes from time to time.
We try to keep our food consumption and habitation as sustainable as possible, so if there is one or two vegetarians in the group, we all usually eat vegetarian (with vegan options). But there will always be the possibility to catch some fish for dinner or to buy non-vegetarian options at the grocery store if one desires. If you have any special preferences, you can bring personal food or get it when we go to the grocery store.
As sustainability is important to us, we sometimes “dumpster-dive”, which usually happens through direct contact with the grocery stores, meaning that we ask them for produce that is supposed to go into the dumpster. Eating the dumpster-dive food is of course completely voluntary.
We always try to have one or two days off during the week. Which days that are off is very contingent on the weather. If Saturday and Sunday turns out to be days with the most suitable weather, we might preferer going out cleaning on those days and have thursday and Friday off instead. Sometimes if were a bigger group we don´t need everyone to come along and help with the lectures, and we can give you even more time off for your side quests.
We strive towards giving you as much free time as needed whilst also getting the work done. During evenings we try our best in balancing the groups wishes. Some might want to be social, play games and stay active during the evenings, while others might want some downtime to just unwind and relax. Both are equally fine and we always make space and do our best to respect those who need to recharge.
On your days off there will be plenty of opportunities to explore the places we're at, such as hiking, exploring, and other fun activities.
We do also like to party from time to time! We allow for drinking when it´s organized by the whole crew. However, all illicit substances are strictly prohibited.