Joining a research expedition, giving your time, can be a great way to contribute to conservation efforts, meet like minded people and explore new areas.
I was a scientific team leader for 4 years as part of my brown hyaena research. Volunteers would join the project throughout the year. This allowed me to quickly collect data that alone would have taken considerably longer. Their much needed financial contribution also helped to purchase equipment. I enjoyed their willingness and enthusiasm which was infectious. I normally worked alone so becoming part of a team always provided great memories and a lot of laughter. The volunteers felt directly involved in a conservation research project which gave them a great sense of pride and achievement. As well as having a 'behind the scenes' African experience which gave them a unique perspective of conservation in Africa and the people who are trying to conserve its wildlife.