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Take a pause for a good cause

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Forget lollygagging on the beach. A growing number of people are using vacation days to build a house in New Orleans or do some other worthy deed. A few ideas:

• Camp at Florida’s Rainbow Springs State Park through the Sierra Club’s National Outings program (www.sierraclub.org). On workdays, you’ll help remove exotic and invasive plants. On days off, canoe or tube down the sparkling-clear Rainbow River or swim in natural springs.

• Travel with the Global Citizens Network (www.globalcitizens.org) to Xiloxochico, a lush, mountainous Mexican village, to build a casito (or small work house) for a women’s group. On your day off, explore Aztec ruins.

• Sail on a vintage boat in Peru with biologists to collect information about dolphins, otters, macaws and other wildlife, on an Earthwatch Institute expedition (www.earthwatch.org). At night, relax with a glass of wine on deck in one of Earth’s greatest wild places.

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