About Robin Van Auken

Robin Van Auken, CEO of Hands on Heritage, is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology. In addition to her work as a journalist, she is the author and co-author of a dozen books on regional history. An adjunct college instructor, she has directed multi-year historical and archaeological projects, working with hundreds of volunteers and temporary staff, and educating thousands of visitors.
Robin is a writer and researcher, with 35+ years experience interviewing people and telling stories. Her educational background combines advanced degrees in Communications and Anthropology, with a focus on Public and Historical (Military/Industrial Sites) Archaeology.

Retreat to Write with Robin Van Auken

Spring is supposed to be here, but I live in northcentral Pennsylvania, and it's slow coming. We've had several snow storms in the past few weeks, but the ground is too warm for it to stick around. Then we  endured rain and high winds. I believe the temperatures are rising next week to the 60s, so I'm itching for a writer's retreat. I like to go on solo writing [...]

2018-08-05T15:03:29+00:00By |

Reading the News with Publisher Kathy Kolb

Kathy Kolb is the publisher of NorthcentralPA.com, a news outlet that’s been online since 2009, and she’s been steadily growing since then by personally connecting with her readers. I know, this sounds impossible — how do you connect with thousands of people? She’s accomplished this by building an amazingly loyal Facebook following, which total tops out at 31 thousand people! Also, her news site sends out a daily email, which [...]

2018-08-05T15:05:17+00:00By |

Volunteer in Bolivia: Spanish Immersion, Animal Care, Under 18s Trips

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a volunteer trip to Bolivia, a country with such distinctions as the World’s Most Dangerous Road, the World's Largest Salt Flat, and the Largest Lake in South America. Toss in sky-scraping Andean Mountains, dense Amazon rainforests, and the Atacama Desert, and you’re in a quandary over what to pack. The climate is as varied as the landscape, so it’s best to start in one locale, [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:32+00:00By |

Big Cat Conservation: Work with Cheetahs, Tigers, Lions & Leopards

Big Cat Conservation isn't a topic they teach you at school. If you want to learn how to work with these complex wild animals and preserving the endangered species of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, then this is an amazing opportunity to take control of your education and go into the field. The term “big cat” refers to the four largest members of the Panthera genus: the tiger, [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:41+00:00By |

Volunteer in Borneo & Malaysia: Orangutans, Tigers & Sea Turtles

When you volunteer for a conservation program in Malaysia and Borneo, you’ll learn about wildlife protection in a key area of the world with critically endangered ecosystems and species. But you’ll also learn about yourself when you spend the night in the rainforest, watching as the fireflies to come out, listening as bird calls fall silent and frogs and insects crescendo. You'll challenge yourself and find inner strength [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:48+00:00By |

Yoga Teacher Training: Certifications & Retreats in India, Costa Rica &More

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. By taking a yoga retreat, and even becoming a certified yoga instructor, you will learn to balance stress and alleviate anxiety so that you can lead a healthier lifestyle. When you learn the proper techniques of yoga from expert practitioners and instructors, you’ll deepen your understanding of this ancient form of exercise. You’ll increase your [...]

2018-10-09T07:42:56+00:00By |

Let’s Play Ball with Lance Van Auken

Lance Van Auken is probably the world’s foremost expert on the history of Little League Baseball. There’s only a handful of people who may know more, or as much, as Lance. He earned this honor by being a Little League volunteer, and then an employee, for most of his life. He shares this knowledge as the co-author of “Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®." He attended his first [...]

2018-08-05T15:11:07+00:00By |

Volunteer Farming and Agriculture Projects | Sustainable Farming Abroad

Help protect and preserve forests and farmlands, and study food, agriculture, and rural life when you join NGOs, universities, and independent growers on a sustainable farming experience abroad. You'll learn that all farmland is not created equal, and farming today is more than just producing crops. It's about business management as much as it is about animal or crop production. HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE? [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:04+00:00By |

Business & Microfinance Internships Abroad: Get Hands-On Experience

With the semester winding down, you probably have some free time on the horizon. You could go home and see if your job at the local grocery store is still open...or if you’re looking for an adventure, you can choose a totally different path and sign up for a business internship abroad. There are so many internship opportunities around the world for students who want to gain hands-on [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:12+00:00By |

Building Community, One Heart at a Time with Wendy Dean

Wendy Butler Dean is the owner of The Omnibus Publishing, a boutique publishing company that specializes in children’s books, Young Adult novels, and some non-fiction. The Omnibus is a hybrid company, combining a unique blend of older, traditional book publishing and new, digital publishing. She produces ebooks and print on demand paperbacks. Wendy’s a savvy publisher and knows how to harness the power of building a community. Many of [...]

2018-08-05T15:12:41+00:00By |

Yoga & Volunteer Experience in India | Visit the Birthplace of Yoga

The ancient science of yoga has been practiced in India for thousands of years. It's well researched and acknowledged as bringing happiness, health, and peace of mind to those who practice it. During the past 100 years, yoga has been recognized and welcomed in the West, and become important as a fitness regimen. But yoga is not merely a physical exercise. Yoga practitioners know that slow, measured breathing, [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:21+00:00By |

Journalism Internships & Volunteer Projects | Get Experience Abroad

If you're a creative person looking for a career opportunity in communications, then you know it's difficult to get hired without a solid portfolio. But how do you go about developing that portfolio if you don't have a job? Great news! You can jumpstart your career as a professional journalist or photographer with an internship abroad. There are news agencies in Morocco and Ghana, radio stations in Argentina, [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:30+00:00By |

A Guide to Being Alone

Today I try out a new software platform for recording podcasts, Anchor, and experiment with recording smaller audio clips, transitions, and putting together a show on the fly. I've done this to test the system and to see if I want to use it in an upcoming communications class I teach at Lycoming College. I also discuss an amazing book, "How to Be Alone," by Sara Maitland, a handbook [...]

2018-08-05T15:28:01+00:00By |

Digging up the Past with Tank Baird

Today I chatted with my good friend Tom “Tank” Baird about his passion for archaeology, and how he's become a local expert on the topic of prehistory and Native American cultures. I met Tank in 2005 when he rolled up to my dig site in Muncy on his Harley Davidson, with his beautiful, blonde wife, Anita, on the back. The two were clad in black leather, on a loud [...]

2018-08-05T15:32:19+00:00By |

Volunteer in Namibia Wildlife Sanctuaries – Elephants, Cheetahs & More

Do you like wide, open spaces? Enjoy sleeping under the stars? One of the best reasons for choosing a volunteer abroad program in Namibia, a country beloved for its rugged, harsh, yet beautiful landscapes, is because you will be able to live and work in the great outdoors. The world “Namib” means “vast place,” which is fitting because this is one of the least crowded places on the [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:40+00:00By |

Be Larger than Life with Steve Altier

Steve Altier is the author of the books for young people, and is best known for his children’s books, the Gabby and Maddox adventure series. Not content with lessons for little ones, he’s written a Young Adult novel, “Lizardville, the Ghost Story,” and he’ll soon release a sequel. Steve grew up in Mill Hall, a small town in central Pennsylvania, on Lizardville Road, so yes, it’s a real place.  He’s [...]

2018-08-05T15:42:20+00:00By |

Volunteer in Zambia & Victoria Falls: Chimpanzees, Medical, Teaching

Visit Victoria Falls in Zambia as a responsible traveler - and while you’re there, lend a hand as a volunteer! From projects that have you teaching at a rural village with International Volunteer HQ, to shadowing medical professionals at hospitals with Love Volunteers, to romping with chimpanzees at Chimfunshi with African Impact, you'll have tons of possibilities to plan an amazing African adventure. As a volunteer traveler in Zambia, you’ll gain [...]

2018-10-09T07:43:53+00:00By |

Volunteer in Belize: Work with Marine Wildlife, Research Coral Reefs

On the Caribbean Sea and bordered by Guatemala and Mexico, Belize is home to the second-longest Barrier Reef in the world, a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site. It’s also home to the phenomenal Great Blue Hole, a natural sinkhole that’s more than 400 miles deep. The Great Blue Hole is on most scuba divers' bucket lists, and was named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top five diving sites in the [...]

2018-10-09T07:44:01+00:00By |

Best Solo Vacations for Lone Travelers: Volunteer Vacations for Singles

If you’re thinking about volunteering abroad, but the thought of traveling solo has you thinking twice, consider this amazing fact: The United States alone may send 20 million volunteer travelers on projects worldwide by the year 2020. The UK, the EU, Australia, and Canada also are seeing millions of its citizens travel for volunteer opportunities. Nearly all of these individual travelers are alone when they begin their journeys. Want [...]

2018-10-09T07:44:08+00:00By |

Spanish Immersion Programs: Learn Spanish Abroad, Earn College Credit

Immerse yourself in a Spanish Language program abroad and earn college credit. Foreign language courses are required for most university degrees, and being conversational or even fluent in another language can improve your career prospects. Being bilingual can help you stand out in a competitive job market. Need another good reason to learn Spanish? Consider that only English, Mandarin, and Hindi have more speakers than Spanish, and it’s [...]

2018-10-09T07:44:23+00:00By |