Volunteering at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge needs YOU -- your talents, your enthusiasm and some of your time!
Help make a difference! Volunteers play a vital role in helping the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fulfill its mission of conserving, protecting and enhancing America's fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.
Volunteers at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge have always been an integral part of the staff. They have assisted with numerous projects ranging from boat and canoe trail maintenance to presenting interpretive programs, and their help has been instrumental in the accomplishment of a number of refuge projects and activities.
The Okefenokee NWR volunteer programs seeks to combine the interests of the volunteer with the work needed to be accomplished in order to achieve a productive partnership, one which will ensure the preservation of resources within the refuge.
The program is actually made up of three smaller programs, each adding its own uniqueness to the overall operations of the refuge. The programs are made up of the following: General Volunteers, Resident Volunteers, and Internships. Each program offers hands-on, working experience in the day-to-day activities of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
General Volunteer Program
This program represents our most critical area of operations. Volunteers perform duties in three areas of refuge operations: Visitor Services, Environmental Education, and Resource Management.
Volunteers perform many duties such as both formal and informal interpretation, staff the refuge visitor center, staff the Chesser Homestead, and provide information to the general public.
Environmental Education is focused more in its interpretation. Volunteers are trained to lead school groups in activities that are designed to educate the students about the world around them.
Volunteers Resource Management is a broad term that encompasses many different jobs. Volunteers performing resource management duties do a lot of different things. They assist our forestry staff in cruising timber, they assist our wildlife biology staff with wildlife monitoring activities, and they assist our maintenance staff with trail improvements and minor construction projects.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge volunteer program has something to offer everybody. Volunteers can choose those activities that they feel will meet their needs even if some of the activities encompass more than just one area of refuge operations. Applications for the general volunteer program are accepted year-round.
Resident Volunteer Program
This program offers a unique opportunity for recreational vehicle and/or trailer volunteers to live and work at the refuge. It is only open to those volunteer candidates who own their own trailer and/or RV. Volunteers commit to work at the refuge 24 hours a week for a couple and 32 hours a week per person, for a minimum of three months.
In exchange for their services, the refuge provides a full hook-up trailer pad, propane plus access to garbage and laundry facilities. Volunteers perform work in the same area of operations as do our general volunteer staff, i.e. visitor services, environmental education and resource management.
Resident Volunteer positions avaiable year round.
The Internship Program
This unique opportunity provides an excellent introductory experience into the operations of a national wildlife refuge. Candidates perform a variety of natural resource management activities and visitor services, and they are introduced to many different facets of managing a wildlife refuge. This opportunity is available as a full-time position only.
Full-time internships are 40 hours a week. The internships usually run in twelve week increments for a total of three working months; however, this schedule can be amended depending on the needs of the applicant and/or site management. Housing and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses ($120 per week) are available on a limited basis.
- Must be willing to work as a team
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Must be willing to engage in some strenuous activities
- Willingness to speak in front of groups
- Willingness to do some routine administrative tasks (data entry, filling, etc.)
- Basic computer skills, foreign language skills and/or prior forestry experience a plus
Who May Volunteer?
No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at Okefenokee NWR. However, on the job training is provided. While there is no age limit, anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged.
Volunteers are welcome regardless of race, religion, age, gender, nationality, or disability. U.S. citizenship is not required. The only criteria stipulated when considering the above programs is ownership of your own trailer and/or RV when applying for the Resident Volunteer Program.
How to Apply
For an application and more information about any of the above volunteer programs contact the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (912-496-7366 x232) or write: Volunteer Coordinator Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Suwannee Canal Road, Folkston GA 31537.