The first national wildlife refuge was established in 1903 as a result of concerned citizens. Volunteers continue to create major impacts on refuges around the country over 110 years later. Whether working directly with refuge staff or as a member of the over 200 refuge Friends organizations, supportive citizens keep refuges running.
At Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers help with biological programs such as “nest-sitting” with loggerhead sea turtle nests, waiting for hatchlings to emerge. Volunteers also form an important part of the Refuge Visitor Services program, greeting the public and providing information in our Visitor Contact Station and Entrance Station. Trail maintenance and construction projects would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers who keep the trails maintained and weeds, poison ivy and branches away from the walkways. Several special volunteer days are also held throughout the year to clean up refuge beach. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Visitor Services Specialist at (757)301-7329. Opportunities are often seasonal in nature.
CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES***ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION: Our spring and summer seasons are upon us! Back Bay NWR's Visitor Services program is looking for enthusiastic individuals to assist with school field trips and other children's programs. Training will be offered on Friday, April 3rd from 12:30-4:30pm at the Visitor Contact Station (4005 Sandpiper Road). Please call (757)301-7329 ext.152 or e-mail Erica_Locher@fws.gov to sign up!
***FRONT DESK: The reception desk of the Visitor Contact Station is the face of the refuge. Our reception volunteers are key to greeting, orienting and providing basic information to visitors. This is a great way to stay connected! Days and times are flexible. Training is provided.
***FEE COLLECTOR: A visitor’s first point of contact is the Entrance Station. We are looking for a volunteer to serve as an on-call fee collector, possibly several times a month. Training is provided.
***TRAIL MAINTENANCE: The third Wednesday of every month is a Trail Maintenance Day! Come join our team as we beautify our hiking trails, using scientific techniques to keep our trails healthy, safe and aesthetically pleasing.
Please contact Erica Locher at Erica_Locher@fws.gov or call (757)301-7329 ext.152 for more information about any of these opportunities.
Back Bay Restoration Foundation (BBRF) has supported Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge since its inception in 1986. The mission of BBRF is to preserve, protect and improve Back Bay and its watershed through stewardship, education and outreach. The Blue Goose Express, a guided tour through the Refuge and False Cape State Park, is run by BBRF volunteers. Additionally, educational programs are co-hosted by BBRF and Back Bay NWR. Many volunteers participate in activities for both organizations, striving to improve and protect the Refuge and the Back Bay watershed as a whole. Please visit www.bbrf.org for more information.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!! BBRF is currently searching for all those interested in driving and interpreting the Blue Goose Express. Driving the tram is a unique opportunity to visit the refuge and False Cape State Park and to share all the beauty and history of these areas with the public. Schedules are flexible and training is provided. For more information please visit contact Shannon.Davis@bbrf.org.
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American bitterns are year-round inhabitants of Virginia Beach and members of the heron family. These birds are typically very shy and secretive, hiding among reeds and grasses along the edges of lakes and bays. There are a few very friendly bitterns at Back Bay though, so keep your eyes peeled and camera ready next time you are in the area. Their camouflage is excellent so we must be attentive to detail to spot these beautiful birds.