Skip Navigation

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers

In 2012, 69 volunteers donated 8,666 hours of work to Seney National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  That is equivilent to 4.2 full time staff members or $147,322 of labor (calculated at the US Fish & Wildlife Service standard of $17 per hour).  Seney NWR’s volunteers are very dedicated and work as advocates for the refuge in their daily lives.

  • Volunteers are Vital

    Front Desk Volunteers

    Seney National Wildlife Refuge annually relies on the annual contributions of over 60 volunteers. Many volunteers staff the Visitor Center Information Desk and help visitors plan their day. They also staff activity booths during special events, lead school and nature programs, conduct wildlife surveys, assist with maintenance projects and a variety of other tasks. Volunteers make a huge difference at Seney National Wildlife Refuge!

    Seney's volunteer program works in cooperation with the local RSVP program. RSVP is the Retired Senior Volunteer Program that provides seniors sixty and over an opportunity to share a lifetime of experience through volunteer service in Delta, Menominee, Schoolcraft & Marinette counties.

    Volunteers normally serve on a regular basis, such as one weekly four-hour shift at the visitor center and typically commute from the local area and nearby towns. We also welcome occasional volunteers for special projects. Trailer pads with hook-ups may be available for volunteers interested in working 20-40 hours weekly. Interested RV applicants need to be relatively self-sufficient and able to take care of their own facility maintenance.

    During the summer, monthly training opportunities or social gatherings are a chance for volunteers, interns and staff to get to know one another.
     

    Volunteer Information

    Volunteer application (PDF file size 559 KB).
    Volunteer position descriptions. 

  • Volunteer Orientation

    Volunteer at the annual volunteer orientation.

    Help us connect people with wildlife! Volunteer orientation is held on the Wednesday prior to the May 15th opening of the Visitor Center. The volunteer bus tour follows the next day. If you are interested in volunteering at the refuge you can register by calling the Volunteer Coordinator (April to November) or Visitor Services Manager (December to March). 

  • Volunteer Position Descriptions

  • Visitor Center Front Desk and Bookstore Volunteer

    Volunteer answering questions.

    Purpose:Front Desk and Bookstore volunteers represent Seney National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to the public who visit the refuge's Visitor Center May 15th to October 20th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Volunteers answer the public's questions and assist them in the Bookstore.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Greet visitors
    ● Answer visitors' questions about Seney NWR, wildlife, plants, and general information about the area
    ● Assists visitors with finding items in the bookstore and check out
    ● Starts the refuge orientation film
    ● Restocks and organizes the bookstore
    ● Counts the number of visitors
    ● Checks in and out binoculars, GPS units and backpacks
    ● May perform some administrative duties which can be done at the front desk
    ● Other duties as assigned
    Reports to: The Visitor Services Manager and/or Volunteer Coordinator
    Time Commitment: One day per week for four hours (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m.) for a maximum of 6 months per year. We also need people who can fill in on short notice who may not be willing to commit to a work schedule.
    Qualifications: Pleasant manner, patience, problem-solving ability, dependability, a general knowledge of the area wildlife and habitats. Basic knowledge of a computer.
    Support: Training for the position will be provided. In addition the volunteer always has the support of staff to help answer difficult questions and provide assistance. There is CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and First Aid training available for those interested.
    Age Requirement: None
    Dress Code: A uniform shirt will be provided.

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Proofreader

    Even signs and exhibits need proofreading.

    Purpose: The proofreader would find grammatical and factual errors in various refuge publications.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge or from home
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Proofread newsletters, fliers, webpages, newspaper articles, etc.
    Reports to: The Visitor Services Manager and/or Volunteer Coordinator.
    Time Commitment: As needed
    Qualifications: Excellent writing and grammar skills. An annual computer security class and security clearance are needed to access government computers.
    Support: The person requesting help with proofreading will be available to answer questions.
    Age Requirement: None
    Dress Code: None

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Archive, Photo and Library Organization

    River Otter

    Purpose: The volunteer would be responsible for finishing a photo archival process with hard and electronic copies of historical and current photographs, as well as assist with the reorganization of the refuge library. Work hours would be restricted to staff hours. October 21st to May 14th, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or May 15th to October 20th 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. any day. People with a personal computer may be able to work from home at their convenience.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center or the refuge headquarters
    Key Responsibilities:
    Rename electronic photos
    ● Scan hard copy photos
    ● Organize image use permission forms
    ● Record metadata (metadata is the basic information about where a photo was taken, who took the photo, and a description of the photo, etc.)
    ● Send electronic photos to the National Image Library and the regional headquarters
    ● Input information to an electronic database regarding photos and books
    ● Organize the refuge library
    Reports to: The Visitor Services Manager and/or Volunteer Coordinator.
    Time Commitment: As the volunteer has time
    Qualifications: An annual computer security class and security clearance are needed to access government computers. The volunteer must have basic knowledge of computers.
    Support: Refuge staff will be available to answer questions.
    Age Requirement: None
    Dress Code: None

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Maintenance Volunteer

    Bridge reconstruction done by volunteers and the Youth Conservation Corps

    Purpose: Maintenance volunteer duties will vary greatly at Seney National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Volunteers may be needed anytime from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Projects may include, but are not limited to: lawn care, grounds maintenance, clearing trees and brush, maintenance of structures and facilities, and construction projects, etc.
    Reports to: Maintenance Staff, Assistant Refuge Manager, Refuge Manager, or requesting staff member.
    Time Commitment: As needed
    Qualifications: General maintenance knowledge is needed. Specific training may be needed to operate certain machines. If a refuge vehicle is used to you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge.
    Support: Training will be provided if it is needed to operate specific machines. There is CPR/AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and First Aid training available for those interested.
    Age Requirement: For some maintenance projects you may need to be 18 years old.
    Dress Code: Appropriate dress for the situation, closed toed shoes. Some safety equipment may be required and will be provided.

     Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Winter Recycling

    Recycling Center

    Purpose: Volunteers are needed to shuttle recyclable materials to various recycling centers from Germfask to Manistique, MI.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    Volunteers sort and deliver recyclables to appropriate collection points
    Reports to: Visitor Services Manager
    Time Commitment: Once every two to four weeks from October to May
    Qualifications: If a refuge vehicle is used to deliver the recyclables you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge.
    Support: A brief orientation about the requirements of each recycling facility will be provided.
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old
    Dress Code: None

     Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Administrative Volunteer

    Volunteer Doing Computer Work

    Purpose: Serves as a receptionist at the Seney NWR office. The volunteer will help with administrative duties one to two days per week between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Greets guests and directs them to the appropriate office or location
    ● Perform administrative duties such as: typing, faxing, responding to emails, distributing mail, preparing correspondence, helping to prepare bulk mailing, etc.
    ● Other duties as assigned
    Reports to: Administrative Technician
    Time Commitment: Once or twice a week, or when large projects require additional assistance
    Qualifications: An annual computer security class  and security clearance are needed to access government computers.
    Support: Training will be provided by the Administrative Technician
    Age Requirement: None
    Dress Code: Business casual, a volunteer shirt will be provided

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List  

  • Biological Volunteer

    Conducting plant studies.

    Purpose: Biological volunteers help the biology and forestry programs meet their goals.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Assist with the completion of wildlife and plant surveys
    ● Participate in exotic species management
    ● Transplant saplings from one area of the refuge to forest rehabilitation sites
    Reports to: Refuge Forester
    Time Commitment: Assistance with surveys may have to be conducted at specified times, assistance with tree transplanting and exotic species control may occur in the spring, summer and fall.
    Qualifications: Plant/wildlife identification skills or specific requirements may be necessary to participate in surveys. A chemical applicators license is needed to spray exotic species. If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge.
    Support: Some training may be provided before you begin work.
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: For exotic species management all needed safety equipment will be provided.

     Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Herbarium

    Large-flowered Trillium

    Purpose: The Seney NWR Herbarium houses the voucher plant specimens which help with plant identification and provide a historic record of plants found on the refuge.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Properly collect and identify plant specimens
    ● Maintains the plants in the Herbarium and the Herbarium records in the established method
    Reports to: Visitor Services Specialist
    Time Commitment: As the volunteer's time permits
    Qualifications: The volunteer must be able to correctly identify plants using a plant key and maintain work of the highest quality.
    Support: The volunteer will work closely with a Visitor Services Specialist.
    Age Requirement: None
    Dress Code: None

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Special Events

    Volunteer measuring fish at Children's Fishing Day

    Purpose: Seney NWR hosts a variety of special events throughout the year varying in themes and needs.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge or the surrounding area.
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Volunteers staff booths ranging from registration to environmental education and interpretation
    ● Conducting environmental education and interpretation programs
    ● Answering participant questions
    ● Cooking and serving food
    ● Set-up and take-down
    ● Transporting items such as tables and chairs from place to place
    ● Shopping before the event
    ● Distribution of fliers before the event
    Reports to: Visitor Services Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, or an intern.
    Time Commitment: The day of the special event or a few hours a prior to the event.
    Qualifications: If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge. Basic knowledge of nature and the environment. Good public speaking skills. A pleasant manner, patience, problem-solving ability, and dependability.
    Support: A brief orientation and instructions will be provided before the event.
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: None

     Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Environmental Education/Interpretation

    American Toad

    Purpose: From time to time the Visitor Services Staff may need help with Environmental Education (EE) and Interpretation programs.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Lead or assist with Environmental Education and/or Interpretation programs.
    ● Weekly morning "Photo Tours" and the "Painting Seney" program are led by volunteers.
    Reports to: Visitor Services Staff.
    Time Commitment: Up to once a week June - September
    Qualifications: If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge. Basic knowledge of nature and the environment. Good public speaking skills. A pleasant manner, patience, problem-solving ability, and dependability.
    Support: Training for this position will be provided. In addition, the Visitor Services Staff will be available for questions and assistance.
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: A volunteer shirt will be provided

    Photo: American toad. Credit: Seth Hingston. 

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Tour Bus Driver

    Wildlife Wednesday Tour

    Purpose: Tour bus drivers drive the bus or van during Wildlife Wednesdays, the Secretive Marsh Bird Tour, morning bus tours, and at other specified times.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Safely drive the 14 passenger tour bus or the 8 passenger van during tours.
    ● Help spot wildlife and bring it to the attention of the tour guide.
    ● Answer questions from visitors about the refuge, wildlife, and the area when appropriate.
    Reports to: Visitor Services Staff
    Time Commitment: Three to four hours as needed
    Qualifications: If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge. Basic knowledge of nature and the environment. Good public speaking skills. A pleasant manner, patience, problem-solving ability, and dependability.
    Support: Training will be provided
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: A volunteer shirt will be provided.

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List  

  • Brochure, Flier and Publication Distribution

    Brown Thrasher

    Purpose: To help Seney NWR promote its mission and help educate the public, volunteers will help distribute information pertaining to the refuge and Special Events.
    Location: The Upper Peninsula of Michigan
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Visit welcome centers and local businesses to distribute brochures, fliers, and/or publications.
    Reports to: Visitor Services Staff
    Time Commitment: As needed
    Qualifications: You must have a valid drivers license. If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge.
    Support: The Visitor Services Staff will provide assistance
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: None

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

  • Residential Volunteer

    Pulling Stoplogs from a Water Control Structure

    Purpose: The RV Volunteers wear many hats while working at the refuge over the summer. Volunteers are expected to work 20 to 40 hours each week in exchange for a place to park their RV at one of the RV pads for the summer.
    Location: Seney National Wildlife Refuge
    Key Responsibilities:
    ● Volunteers sort and deliver recyclables to appropriate collection points.
    ● Work one to two shifts at the Visitor Center Front Desk per week.
    ● Assist with maintenance.
    ● Works to fill other areas (listed above) where volunteers are needed.
    Reports to: Refuge staff
    Time Commitment: 20 to 40 hours per week
    Qualifications: If a refuge vehicle is used, you must take Defensive Driving Training available at the refuge free of charge. Basic knowledge of nature and the environment. A pleasant manner, ability to get along with many different personalities, patience, problem-solving ability, and dependability. General maintenance knowledge is needed. Specific training may be needed to operate certain machines. An annual computer security class and security clearance are needed to access government computers.
    Support: An orientation to the refuge and training will be provided as needed.
    Age Requirement: To drive a refuge vehicle you must be at least 18 years old.
    Dress Code: Volunteer shirts will be provided

    Return to Volunteer Position Description List 

Page Photo Credits — Volunteers at the Front Desk in the Visitor Center - Marco Sánchez/USFWS, Front Desk Volunteers - © Carol Campbell, Volunteer Looking at an American Beech Tree - Sara Giles/USFWS, Volunteers Asking Questions - Marco Sánchez/USFWS, Piping Plover Discovery Station - Sara Giles/USFWS, River Otter - Sara Giles/USFWS, Bridge Reconstruction Done by Volunteers and the Youth Conservation Corps - USFWS, Volunteers Who Built the Recycling Center on the Refuge - USFWS, Volunteer Doing Computer Work - Jennifer McDonough/USFWS, Conducting Plant Studies - Marco Sánchez/USFWS, Large-flowered Trillium - Sara Giles/USFWS, Measuring a Fish at Children's Fishing Day - Karen Palmer/USFWS, American Toad - Seth Hingston/2012 Photo Contest, Wildlife Wednesday Tour - © Jim Hill, Brown Thrasher - Sara Giles/USFWS, Pulling Stoplogs from a Water Control Structure - Sara Giles/USFWS
Last Updated: Jan 15, 2013
Return to main navigation