Conserving the Nature of America

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Volunteers Help with Blue Bird boxes at Ennis
National Fish Hatchery

Teen Spreads the Word on Marine Debris

RV volunteers, Moapa Valley Refuge, NV

Manatee watch, Chassahowitzka Refuge, FL

Fence removal, Desert Refuge, NV

Assisting with banding

Trash removal, Edwin B Forsythe Refuge, NJ

2015 Volunteer of the Year
Wiley "Dub" Lyon is the 2015 Refuge System Volunteer of the Year for his commitment to Balcones Canyonlands Refuge, TX, and its Friends group. Read more here.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds come to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they share a common desire to conserve fish, wildlife, and public lands in a hands–on way.  Among many other opportunities, volunteering may give you a chance to lead refuge tours, rescue turtles, conduct plant and animal surveys, remove invasive species, or teach elementary school students about the importance of healthy ecosystems.

With more than 43,000 volunteers contributing in excess of 1.6 million hours, our volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks. Some work full-time, some just a few hours a week or month, or during a particular season or special event.

Generally, no special skills are required to be a volunteer. On-the-job training is provided as needed. Individual talents and skills are matched with such volunteer interests and work opportunities as:

  • conducting fish and wildlife population surveys
  • lead tours and provide information to school groups and other visitors
  • assisting with laboratory research, improve habitat such as re-establishing native plants along a riverbank
  • help with special projects such as banding ducks
  • performing clerical and administrative duties
  • working with computers and other technical equipment
  • photograph natural and cultural resources
  • controlling invasive species
Tualatin River
Tualatin River Refuge, OR, provides Puddle Stompers with rain gear. The refugeís award-winning Friends group often provides volunteers to help run the environmental education program for preschoolers. Here, the kids canít take their eyes off a rough-skinned newt.

National wildlife refuges are also perfect locations for youth groups, Scouts and service organizations to volunteer, earn badges and complete community service projects. In addition, some refuges offer residential volunteer opportunities.


Last updated: April 17, 2015
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