Get Involved


 Help Make a Difference! Support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by assisting in the conservation of our public lands and waters and the protection of our natural wildlife resources and their habitat.


Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) Summer Program 

The Refuge is not accepting YCC applicants this year. 



Current Needs

The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge offers six unique volunteer opportunities. Part-time volunteer positions and resident volunteer opportunities are available each year.

The refuge complex is looking for volunteers to assist in the day-to-day winter and year-round operations of the refuge. The main duties include, but are not limited to the following:

Resident Volunteers: These positions are typically for winter (Nov – March) resident volunteer couples living in a Recreational Vehicle during the volunteer term. Exceptions on the use of our bunkhouse and committing single resident volunteers are under the discretion of the Refuge Manager. This opportunity requires volunteer involvement on multiple associated duties, but not limited to the volunteer areas described below. However, our staff tends to not involve Visitor Services volunteers with maintenance duties.

Visitor Services: Staffing refuge Visitor Contact Station; assisting with clerical duties; serving as a roving interpreter on boardwalk and trails; participating in refuge Education and Outreach events; assisting staff with special events.

Manatee Watch: Monitoring manatee aggregation areas where human recreation occurs. Monitoring most manatee areas require operating a non-motorized vessel (kayak, paddle-board, canoe) without direct staff supervision. There are limited opportunities to monitor from land without use of a vessel.

Resource Management: Assisting staff with wildlife surveys and inventory; assisting with wildlife habitat survey and restoration work; assisting staff with data input and other computer work.

Maintenance: Maintaining refuge grounds and facilities (roads, trails, boardwalk, buildings); maintaining manatee sanctuary buoys; signage; special projects.

Manatee Rescues: This is an on-call duty, mainly to help monitor reported manatees that may be injured or orphaned. The volunteer is required to operate a non-motorized vessel and in some cases to possess MOCC certification to operate motorized vessels. The volunteer will also be trained to rescue manatees from land and from a rescue vessel, and also to assist manatees underwater in case rescues (removing animal from the water) are not necessary.

What's my Commitment?

Part-Time Volunteers: The amount of time that you wish to volunteer is up to you. Volunteers may work full-time, a few hours per week or month, or even during a particular season.

Resident Volunteers: Volunteers should plan to commit to a minimum of six months (October– March). Volunteers will work a schedule of three eight-hour days per person for a total of 24 hours per week (per person).

Accommodations for Resident Volunteers

The Refuge has six full hook-up trailer pads, located off HWY 19 in Homosassa , FL , adjacent to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (uplands) . The RV Park is fenced and reasonably secure next to a refuge trail system. Each site has water, electric, (50 amp, 220v hook-up), sewer, cement slab and picnic tables. Laundry facilities, large refrigerator, grill and small gym are located on the RV site as well.

What Training is Required?

For most positions, volunteers need no special skills other than the ability to work by themselves and a genuine desire and enthusiasm for the resource. Volunteers will be trained for the duties they will perform. Generally, training is scheduled throughout the year and presented by key staff and other professionals to enhance volunteer resource knowledge and skills.

To Apply

For an application and more information about the Crystal River NWR Complex and its volunteer opportunities contact the refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (352)563-2088, Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm, or write:

Volunteer Coordinator
Crystal River NWR Complex
1502 SE Kings Bay Drive,
Crystal River , FL 34429