Get Involved

Share a Wild Experience! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge needs YOU - your talents, your enthusiasm, and some of your time! If you enjoy working with people and appreciate and are concerned about our nation's natural resources, our volunteer program may interest you.

From its start in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has owed its very existence to concerned citizens eager to protect America's natural resources.  Today, more than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century.  Become a volunteer to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources!

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex is made up of Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR, Grays Harbor NWR, and the Black River Unit of Nisqually NWR. Refuge managers work to protect, manage, and restore habitat on these refuges for migratory birds including shorebirds and waterfowl, and for threatened and endangered species.  Wildlife-dependent recreation and environmental education are also part of the management efforts on these refuges.

What do volunteers do?

Various opportunities exist at the Refuge for the volunteer to gain valuable and rewarding experience.  Volunteers assist Refuge personnel in achieving management goals by assisting in:

Environmental Education
Volunteers give educational programs to school groups and assist with field trips to the Refuge.

Resource Management
Qualified volunteers may assist Refuge biologists with wildlife surveys, habitat restoration, invasive species management and bird banding.

Volunteers may help Refuge employees in general tasks including sign installation, painting, small construction, and routine equipment maintenance. Also, opportunities sometimes exist in more specialized areas for those with skills such as plumbing and carpentry.

Special Projects
Volunteers may work independently or under general supervision in the areas of photography, journalism, photo and specimen collections, typing, and other administrative work.

Where Do Volunteers Work?

Most volunteers hours at Grays Harbor are devoted to the Education Outreach program (which works with third and fourth grade classes at local schools), the annual Shorebird Festival, and maintenance of the Refuge.

Why Do People Become Volunteers?

Volunteers realize various benefits from working at the Refuge.  Being involved with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency dedicated to the principle of conservation, is both satisfying and rewarding.  Others find the duties fulfilling and challenging as old talents are employed and new skills are acquired. To most, however, the motive is enjoyment, as volunteer work can be just plain fun!

Who May Apply?

Our volunteer program is open to everyone. Those under 18 years of age, however, do need written permission from a parent or guardian.

How Do You Become a Refuge Volunteer?

To become a Refuge volunteer, you must fill out a volunteer application and submit it to the Refuge. Staff will review applications on a case by case basis.  If you have unique skills needed by the Refuge, you will be contacted for an interview.  Apply by filling out the two-page Volunteer Application (If needed, you may download Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing pdf files) and sending it to:

Volunteer Program Coordinator
Nisqually NWR Complex
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516