Get Involved

volunteer pic

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. 

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 or Refuge Friend to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources. 

Volunteer at the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges 

Volunteers at National Key Deer Refuge are an integral part of the staff. They assist with numerous projects ranging from greeting visitors, wildlife inventories to presenting interpretive programs, and their help has been instrumental in the accomplishment of a number of refuge projects and activities.

If you have an interest in wildlife, enjoy working outdoors or with people, or simply want to contribute in some way, consider joining the Refuge’s volunteer staff. Training and uniforms are provided—you supply the interest and time. Becoming involved is easy.

Simply fill out a volunteer application and email the form to:

National Key Deer Refuge
Attn: Kristie Killam
179 Key Deer Blvd
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Phone: 305-304-9625

Or- Drop off in person at the Visitor Center

Who May Volunteer?

No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. On the job training is provided. While there is no age limit, although anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged. Service Learning volunteer programs are available for students.
Volunteer Programs:
General and Resident volunteer opportunities are available

What's my Commitment?

RV Work Campers: These positions are available year round for people living in a Recreational Vehicle during their volunteer term. We have three RV pads available. Each site has water, electric, (35 amp, 220v hook-up), sewer, and picnic tables. Laundry facilities are provided.. Volunteers should plan to commit to a minimum of 3 months. Volunteers will work a schedule of three eight-hour days per person for a total of 24 hours per week. Most folks prefer our winter season, Dec-Mar, so that they can enjoy the winter in south Florida; however, with only three sites, our openings in this season are rare. You can choose to “get your foot in the door” by working a different season so that we get to know you.

General (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. Some of our typical part-time opportunities are shown below:

Visitor Services: Volunteer opportunities include: Staffing refuge Visitor Center and Blue Hole observation platform, assisting with greeting visitors, answering questions, giving advice and information, participating in refuge Education and Outreach events, and assisting staff with special events. Volunteers at the Visitor Center and Blue Hole typically work one 3.5 hour shift per week.

Education and Outreach: Volunteer opportunities include: Teaching at schools, assisting at outreach booths, and giving talks and presentations.

Biology/Resource Management: Volunteer opportunities include: 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 (trails, buildings, signs); special projects.

Groups: When contacted in advance, we can accommodate student groups; Girl and Boy Scouts, service learning groups, alternative spring breakers, Americorps, and other. We do not currently have overnight housing, but we do have half and full-day volunteer programs available.

General: Some folks just like to do their own thing, whether it’s a weekly roadside or beach cleanup, helping at an outreach booth, or assisting with field sampling or citizen science. These hours may vary, with the volunteer determining what they enjoy.


For paid positions please visit USAJOBS online

For Internships visit SCA