Get Involved

Refuge volunteers - USFWS.

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.

Friends Group

The Friends of the Heinz Refuge (FOHR), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is engaged in a wide diversity of projects, programs, and services which serve to raise awareness of and support for John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, as well as the National Wildlife Refuge System and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Visit the Friends' website at or find them on Facebook!


The refuge benefits by...

  • maintaining or improving current visitor service, environmental education, and wildlife management operations.
  • having people actively involved in promoting the Refuge. Therefore, information reaches more people, and our
  • mission of environmental awareness is spread to a wider audience.
  • encouraging a sense of ownership and appreciation of a fragile natural resource within the community.

The volunteer benefits by...

  • building pride through continued preservation efforts at Tinicum marsh.
  • meeting people and becoming part of a team.
  • learning about environmental issues and processes.
  • being appreciated and recognized for their efforts.

Volunteer Opportunities Currently Available

Environmental Education
Work with students and teachers and to lead or assist hands-on nature lessons.
(e.g. Environmental Education Assistant, Photo Group Member)

Public Use
Share your knowledge of the Refuge and natural history with visitors and the general public.
(e.g. Photo Group Member, Bookstore Clerk)

Natural Resource Management
If you don't mind getting dirty, get hands-on experience with our trail and water monitoring teams.
(e.g. Trail Tamer or Maintenance Assistant)

Share your administrative talents and skills.
(e.g. Front Desk Attendant or Administrative Assistant)

Weed Warrior
Enrich wildlife habitat within the Refuge by participating in the restoration of native plant communities. Weed Warriors recognize that these native plant communities are vital to supporting a rich and diverse population of native wildlife including more than 300 species of birds. For more information, visit the Friends of Heinz Refuge Weed Warrior Online Training and Orientation website or our schedule of current on-site training opportunities.

Service Projects
The Refuge can provide community service projects for certain groups. If your school, church, or organization is interested in participating in a service project, please contact our volunteer coordinator. Our needs change frequently, but we will do our best to work with your talents and interests.

Requirements for Volunteering

All prospective volunteers should download and complete a Volunteer Application and submit it to the refuge's Volunteer Coordinator, David Stoughton. Forms may be submitted via email to or in person. 

This application will be forwarded to appropriate refuge staff who will determine how your talents can be best used at Heinz Refuge. Training for all positions will be provided.  For further information, contact us at 215-365-3118.