Volunteer

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Whether you want to work with students and the public to spread the conservation message, teach about local indigenous culture, or get your hands dirty doing habitat work, we just may have a volunteer opportunity for you to join our community.

Volunteering at the Refuge does not require previous experience. Bring your enthusiasm and passion the outdoors, connecting people with nature and culture and we will teach you all you need to know.

See how to get involved below.

If you are also interested in volunteering at our Refuges in the Columbia River Gorge, email Jared_Strawderman@fws.gov

  • Habitat Restoration

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    Volunteers get to see the most beautiful places on the refuge while helping to ensure that native wildlife have food and shelter. Spring and Summer work is focused on tree planting maintenance and removing invasive plants.  Crews often meet Wednesday and Saturday mornings throughout the year.

    **Volunteer Work limited in April and May due to limited access during this phase of the River S bridge construction.  Work parties for new volunteers will resume in June.**

    For more information email Keith_Rutz@fws.gov 

  • Cathlapotle Plankhouse

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    The Cathlapotle Plankhouse draws thousands of visitors to the Refuge each year. Help share the legacy of the Indigenous people who have tended to this place since time immemorial as a Plankhouse Docent or Cultural Educator. Field trips take place during the weekdays. Docents staff the house on weekends from April - September.

    Spring training dates are now set for April 13th and 14th, 10 to 3.  

    To get on the list for more information as it comes out, email RidgefieldEducation@fws.gov with the subject line "New Plankhouse Volunteer"

  • Refuge and Trail Greeters

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    Over 120,000 visitors flock to the refuge annually to enjoy nature through participation in wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, cultural interpretation, hunting, and fishing. Volunteers help to make their experiences meaningful. Share your enthusiasm for nature and make the Refuge a welcoming place for people walking our trails, stopping at the Visitor Contact Station and driving the AutoTour.

    Volunteers naturalists needed to walk trails and teach people about what they can see and enjoy at the Refuge this spring and summer! 

    If you are interested email RidgefieldVolunteer@fws.gov to be put on the update list for a late spring training. 

  • Resources & Forms

    Volunteer Services Agreement: All volunteers must sign a Volunteer Services Agreement before starting to volunteer.  Please print, fill out, and sign this form and bring it with you for your first day.  

    Volunteer Timesheet: Use this to keep track of your volunteer hours.  Your hours mean resources for the refuge through grant applications and special reporting. 

    Volunteer Manual 

    If you are volunteering on the Refuge for an extended period of time it is important that you understand the program and our volunteer policies.  This manual gives you background and useful information for working on the refuge as well as what to do in emergency situations.   

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Ridgefield NWR

    *Chapter 3: Volunteer Program

    *Chapter 4: Safety

    Chapter 5: Common Questions

    *Required to be read by all long term volunteers annually