Get Involved


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

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 200 nonprofit Refuge Friends organizations support national wildlife refuges, whether they work with a single refuge, a refuge complex or an entire state. Friends members are crucial to conserving and protecting our nation’s wildlife and teaching millions of Americans that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow.

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.

Due to the remote nature of San Juan Islands NWR, on-refuge volunteer opportunities are not available. However, several organizations offer volunteer programs that directly benefit the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Marine Debris
A major threat to the health of shoreline habitat is the presence of marine debris. Tufted puffins may mistake floating plastic bags for tasty jellyfish. Harbor seals become entangled in discarded fishing nets. Gulls feed their chicks bits of plastic and glass. Keeping all the shorelines in the San Juan Islands free of trash benefits the Refuge and the wildlife that lives here. Friends of the San Juans coordinates an anti-litter campaign to keep the shorelines pristine. Contact the Friends to find out how to adopt a beach, arrange a group beach clean-up, or join a group beach clean-up.

Seabird Surveys
The University of Washington coordinates the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), an excellent citizen science project to monitor seabird health in the Pacific Northwest. Although beaches within the Refuge are not surveyed under this project, information gathered about the general health of the Islands’ seabird population can provide important information to refuge managers.