Volunteer Accomplishments

Volunteers at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge are involved in all aspects of refuge operations.

Some of the various duties performed by volunteers are staffing the Visitor Center, leading interpretive walks, providing environmental programs for school groups, conducting surveys and monitoring water quality, doing GIS, photography and videography, and performing maintenance activities.  Annually, over 450 volunteers donate over 15,000 hours to the refuge -- that's the equivalent of more than six full time staff.

The following is a list of the accomplishments over the last couple of years -- work done by the dedicated volunteers who help make Wichita Mountains the amazing refuge that it is! 

  • 170,000 visitors were welcomed at the Visitor Center by volunteer staff who dedicated 2,300 volunteer duty hours.
  • 1,420 visitors toured the refuge with the Friends of the Wichitas (Friends).
  • Volunteers worked 119 hours to remove 6.493 stems of Common mullein, one of the refuge's worst invasive plants.
  • Trail repairs and trail maintenance -- an ongoing volunteer effort.
  • Trash – Off: Many bags of litter were collected by volunteers throughout the year. 
  • Wichita Wildlights Photographic Society members photographed the Longhorn and Bison Auctions on the refuge. 
  • Assisted in working the longhorn and buffalo to prepare for and hold the annual auctions. 
  • Used GPS to document 1,000 signs, 155 low water crossings, and 320 fence corners. 
  • Thousands of historic photos and documents scanned. 
  • Assisted hunters and refuge staff during the annual deer and elk hunts. 
  • Prepared for and welcomed visitors to the Annual Great Backyard Bird Count and to the separate Oklahoma Feeder Watch at the Environmental Education Center bird observation blind. 
  • Saturday morning hikes - Every Saturday volunteers lead this hike for families. In the last year approximately 400 people have participated. 
  • Mountain Boomer hikes - The second Monday of every month volunteers lead this hike for baby-boomers and conduct Thursday morning hikes
  • Assisted in judging the entries in the "Youth Waterfowl Stamp Contest". 
  • Provided initial GIS support on two wildfires on the Wichita Mountains. 
  • Beginning GIS training to four volunteers and GIS data and mapping support to refuge staff. 
  • Video capture and editing for several short documentary style videos. 
  • Butterfly Count - During the 2010 Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Count, a record high of 71 species of butterflies were identified and recorded. Officially, that was the 19th year of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Butterfly Count.
  • Waterfowl surveys - Surveyed for waterfowl on 17 bodies of water on the refuge. 
  • Christmas bird count - Approximately 25 volunteers participate in the Wichita Mountains holiday bird census organized by the National Audubon Society. Data collected are used to study bird population trends in North America.