Ways to Get Involved

National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and rural communities to make a lasting difference. Join Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Refuge staff to help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while gaining new skills and rewarding experiences. We have a wide range of opportunities from habitat management to biological monitoring to visitor services and you are likely to have skills that we can learn from. Get involved and join the team!


Discover for yourself what tens of thousands of volunteers have learned: Volunteering for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is fun and rewarding in many ways. Master new skills. Meet new friends. Enjoy a sense of accomplishment from doing your part to further wildlife conservation for the pleasure of generations to follow. Check out our Refuge's volunteer opportunities: 

What do volunteers do?

Various opportunities exist at the Refuge Complex for the volunteer to gain valuable and rewarding experience. Volunteers assist Refuge personnel in achieving management goals by assisting in:


At Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Refuge, volunteers staff the Norm Dicks Visitor Center, provide information on recreational and educational opportunities, and as Friends members, operate operate
To manipulate the controls of any conveyance, such as, but not limited to, an aircraft, snowmobile, motorboat, off-road vehicle, or any other motorized or non-motorized form of vehicular transport as to direct its travel, motion, or purpose.

Learn more about operate
the Nature Shop. They assist in planning and participate in special events such as National Wildlife Refuge Week and the Complex's annual festivals. Through nature walks and slide programs, volunteers help visitors understand and appreciate both the natural and human history of the refuges. Volunteers also rove Refuge trails to connect with visitors, report issues, and identify maintenance needs.

Environmental Education 

Volunteers assist with environmental educational program staff to provide hands-on learning experiences, guide small groups on refuge trails, assist with teacher orientation workshops, and help with special projects.

Resource Management 

Qualified volunteers assist Refuge biologists with wildlife surveys, habitat restoration, and invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species


Volunteers assist Refuge employees and the Washington Conservation Corps. crew with a diversity of maintenance needs, including: sign installation ,fence repairs, painting, equipment repair, woodwork and small construction projects. There may also be opportunities in more specialized areas for those with skills such as plumbing and carpentry.

Special Projects

Volunteers may work independently or under general supervision on individual projects in the areas of photography, journalism, photo and specimen collections, as a librarian, and other administrative work.

Where Do Volunteers Work?

While most volunteers work at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge east of Olympia, volunteers are also needed at Grays Harbor NWR in Hoquiam and the Black River Unit, located about 5 miles southwest of Olympia.

When Do Volunteers Work?

The Refuge Complex needs volunteer service 7 days each week. Working hours extend through daylight hours, but some evening meetings, training, and orientation may be required.

Why Become a Volunteer?

Volunteers realize various benefits from working at the Refuge. Being involved with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency dedicated to the principle of conservation, is both satisfying and rewarding. Others find the duties fulfilling and challenging as old talents are employed and new skills are acquired. 

Who May Apply?

Our volunteer program is open to everyone. Those under 18 years of age needs written permission from a parent or guardian.

How Do You Become a Refuge Volunteer?

To become a Refuge volunteer, you must fill out a Volunteer Application and submit it to the Refuge. Staff will review applications on a case-by-case basis. If you have unique skills needed by the Refuge, you will be contacted for an interview. Refuge Volunteers must work a minimum of 8 hours per month for a 1-year minimum commitment. Volunteers are required to contribute to the cost of a uniform. Apply by completing the Volunteer Application and submit it:



Mail or Drop Off:   

Volunteer Program Coordinator
Nisqually NWR Complex
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516

Our Partners

The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management and water disputes in the most environmentally protective manner. Scientifically-informed and technologically-based stewardship of our public lands, waters, wildlife and special places must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies, and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed.