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 our 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 benefit of all. Check out our refuge's volunteer opportunities:
What do volunteers do?
We have a variety of ways for volunteer to gain valuable and rewarding experience and help us fulfill our mission.
At Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers staff the Norm Dicks Visitor Center, provide information on recreational and educational opportunities, and operate the Nature Shop as members of the Friends of Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex. They assist in planning and participate in special events like the Summer Lecture Series and annual festivals. Through nature walks and public 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.
Volunteers assist 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.
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 management.
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.
Volunteers may work independently or under general supervision on individual projects, including photography, journalism, organizing 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 needs volunteers every day! Working hours are typically during daylight hours when staff are present, but some evening meetings, training, and orientation may be required.
Why Become a Volunteer?
Volunteers have all kinds of reasons for signing up! But every volunteer who joins us helps us protect wildlife and make this place welcoming to visitors. Volunteering is an essential part of American culture. Join our team and you'll find friends who also care about this place. We organize training for volunteers to learn more about the wildlife and habitats we care for, as well as social events.
Who May Apply?
Our volunteer program is open to everyone. Those under 18 years of age need a signature on their volunteer agreement from a parent or guardian.
How Do You Become a Refuge Volunteer?
To become a refuge volunteer, start by filling out a volunteer application. We review applications and will contact you with information about training. You may volunteer for special projects or longer commitments, or for single special events like the Nisqually Watershed Festival or the Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival. To get an application form, please contact us by email or phone. We're excited to hear from you!
Mail or Drop Off:
Volunteer Program Coordinator
Nisqually NWR Complex
100 Brown Farm Road
Olympia, WA 98516
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.