Ways to Get Involved

Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.


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. Learn new skills, meet new friends and enjoy a sense of accomplishment from doing your part to further wildlife conservation for the pleasure of generations to follow.

Our team of dedicated volunteers contribute their talent, energy and passion to making the refuge a gem in the community. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of refuge operations from trail maintenance to helping with public events to tending wildflowers in our greenhouse.

So, who can be a volunteer? YOU! There is a role to fit all ages and skill levels. We welcome you to join our volunteer team!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out and sign the volunteer opportunities form and volunteer service agreement and email to the volunteer coordinator. You will be contacted within two weeks of your application being received.

For questions, contact Nikki Ellingson.

Volunteer Roles

Volunteers are involved in many ways at the refuge. Below are just a few of the ways they make a difference! Check out the volunteer opportunities for a complete list.

Maintenance volunteers:

  • Keep the trails in tip top shape
  • Mow the lawn and plow snow
  • Assist with various projects including carpentry, painting and sign posting

Biology volunteers:

  • Assist with seed collection
  • Tend wildflower gardens
  • Collect data on different bird species, from monitoring bluebird houses to waterfowl surveys

Education and outreach volunteers:

  • Promote the refuge in the community
  • Assist at public events
  • Educate school groups

Our Partners

Nature does not recognize human-made boundaries. In order to conserve our natural and cultural resources effectively, we must work with others to bridge these boundaries. Partnerships foster creative solutions to challenging situations and often the results are greater than the sum of the parts. Learn more about our local partners.

Friends of Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge fosters community understanding and appreciation of natural resources while supporting the refuge goals of conservation, restoration and education.

They are a volunteer, community-based organization dedicated to supporting the refuge by working toward a variety of goals, including:

  • Working with the refuge to conserve natural areas and encourage conservation of water, land and wildlife
  • Raising public awareness of the refuge and value of this natural heritage at the community, region, state and federal levels
  • Forming partnerships with community-based environmental and civic organizations with a common goal of getting kids and families out into nature

They invite you to learn more about them by browsing their website, reading their brochure and following them on Facebook!


Refuge staff members and volunteers are available to come and speak to your group. Programs are available on a variety of topics concerning the refuge, plants and animals living in the areas. Contact the refuge if you are interested in a program.

Education Programs

Open the door to a potentially life-changing experience. If you land a student internship, a fellowship or a volunteer opportunity at a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
, fish hatchery or other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site, you’re bound to come away with new insights and excitement about conservation.

Typically, 1-2 internships are offered out of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge each year. Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a part of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Interns at Sherburne assist with projects at Crane Meadows throughout their terms. Visit Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge’s website for information on internships and youth programs.