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 and fish and wildlife 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. 

  • Volunteers: Gain new experiences and meet new people while helping to advance wildlife conservation. 
  • Friends: Join neighbors in helping refuges restore habitat and expand access to green space. Many choose to join our Friends Group which is dedicated to supporting the Refuges mission, promoting conservation ethics, education, and encouraging responsible utilization of the Refuge Complex. 
  • Landowners: Learn how you can partner with the Fish and Wildlife Service to voluntarily restore land. 
  • Local Groups: Find out how communities can work with refuges better for wildlife and people.  
  • Youth: Explore paid and unpaid opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills.


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 station's latest volunteer opportunities on volunteer.gov

The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge offers four unique volunteer opportunities. Part-time volunteer positions and resident volunteer opportunities are available each year. 

Current Needs

The refuge complex is looking for volunteers to assist in the winter season and year-round operations. The duties include, but are not limited to: 

Visitor Services

Staffing refuge Visitor Center; assisting with clerical duties; serving as a roving interpreter on boardwalk and trails; participating in refuge Education and Outreach events; assisting staff with special events. 

Manatee Watch 

Monitoring manatee aggregation areas where human recreation occurs. Monitoring most manatee areas requires operating a non-motorized vessel (kayak, paddle-board, canoe) without direct staff supervision. 


Maintaining refuge grounds and facilities (roads, trails, boardwalk, buildings); maintaining manatee sanctuary buoys; signage; special projects. 

What Training is Required? 

For most positions, volunteers need no special skills other than the ability to work by themselves, and with others, and enthusiasm for the refuge. Volunteers will be trained. Generally, training is scheduled throughout the year and presented by key staff and other professionals to enhance a volunteer’s knowledge and skills. 

What's my Commitment? 

Part-Time Volunteers: The amount of time that you wish to volunteer is up to you although we prefer you dedicate 4 hours per week as it is a commitment. Volunteers may work full-time, a few hours per week or month, or even during a particular season. 

Resident Volunteers (Workcampers):  

These positions are typically for winter (Oct 1st – March 31) resident couples living in an RV. Exceptions on the use of our bunkhouse, and single resident volunteers, are under the discretion of the refuge manager. This opportunity requires volunteers to perform multiple duties, but are not limited to the volunteer areas described above. 

Volunteers should plan to commit to a minimum of six months (October – March). Volunteers will work a schedule of three eight-hour days per person for a total of 24 hours per week (per person). Single volunteers will work a schedule of four eight hour days for a total of 32 hours per week. 


The refuge has six, full hook-up trailer pads, located off HWY 19 in Homosassa. Each site has water, electricity, (50 amp, 220v hook-up), sewer, a cement slab and picnic table. Laundry facilities, a large refrigerator, and grill are located in the fenced in site as well. 

To Apply 

For more information about the Crystal River NWR Complex and its volunteer opportunities contact crystalriver@fws.gov or (352)563-2088. 

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.

Education Programs

Several environmental education programs are offered to schools and other education organizations on a limited basis. If you wish to coordinate an environmental education program with the refuge, please contact crystalriver@fws.gov or (352)563-2088.