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.
Volunteers at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge provide their talents and energy to help in many different ways. From removal to answering visitor inquiries at the information desks, from hiking trails to helping with school programs, volunteers are invaluable to us for all of the support they provide! By volunteering you'll gain knowledge about the refuge and its purpose and will become part of a community of people dedicated to the stewardship of wildlife and natural landscapes. If you have questions about the refuge's volunteer program, please contact the volunteer coordinator.
To start the process of getting involved, please complete the Natural Resources Volunteer Application and email it to the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to: Minnesota Valley NWR, Attn: Volunteer Coordinator, 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425.
Once received, we will be in touch with you to schedule a volunteer interview to get to know you a little more, discuss interests, and see where the best match may be.
Potential volunteer opportunities:
- Invasive species removal
- Maintain pollinator gardens
- Monitor bird feeders for Project FeederWatch
- Seed collection
- Assist with outreach programs and events
- Guide nature programs such as Nature Smart Library program
- Provide on-site translations for events and programs
- Help in Fishing in the Neighborhood programs
- Assist with environmental education programs
- Lead programs as an interpretive guide
- Become a trail ranger and share trail reports
- Donate your photography and videography skills
- Support behind the scenes as an office assistant
- Interact with visitors at our information desk and Friends’ nature store
Primary responsibilities will be staffing our two visitor centers with opportunity to support additional duties that may include but are not limited to: maintenance projects, habitat restoration, and contributing to scientific studies.
The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and protection of our natural and cultural resources. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge works with multiple partners throughout the Minnesota River Valley. Learn more about some of our local partners:
The Community Outreach Program strives to reduce barriers and increase opportunities that connect urban audiences with the nature in their neighborhoods. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of outdoor education and recreation opportunities, both on the refuge and in the community, ranging from library demonstrations to fishing and snowshoeing programs to habitat restoration. The Meet Your Wildlife Neighbors outreach trailer is also available and is a fully equipped nature experience on wheels.
Educators interested in engaging their students in outdoor learning through field trips or on-campus exploration, visit the Education page for resources and information.
If you are interested in a conservation career with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit the USFWS Careers site for useful resources and tips on how to land a job.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a premier training ground for the next generation of conservation professionals. Minnesota Valley provides unique opportunities for professional development:
- High School Conservation Internship Team is a 9-week, 12-member conservation-focused employment opportunity for local high school students that follows a Work/Learn/Play model. Emphasis is on habitat restoration, community engagement, and first-time outdoor recreation experiences within the context of conservation careers.
*Rolling applications. Contact internship coordinator for more information.
- Crew Leaders - High School Conservation Internship Team is a 16-week, 2 member team, that assists the Internship Coordinator in providing training, supervision, and mentorship to lead a youth crew both on the refuge and within the Twin Cities community. This position will engage youth in first-time outdoor recreation experiences including: fishing, paddling, hiking, nature photography, bird watching, and biking.
*Openings typically announced annually. Applications close March 3, 2024. Learn more and apply here.
- Environmental Education Teaching Internship is a 12-month practical training program for beginning professionals focused on leading field trips for K-8th grade students, partnership coordination and program development.
*Openings typically announced annually. Applications close February 25, 2024. Learn more and apply here.
- Refuge Apprenticeships is a 2-year, full time developmental opportunity for early-career professionals seeking mentorship in conservation biology or visitor services and community outreach.
*Openings typically announced biannually. Applications close March 4, 2024. Learn more and apply here.
The Refuge works with many local and national organizations to make these internships possible including: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Trust, American Conservation Experience (ACE), and Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa (CCMI).
For more information about internships and seasonal employment opportunities at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, contact Internship Coordinator Jasmine Curtis at email@example.com.