Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved:




Community Outreach Events

Join our Education Programs


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

Volunteer at National Key Deer Refuge 

Volunteers at National Key Deer Refuge are an integral part of our team. They assist with numerous projects ranging from greeting visitors and conducting wildlife inventories to presenting interpretive programs and maintenance projects.  Volunteers are instrumental in helping us serve our mission.

If you have an interest in wildlife, enjoy working outdoors or with people, or simply want to contribute in some way, consider joining the Refuge’s volunteer staff. Training and uniforms are provided—you supply the interest and time. Becoming involved is easy.

Simply fill out a USFWS Volunteer Application and email the form to:


Or- Drop off in person at the Nature Center, 30587 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key

Who May Volunteer?

No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at the National Key Deer Refuge. On the job training is provided. While there is no age limit, anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval and in most circumstances must be under parental or adult supervision. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged. Service Learning volunteer programs are available for students.

Volunteer Programs:

General and Resident volunteer opportunities are available.  

What's my Commitment?

RV Work Campers: These positions are available year round for people living in a Recreational Vehicle (RV) during their volunteer term. We have three RV pads available. Each site has water, electric, sewer, and picnic tables. Laundry facilities are provided. Volunteers should plan to commit to a minimum of 3 months. Volunteers will work a schedule of 24 hours per week. Most folks prefer our winter season, Dec-Mar, so that they can enjoy the winter in south Florida; however, with only three sites, our openings in this season are rare. You can choose to “get your foot in the door” by working a different season so that we get to know you.

General (Part-Time) Volunteers: The amount of time that you wish to volunteer is up to you.  Volunteers may work full-time, a few hours per week or month, or even during a particular season. Some of our typical part-time opportunities are shown below:

• Visitor Services: Volunteer opportunities include: staffing the Refuge Nature Center and Blue Hole observation platform; assisting with greeting visitors; answering questions, giving advice and information, participating in refuge education and outreach events, and assisting staff with special events. Volunteers at the Nature Center and Blue Hole typically work one 3.5 hour shift per week.

• Education and Outreach: Volunteer opportunities include: Teaching at schools, assisting at outreach booths, and giving talks and presentations.

• Biology/Resource Management: Volunteer opportunities include: Assisting staff with plant and wildlife surveys, assisting with exotics removal or restoration work, assisting staff with data input and other computer work. 

• Maintenance: Volunteer opportunities include: Maintaining Refuge grounds and facilities (trails, buildings, signs) and special projects.

• Groups: When contacted in advance, we can accommodate student groups, including; Girl and Boy Scouts, service learning groups, alternative spring breakers , Americorps, and other. We do not currently have overnight housing, but we do have half and full-day volunteer programs available.

• General: Some folks just like to do their own thing, whether it’s a weekly roadside or beach cleanup, helping at an outreach booth, or assisting with field sampling or citizen science. These hours may vary, with the volunteer determining what they enjoy doing.