Ways to Get Involved

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Our Partners



National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. We partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and community residents 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.

People of all ages and backgrounds can volunteer by contacting the volunteer coordinator at 515-994-3400 or nealsmith@fws.gov. Volunteers help with a wide variety of projects, including:

  • Seed collecting and cleaning
  • Planting and transplanting seedlings
  • Invasive plant monitoring and removal
  • Trail maintenance
  • Staffing the nature store and information desk
  • Assisting with environmental education and interpretive programs
  • Maintaining equipment, facilities and the grounds
  • Assisting with office tasks
  • Helping at special events and Second Saturday Stewardship days
  • Community science

Opportunities range from just a few hours to long-term projects, taking place any day of the week. Individuals and groups are welcome. No experience is necessary.

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. Our partners are vital to the success of the refuge.

Friends of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the refuge numerous ways. They provide information to the public about refuge activities through a quarterly newsletter and a website, host refuge events, assist the refuge with project funding, support the volunteer program, fund raise and operate the Prairie Point Nature Store. For more information contact buffalo@tallgrass.org.

Other partners of Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge include: 

Many additional partners work with refuge staff to accomplish our goals. Interested in partnering with the refuge? Contact our visitor services manager today at 515-994-3400 or nealsmith@fws.gov


Community Science, also known as citizen science, is the involvement of the public in collecting scientific data. You can become an amateur scientist and learn to gather information that will help the Refuge learn more about what is out there.

Below are some examples of community science that happens at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. Contact Refuge staff to get involved in these projects.

The following community science projects are things you can do on your own, either at the refuge, your local park or at home. Most of these just involve noticing, identifying and reporting what you observe. Some will even help you to identify what you are seeing.

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.


Internships are seasonably available in the areas of biology, visitor services, environmental education and environmental outreach. Volunteering is also a great way to get involved.

Biological Internship Flyer 2023