Ways to Get Involved
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge needs YOU — your talents, your enthusiasm, and some of your time!
Volunteers at the refuge have always been an integral part of the staff. They assist with numerous projects ranging from boat and canoe trail maintenance to presentation of interpretive programs. Volunteers have been instrumental in the accomplishment of several refuge projects and activities.
Help make a difference! Volunteers play a vital role in helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fulfill its mission of conserving, protecting and enhancing America's fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge volunteer programs seeks to combine the interests of the volunteer with the work needed to be accomplished in order to achieve a productive partnership, one which will ensure the preservation of resources within the refuge.
The program is made up of three smaller programs: General Volunteers, Resident Volunteers, and Internships. Each program offers hands-on experience in the day-to-day activities of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
General Volunteer Program
This program represents our most critical area of operations. Volunteers perform duties in three areas of refuge operations: Visitor Services, Environmental Education, and Maintenance.
Visitor Services – Volunteering in Visitor Services may include giving out information to the general public at the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center, operating the Okefenokee Wildlife League’s (Friends group) sales operation, or conducting interpretive programs for the general public (offered seasonally).
Environmental Education - During fall and spring, the refuge offers on- or off-site programs for school groups conducted by a refuge ranger or volunteer. During the summer months, library programs and other off-site educational programs often keep staff, volunteers, and interns busy.
Maintenance - Volunteers assisting with maintenance are often outdoors clearing upland or water trails, building/repairing/maintaining visitor facilities like boardwalks and platforms, cleaning facilities throughout the refuge, and many other tasks. Carpentry skills and experience with small tools, mowers, etc. are very helpful.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge volunteer program has something to offer everybody. Volunteers can choose activities that they feel will meet their needs even if some of the activities encompass more than just one area of refuge operations. Applications for the general volunteer program are accepted year-round.
Resident Volunteer Program
This program offers a unique opportunity for recreational vehicle and/or trailer volunteers to live and work at the refuge. It is only open to those volunteer candidates who own their own trailer and/or RV. Volunteers commit to work at the refuge 24 hours a week (per couple) and 32 hours a week (per person), for a minimum of three months.
In exchange for their services, the refuge provides a full hook-up trailer pad, propane and access to garbage and laundry facilities. Volunteers perform work in the same area of operations as do our general volunteer staff, i.e. visitor services, environmental education and resource management.
Resident Volunteer positions available year-round, visit Volunteer.gov for more information.
Who May Volunteer?
No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. While there is no age limit, anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged.
Volunteers are welcome regardless of race, religion, age, gender, nationality, or disability. U.S. citizenship is not required. The only criteria stipulated when considering the above programs is ownership of your own trailer and/or RV when applying for the Resident Volunteer Program.
How to Apply?
Applications are available through volunteer opportunity posts on volunteer.gov.
For more information about any of the above volunteer programs contact the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (912-496-3200).
Established in 1990, this group was established as a non-profit organization to support the mission of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Sources of income:
- Memberships — Memberships categories include Individual, Family, Life, and Corporate.
- Nature Store — The Nature Store, located inside the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center provides visitors with educational materials related to refuge natural and cultural resources and management, and offers the chance to purchase souvenirs of the refuge. There is also an online nature store where supporters from around the world can buy merchandise!
To serve as a unified team managing, protecting, and promoting forest resources in and around the Okefenokee Swamp through a stewardship ethic to assure these resources will be available for future generations.