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. 

The refuge offers nearly limitless volunteer involvement for the public. Steady, reliable volunteers operate the Visitor Center and offer programs such as weekly bird walks. The sea turtle patrol program provides assistance for the threatened loggerhead and endangered green turtle while educating the public on the habits and habitats of these wildlife species. A work camping program, bartering an RV campsite and utilities in exchange for work hours, enables individuals from all walks of life to enhance the refuge using their individual experiences and expertise. If you can't come to the refuge in person, you might be able to help by being a Volunteer from a Distance. There may be web-related or non-internet related writing projects that need assistance. 

The Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, a nonprofit local organization, was established to provide support for continued maintenance of the refuge and its educational programs, and to recruit volunteers for continuation of this process. 

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Chrissea Rothrock, christina_rothrock@fws.gov or 252-473-1131, to discuss specific opportunities.


The refuge’s intern program provides unique experiences for college students and graduates geared towards careers in the environmental sciences. Internships expose interns to many aspects of managing a refuge. Interns assist with visitor services, biological monitoring, and maintenance activities. Interns receive training to assist them in presenting public outreach programs such as guided canoe tours, refuge open-air tram tours as well as educational programs on refuge history, management practices, and on species such as black bears and sea turtles. They also help with staffing our visitor centers as needed. Biological duties include installing bird closures, trail maintenance, invasive plant control (spraying herbicides), sea turtle monitoring, shorebird surveys and water level monitoring. All interns assist with refuge maintenance, duties include mowing, trimming, trail work, sign maintenance, trash collection and pickup and assisting other staff with a variety of projects. Interns will receive on-the-ground training for all duties, i.e. ATV/UTV training, mower use and safety. 

We seek enthusiastic team members! It is more important for us to find candidates with good references and positive attitudes than previous technical experience. 

General refuge internships run from mid-May until mid-August, when interns need to return to college. We often ask one or two interns each year to stay through September or October to assist with Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival. 

To Apply

Resumes are accepted year-round. The deadline for Summer 2024 applications is January 5, 2024. It is highly recommended that you apply as early as possible.

You will increase your chance of being selected if you’re open to internships at any of the four refuges. In most cases, to be considered for an internship position, an applicant must be able to stay a minimum of three months. However, in rare cases, slightly shorter internships have been scheduled.

Internships are volunteer positions. However, housing and a living stipend are provided.

To apply, mail a resume, contact information for three references, and a cover letter indicating your specific interests and dates available to Chrissea Rothrock, christina_rothrock@fws.gov.  In your application, indicate your specific interests and describe your background and experience relating to the following:

  • Forestry management techniques
  • Wildlife identification and surveys
  • GIS concepts and applications/general computer skills
  • Basic plant taxonomy
  • Public interpretive programs
  • Canoeing
  • Operation of ATV & motor boats
  • Maintenance (trail and other)

Make sure to provide your dates of availability!

Volunteer Opportunities

Immediate opening for the rest of April at Pea Island. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge hosts resident volunteers year round. Our RV site is located on Bodie Island, about 20 miles north of our visitor center on Pea Island . Each site has electric (30/50amp), water and sewer hook-up, and a...