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 and neighbors 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.
Volunteering at Sherburne
Our team of volunteers are the life energy of the refuge and their dedication, time and effort has an incredible impact on not only the refuge, but the community overall. The refuge has a robust volunteer program that continues to expand. Around 350 volunteers make large contributions to the following programs and activities annually: nature education, interpretation, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, maintenance, biology, habitat restoration, administration and more.
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Fill out the volunteer application and the Volunteer Coordinator will reach out within two weeks to set up an interview and orientation. Paper forms are available upon request.
For questions, contact Jade Pederson at Jade_Pederson@fws.gov or 763-389-3323 ext 104. Thank you for supporting your !
Already a volunteer?
Who can be a volunteer? YOU!
Our volunteer team welcomes you to join us! The refuge has incorporated many volunteers through the national Retired Senior Volunteer Program locally based in Elk River, MN. Youth under 18 may volunteer for certain positions given signed permission by their parents or guardians on the Volunteer Services Agreement form.
See below for more information on current volunteer roles.
- Check hiking trails for litter, obstructions or repair.
- Clean up litter at kiosks, fishing areas, canoe access points and parking lots.
- Adopt a Refuge Road!
- Perform mowing, weed whipping and removal.
- Complete carpentry projects and repairs.
- Become certified on certain heavy equipment to assist with maintenance projects (must volunteer for at least one year before moving into this role).
Interpretation, Events and Community Outreach
- Become a “Roving Wildlife Interpreter” and interact with visitors on the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive.
- Represent the refuge at community events and festivals.
- Assist at annual refuge events, including Wildlife Festival!
- Lead guided tours and programs for the public on a range of topics.
- Donate your wildlife photography and videography skills.
- Help with school programs at the refuge or at local schools.
- Work with students from neighboring communities.
- Assist or lead programs for visiting groups.
- Learn about the "Compass to Nature."
- Engage your sense of wonder!
- Greet and welcome visitors to the refuge.
- Research and compile information.
- Answer and direct phone calls.
- Join our seed collector team and enhance your knowledge of native wildflowers.
- Help with habitat restoration projects.
- Early riser? Perform bird surveys with our biology staff.
- Monitor water quality of the St Francis River and wetlands throughout the refuge.
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. Learn more about our local partners.
Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
The Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is a grassroots nonprofit organization with a single purpose: to nurture an appreciation for, and the conservation of, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. They work toward an intergenerational community of active stewards who conserve, protect and support the unique natural resources at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The Friends organization exists to support events and interpretive and educational programs at the refuge. They are managed by a board of directors and guided by a set of strategic pillars: education, advocacy, volunteerism and sustainability.
Refuge volunteers and staff members may be available to come and speak to your group. Programs are available on a variety of topics concerning the refuge, careers, plants and animals living in the area, or other topics.
Open the door to a potentially life-changing experience. If you land a student internship, a fellowship or a volunteer opportunity at a, fish hatchery or other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site, you’re bound to come away with new insights and excitement about conservation.
Depending on the year, the refuge hosts one to three internships, spanning visitor services, biology and management.