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, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.

Work Campers

The refuge has two volunteer work camper sites. Each site has electrical, water and sewer hookups. Work campers have access to a laundry facility with extra storage and freezer space available. Work campers generally volunteer at the refuge from March through November. The primary purpose of the work camper program is to keep the visitor contact station open during evening and weekend hours. Work campers also help with refuge events such as First Fridays. If interested, work campers may also help with other activities on the refuge such as maintenance, wildlife surveys, etc.

Work camper applications are taken on a continuous basis. If you are interested in becoming a work camper at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, you can email or call us at 660-856-3323 or SwanLake@fws.gov.

Individual Volunteers

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is very dependent upon volunteers to accomplish our mission. Volunteers are very important to the National Wildlife Refuge System and provide thousands of hours of support to meet refuge goals and objectives. Volunteers provide labor to accomplish tasks on refuges that would not otherwise be possible, due to limited staffing. Refuge volunteers can learn more about refuge management and help to build connections with the local communities. If you would like to volunteer at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, you can email or call us at 660-856-3323 or SwanLake@fws.gov.


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. Contact the refuge office to learn more about current opportunities at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

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.

Friends of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, our primary local support, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of the Friends is to support the refuge and ensure we meet our mission as a refuge within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Friends complement the refuge staff and work to enhance and promote public awareness of and participation in the refuge's purpose. This organization works toward this cause on a local, regional and national basis, in harmony with the refuge's mission.

Other partners include:

  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Grand River Chapter of the Audubon Society
  • Missouri Western Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society


If you would like to get involved with the Friends of Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge, contact the refuge manager who will then pass your information on to the president of the organization.

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.

Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge often hosts Youth Conservation Corps for high school students during summer months, as well as other internships. Contact the refuge office for more information about current or upcoming opportunities.