Ways to Get Involved

From its start in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System  has owed its very existence to concerned citizens eager to protect America's natural resources. More than 200 nonprofit Refuge Friends organizations support national wildlife refuges, whether they work with a single refuge, a refuge complex or an entire state. Friends members are crucial to conserving and protecting our nation’s wildlife and teaching millions of Americans that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow. More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century. Become a volunteer or Refuge Friend to contribute your strength on behalf of America’s natural resources.


Do you have some spare time? Would you like to do something interesting to help wildlife? Consider becoming a volunteer for one of our wildlife refuges. As a volunteer, you will be actively involved in station programs, teaching environmental education classes, helping rehabilitate burned habitats, greeting visitors, assisting office staff, conducting goose surveys, or helping with any number of other rewarding tasks.

The Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes refuges in two states, and it's likely there's a refuge near you. 

  • Cold Springs NWR near Hermiston, Oregon
  • McKay Creek NWR near Pendleton, Oregon
  • McNary NWR near Burbank and Pasco, Washington
  • Umatilla NWR near Umatilla, Oregon 

Volunteer opportunities and partnerships are recognized as key components of successful management and vital to the implementation of refuge programs, plans and projects. In other words, we need you! And it’s our belief that you can benefit by volunteering. Developing a sense of place and knowing that you contributed to the perpetuation of the natural environment through caring and education are just some of the internal benefits of volunteering.

Various opportunities exist at the entire Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex for volunteers to

experience rewarding and educational opportunities. Volunteers can serve for a long- or short-term period. Help is needed in a variety of fields, including interpretation, environmental education, wildlife and plant surveys, and maintenance and resource management.

Volunteering is fun, but does require commitment. Refuge staff will provide the necessary training and equipment. All you need to supply are time and enthusiasm.

If one of the volunteer opportunities interests you, please contact:

          Lamont Glass
          U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
          64 Maple Street
          Burbank, WA  99323
          (509) 546-8300

Thank you for your interest in the national wildlife refuges along the Mid-Columbia River; we look forward to working with you to protect our national treasures.

Our Partners

The National Wildlife Refuge System is committed to building partnerships which encourage conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources. Partnerships with the Refuge System bring innovative approaches to solving land management and water disputes in the most environmentally protective manner. Scientifically informed and technologically based stewardship of our public lands, waters, wildlife and special places must be collaborative efforts between the Refuge System, other government agencies and private organizations if conservation efforts are to succeed.

The Friends of Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuges was organized in 2001 as a nonprofit organization to provide high-quality natural resource-oriented education programs free to the public, but they also do a myriad of things for our refuges, ranging from pulling weeds to filling bird feeders. But it the education programs they run that are the stars of the show. Held primarily at the McNary NWR, the Environmental Education program is a grassroots labor-of-love effort created in the 1990s by dedicated and caring volunteers interested in connecting children to nature. These volunteers continue to coordinate, organize and host an outdoor classroom at McNary NWR. Each year, approximately 2,000 students participate in hands-on experiential learning stations, including aquatic insects, shrub-steppe habitat, invertebrates, birds and more.

Over 60 local citizens belong to the Friends nonprofit group. If you are interested in joining, contact the Friends at (509) 546-8350 or via email at mcnaryedcenter@gmail.com. You can also visit their web site at friendsofmcrwr.org.