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.


Volunteers provide their skills and energy by assisting with invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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removal, planting native species, water trail maintenance, putting on special events and other public programs, helping to staff the front desk at the visitor center and more! We invite you to learn from first-hand experiences. By volunteering you will be caring for the Refuge you care about.

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.

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. Learn more about our local partners.

Friends Groups:

Four non-profit friends groups help support refuge activities in each management district. They organize volunteer efforts, put on special events, help with habitat management, fundraise and lobby to support their activities and much more.

  • Friends of the Refuge Headwaters supports the Winona District from Wabasha, Minnesota to La Crosse, Wisconsin. (River Pools 4-6). Email: forhwinona@gmail.com
  • Friends of Refuge - Mississippi River Pools 7 and 8, known as FOR78, supports the La Crosse District and operates the Prairie Wind Nature Store which is located in the La Crosse District Visitor Center. The La Crosse District stretches from Onalaska, Wisconsin to Reno, Minnesota - River Pools 7 and 8. Email: friends@for78.org 
  • Friends of Pool 9 support the McGregor District. Pool 9 stretches From Reno, Minnesota to Lynxville, Wisconsin. Email: fop9sec@gmail.com
  • Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge support the Savanna District. The Savanna District stretches from Dubuque, Iowa to Princeton, Iowa - Pools 12-14. Email: stewardsumrr@gmail.com

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.

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, fish hatchery or other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site, you’re bound to come away with new insights and excitement about conservation.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge hosts Youth Conservation Corps crews during the summer months and various temporary positions through the year to assist with refuge operations. Hard-working teens, ages 15 to18, are invited to apply to this eight-week employment program. Contact the refuge for more information.