A Wild Experience: Refuge Volunteers
Help make a difference! Volunteers play a vital role in helping the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service fulfill its mission of conserving, protecting and enhancing America's fish and wildlife populations and their habitats.
VolunteersVolunteers at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge have always been an integral part of the staff. They have assisted with numerous projects ranging from wildlife inventories to presenting interpretive programs, and their help has been instrumental in the accomplishment of a number of refuge projects and activities.
The St. Marks NWR Volunteer Program seeks to combine the interests of the volunteer with the work needed to be accomplished in order to achieve a productive partnership, one which will ensure the preservation of resources within the refuge.
The program is actually made up of three smaller programs, each adding its own uniqueness to the overall operations of the refuge. The programs are made up of the following: General Volunteers, Resident Volunteers, and Internships. Each program offers hands-on, working experience in the day-to-day activities of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
General Volunteer Program:
This program represents our most critical area of operations. Volunteers perform duties in three areas of refuge operations: Visitor Services Environmental Education Resource Management Visitor Services is a mile-stone in refuge operations.
Volunteers perform many duties such as both formal and informal interpretation, staff the refuge visitor center, provide information to the general public, issue passes and facilitate our general hunt program.
Environmental Education is focused more in its interpretation. Volunteers are trained to lead school groups in activities that are designed to educate the students about the world around them.
Education Volunteers form the back-bone of the refuge's volunteer outreach activities, and as such they must undergo more specialized training than those who only work in visitor services.
Volunteers Resource Management is a broad term that encompasses many different jobs. Volunteers performing resource management duties do a lot of different things. They assist our forestry staff in cruising timber, they assist our wildlife biology staff with wildlife monitoring activities, and they assist our maintenance staff with trail improvements and minor construction projects.
The St. Marks General Volunteer Program has something to offer everybody. Volunteers can choose those activities that they feel will meet their needs even if some of the activities encompass more than just one area of refuge operations. Applications for the general volunteer program are accepted year-round.
Resident Volunteer Program:
This program offers a unique opportunity for recreational vehicle and/or trailer volunteers to live and work at the refuge. It is only open to those volunteer candidates who own their own trailer and/or RV. Volunteers commit to work at the refuge 32 hours a week, for a minimum of thirty days.
In exchange for their services, the refuge provides a full hook-up trailer pad plus access to garbage and laundry facilities. Volunteers perform work in the same area of operations as do our general volunteer staff, i.e. visitor services, environmental education and resource management.
Resident Volunteer positions usually begin by late September and run through the first of May. Applications are accepted year-round.
The Internship Program:
This unique opportunity provides an excellent introductory experience into the operations of a national wildlife refuge. Candidates perform a variety of natural resource management activities and visitor services, and they are introduced to many different facets of managing a wildlife. refuge. This opportunity is available as a full-time position only.
Full-time internships are 40 hours a week, The internships usually run in twelve week increments for a total of three working months; however, this schedule can be amended depending on the needs of the applicant and/or site management. Dorm-style housing and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses ($10/work-day) are available on a limited basis.
- Must be willing to work as a team
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Must be willing to engage in some strenuous activities
- Willingness to speak in front of groups
- Willingness to do some routine administrative tasks (data entry, filling, etc.)
- Basic computer skills, foreign language skills and/or prior forestry experience a plus
Who May Volunteer?
No special skills are needed to be a volunteer at St. Marks NWR. However, on the job training is provided. While there is no age limit, anyone under 18 years must have written parental approval. Organized group participation is welcome and encouraged.
Volunteers are welcome regardless of race, religion, age, gender, nationality, or disability. U.S. citizenship is not required. The only criteria stipulated when considering the above programs is ownership of your own trailer and/or RV when applying for the Resident Volunteer Program.
How to Apply
For an application and more information about any of the above volunteer programs contact the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (850) 925-6121, Tuesday - Friday, 9am - 4pm (Eastern Time Zone) or write: Volunteer Coordinator St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge P.O. Box 68 St. Marks, FL 32355