Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Pacific Southwest Region
Volunteer & Internships
Refuge Hours & Directions

Volunteers and Interns provide much needed assistance with Refuge projects. They are often able to complete work that Refuge staff would be unable to do without them. The hours, work assignments, et cetera are tailored to meet the needs of both the Refuge staff and the volunteer or intern. Refuge housing and a stipend are available to qualified interns and volunteers.

What do Volunteers/Interns do?
Various opportunities exist at the refuge for volunteers/interns to gain valuable and rewarding experience. Volunteers/interns assist Refuge employees by working in such fields as:

Interpretation: Through such activities as nature walks, talks, slide programs and visitor center information duty, volunteers/interns help visitors understand and appreciate both the natural and cultural history of the Refuge as well as provide information on the recreational and educational opportunities available.

Environmental Education: Assisting Environmental Education Specialists with workshops, local fairs, field trips and special projects are a few of the volunteer/intern duties at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.

Resource Management: Qualified individuals may assist wildlife biologists in such areas as wildlife surveys, airboat runs, endangered species monitoring and other projects.

Maintenance: Volunteers/Interns may help Refuge employees in general tasks such as landscape maintenance, sign installation, gate painting, construction and routine vehicle maintenance.

Native Plant Nursery: Volunteers/Interns germinate seeds, propagate cuttings, transplant seedlings, prune, fertilize and water plants, and plant and nurture new native plants in the field as part of the Refuge's habitat restoration mission.

Why do people become volunteers?
Volunteers realize various benefits from working at the Refuge. Being involved with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency dedicated to the principle of resource conservation, is both satisfying and rewarding. Others find the duties fulfilling and challenging as old talents are employed and new skills acquired. To most, however, the motive is enjoyment, as volunteer work can be just plain fun.

Who may apply?
Our volunteer program is open to all. Those under 18 years of age, however, need written permission from their parent or guardian.

How do you apply?
For further information or to receive an application, contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator at 760-348-5278.

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How do I become an Intern?
The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge maintains a year round intern program, offering qualified individuals the opportunity to gain experience in the fields of wildlife biology, environmental education or visitor services. For periods of time varying from 12 weeks to a year, interns reside at the Refuge and earn a monthly living allowance. Detailed position descriptions and the application process are provided by the Student Conservation Association. For more information, call 603-543-1700 or browse the SCA website at For preliminary questions about the intern program, contact the Refuge SCA Coordinator at 760-348-5278.

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Last updated: May 20, 2011