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Nancy, a volunteer, attends the 2011 grand opening of our Caribbean offices in Boquerón, Puerto Rico. Photo by USFWS.

Volunteer for Southeastern Wildlife

Volunteers help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with almost everything we do. From wildlife monitoring to leading school programs or maintaining trails, our volunteers make it happen. In addition, volunteering has been proven to provide benefits to your mental and physical health!

Volunteering with us is also a great way to engage with your local community while making a positive difference for American wildlife and habitats. Most of our stations and a variety of our projects need volunteers, so if you have the desire to help, then we need you!

A biologist taking notes in the field.
A volunteer takes notes while working with North Carolina biologists in a southern Appalachian bog. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

Get started

  1. Visit the National Volunteer Database to search and apply for current opportunities.
  2. Contact the refuge, hatchery or station with the opportunity that interests you to get more information, or to introduce yourself after you’ve applied.
  3. Discuss your skills, talents, experience, abilities, and passions with the staff.
  4. Get an idea for their needs, expectations, and how you can best prepare for your new role.
A volunteer holding up a worm while planting trees with a young girl.
Josayra and Allannys, volunteers, find a worm as they dig to plant an endangered tree at the Puerto Rico Zoo. Photo by Lilibeth Serrano, USFWS.

Types of volunteers

Local volunteers

Volunteering at your hometown refuge, fish hatchery or station is a great place to begin. Search the National Volunteer Database for opportunities in your community.

Resident volunteers

“RVs” are volunteers who spend time stationed in designated areas at national wildlife refuges or hatcheries by providing their own living accommodations, such as a recreational vehicle or van.

The host station provides a variety of support amenities, usually including a pad with septic, water and electricity hook-ups. These volunteers set up “housing-keeping” on the refuge or hatchery for a predetermined length of time and contribute a predetermined number of hours of volunteer service each week.

Distance volunteers

Perhaps there’s not a refuge or hatchery near you, but you still want to help make a difference. Distance volunteers work on jobs that can be done remotely. Much of the work is web-based such as:

  • Regularly checking specific sets of web pages for outdated information and broken links.
  • Assisting with marketing special programs or events by finding appropriate/related web sites and requesting they provide a link to our sites.
A volunteer holds a tiny crab so a visitor can snap a photo.
A volunteer at Wassaw National Wildlfie Refuge in Georgia holds a crab for a student. Photo by Garry Tucker, USFWS.

Tips for volunteers

  1. Safety first. Be sure to clearly outline any special limitations or needs you may have. Bring any materials you may need for your job, like water or sunblock.
  2. Have a positive attitude and be a team player. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  3. Keep an open mind about volunteer opportunities. The willingness to help out in a variety of areas (within your physical capability) is what makes a star volunteer. These are the volunteers that come to mind when special opportunities arise.
  4. Get outside of your comfort zone. Taking on volunteer work is great way to develop new interests, skills and friends.
  5. Join a Friends Group. Most refuges and hatcheries have a Friends Group. Volunteers have a vested interest in the refuge or hatchery and make great members for these support groups.
  6. Have fun!

Contact Us:

Looking for a media contact? Reach out to a regional spokesperson.

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