Habitat Restoration, Maintenance and Visitor Services Volunteer


A large flock of pale-colored shorebirds flies low over a beach
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge consists of over 17,000 acres of tidelands, temperate rainforest, ocean beaches, and small streams. It also includes several rare remnants of old growth coastal cedar forest. Preserving habitat for spawning wild salmon, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds...



3888 State Route 101
Ilwaco, WA 98624
United States

Volunteer Position Overview

Volunteers Needed
Recruitment Start Date
Recruitment End Date
Sunday, Friday, Saturday
Training Required
Security Clearance Needed

About This Position

Goal:  To assist the biology, visitor services, and maintenance teams at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Complex by performing a variety of tasks that improve habitat for wildlife and/or welcome visitors ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable experience on their public lands.


The volunteer may perform any of the following tasks:

  • Biology
    • Work with refuge staff and volunteers on restoration projects to conserve our refuge resources which may include planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and other landscape/habitat-oriented tasks that restore habitat
    • Remove invasive plants using hand tools
    • Assist with citizen science projects including Project NestWatch, Waterbird Surveys, Salmon Surveys, and more. Follow established protocol for each program
  • Assist refuge with invasive European green crab trapping in Willapa Bay
  • Maintenance
    • Hike nature trails and remove branches from overhanging trees and shrubs using hand tools
    • Clean-up limbs and debris from trails and road following storm events
    • Weed whip, mow, and trim vegetation along refuge facilities including trails and parking areas using approved equipment
    • Empty trash cans, pick up trash along trails, in parking areas and around other public use facilities
    • Assist with maintenance of refuge facilities. This may include buildings, kiosks, hunting blinds, gates, and vehicles. Typical items include minor repairs, painting, and cleaning/washing  
  • Serve as a regular presence at Cutthroat Creek. This includes speaking with visitors and answering their refuge related questions, assist with maintaining refuge trails and keeping them clean, ensure brochures and port-a-potty are stocked
  • Visitor Services
    • Assist the refuge with set up, take down and hosting at special events such as National Wildlife Refuge Week, trips to Long Island, Wings Over Willapa, Nature Play Days and more
    • Host a table at public events representing the Willapa NWRC, could include Eagle Days, Farmer’s markets, etc.
    • Assist the refuge with its environmental education program, Refuge Explorers, especially during field trips
    • Hike refuge trails or spend time at refuge trailheads and speak with visitors to explain the purpose of the refuge, answer their refuge-related questions, identify wildlife and provide information on the wildlife, habitats, and public use opportunities of the refuge
    • Restock brochures, clean signs, etc.
    • Take photographs for refuge habitat and/or wildlife as requested for use on the refuge website and/or social media account
    • Help protect natural resources and ensure visitor safety by informing visitors of potential safety hazards, reporting safety hazards and instances of lawbreaking to the Refuge Law Enforcement Officer, and attempting to correct minor infractions through interpretation. Volunteers shall not engage in law enforcement actions
    • Report volunteer hours to appropriate Refuge staff monthly


Physical Environment(s) will work on uneven terrain and will be required to walk up/down various elevation gains. Bending over and reaching overhead will be part of normal activities. Daytime temperatures range between 45 to 75 degrees in the summer and 30 to 55 in the winter.  There will occasionally be exposure to direct sun, wind, and rain, without shelter.


  • Be at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver’s license, and complete an online Defense Driving course to operate a government vehicle
  • Be willing to wear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer uniform components which can include a volunteer shirt/vest/or hat and present a positive image of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Provide own transportation to and from the job site
  • Enjoy meeting and working with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Must have patience and tact and able to represent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a professional manner. Ability to work effectively with people with various perspectives and temperaments is vital
  • Ability to understand the purpose of the refuge, its wildlife and visitor services programs, the National Wildlife Refuge System and the location of the refuge lands
  • A desire to treat volunteer service as a serious responsibility
  • Ability to do moderately strenuous, physically demanding jobs for long periods of time such as mowing or weed whipping

Time Commitment:

In exchange for a RV hook-up free of charge, volunteers are required to commit to 80 hours of volunteer service monthly. Couples can work together, but the 80-hour commitment pertains to each volunteer, not collectively as a team. Position is available year-round. Preferred candidates will commit to 6 months or longer.


  • The refuge will provide a gravel pad, picnic table, and 50-amp power for an RV/motorhome at Cutthroat Creek. This is a unit of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge located on the east side of Willapa Bay along U.S. Highway 101
  • The volunteer must provide a fully self-contained motorhome
  • The site does not contain water or sewer, there are state park locations on the Long Beach that have dump stations and water filling opportunities
  • Pets are not allowed
  • There is no wi-fi at this site but there is good cell reception


When needed volunteers will complete safety training provided by refuge staff and review all necessary materials including Job Hazard Assessments for individual tasks as needed.


Conservation Education
Tour Guide/Interpretation
Trail/Campground Maintenance
Visitor Information
Weed/Invasive Species Control

Stories About Volunteering

Little River at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Our Partners
A deepening friendship
The Friends of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge have secured millions of dollars in federal funds to add land to the refuge. With a new refuge visitor center on the horizon, they're expanding their role to support onsite interpretation and recreation.
an aerial view of an eroding coastal bluff on a national wildlife refuge property. Buildings, a parking lot and trees can be seen surrounding the property
Climate Change
At Cape Cod Refuge, Coastal Change Is a Constant
Coastal erosion at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge cost the refuge its headquarters office and forced the Fish and Wildlife Service to make difficult decisions to adapt. But while the landscape changes under their feet, refuge staff remain steady and agile, showing up each day to conserve wildlife.
Malheur NWR_American Avocets_Peter Pearsall.jpg
Our Partners
Two Volunteers Log More Than 20,000 Hours at National Wildlife Refuges
Mark Ackerman and Joyce Atkinson have logged 20,000 hours volunteering at three national wildlife refuges across the country. They help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service achieve its mission – ensuring that future Americans will benefit from the natural resources that define our nation – fish,...
Photo of marbled godwits at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Get Involved
Wild Wings
A selection of stories that highlight wildlife, conservation, education, and community activities at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
A Laysan albatross lies dead on the sand, its stomach filled with plastic debris that it swallowed.
Get Involved
Oceans of Trash
Nearly every seabird on the planet now eats plastic. Fish are eating microplastics — tiny beads found in cosmetics, lotions and toothpaste. Toxic chemicals bind to microplastics, and fish swallow these, too. When we eat the fish, we also swallow the microplastics and the toxins.
Ankeny Hill Nature Center sign in the foreground, the nature center in the background, in a meadow.
Motus: Revolutionizing Data Collection, One Bird at a Time
Some migratory shorebirds fly long distances. We mean really, really long distances. Shorebirds can fly from as far away as South America to the northern end of Alaska in the summer and back again during the winter on a pathway known as the Pacific Flyway. But where do birds fly? How do we know...

Other Ways to Work with Us

Are you looking for something different than a volunteer opportunity? The Fish and Wildlife Service employs around 9,000 people nationwide and offers great internship opportunities every year.