Skip to content
For the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) info, check our update.
Information iconA volunteer instructor shares fishing knowhow at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Photo: Lisa Hupp/USFWS)

Discover for yourself what tens of thousands of volunteers have learned: Volunteering at a national wildlife refuge, fish hatchery or other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site is fun and rewarding in many ways. Master new skills. Meet new friends. Enjoy a sense of accomplishment from doing your part to further wildlife conservation for the pleasure of generations to follow.

Explore opportunities at

Hank Timm volunteer and retired tetlin nwr biolgist with tagged canada lynx kittens
Retired refuge biologist Hank Tim, a volunteer at Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, tags Canada lynx kittens. (Photo: USFWS) 

Why volunteer?
There is no single answer. You may want to give back to your community or share your knowledge of nature or passion for the outdoors. Maybe you simply want to serve a worthy cause.

Who can volunteer?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

How do I become a volunteer?
Find opportunities and sign up at or contact your local refuge or fish hatchery or Fish and Wildlife Service site. Find a volunteer service application here (pdf).


fed-ex volunteer day at john Heinz nwr
FedEx employees plant native flowers at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia. (Photo: USFWS)

What can I do as a volunteer?
Volunteers may lead tours, restore habitat, rescue turtles, conduct plant and animal surveys, remove invasive plants or teach elementary school students about the importance of healthy ecosystems. You might help  at refuge events such as bird festivals and kids fishing days. You might help staff a refuge nature store.

Can a group or business volunteer?
You bet. See what some big-name companies are doing: “Company spirit on the refuge”. The Service also partners with other groups, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.


A volunteer from Keep It Public Montana’s Conservation Campout  removes old fence at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo: Patrick Sievert)

What is a volunteer pass and how can I get one?
A one-year volunteer pass provides free access to sites that charge an entry fee.

What are some one-day events on refuges that can I volunteer for? 
National Public Lands Day
Earth Day
Christmas Bird Count
Kids Fishing Days

Do volunteers really make a difference?
See “10,000-Plus Hours and Counting”


Find a Refuge
By Zip Code, by State or by Refuge Name
Information iconVolunteer Juddson Sechrist monitors Yellowstone cutthroat trout at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. (Photo: Jim Mogen)