Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, build your resume, and use your skills and knowledge to benefit your local Refuges. Check our calendar to see all the upcoming work days, trainings, and hikes.
Our current volunteer opportunities include:
- Habitat Restoration: Is your idea of fun playing in the dirt while watching incredible wildlife? It is for our habitat restoration volunteers. Projects include removing non-native plants, planting native plants, and caring for these plants until they are fully established. Thousands of native trees and shrubs have been planted throughout the Refuge by volunteers and to increase their survival we need to maintain the plantings. We work closely with Refuge staff to create restoration projects for the public to help accomplish. Monday mornings and each 3rd Saturday of the month volunteers are out working on the refuge to improve habitat for native plants and wildlife.
- Outreach: Share your love and enthusiasm for the Refuge and wildlife with the public! Encourage people to visit the Refuge while at public events like the Recycled Arts Festival and Camas Days, or welcome and educate visitors at the Gibbons Creek Trailhead.
- Trail Stewards: Walk the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail and talk to visitors while enjoying the serenity of the Refuge. Volunteers are often the only contact visitors have to ask questions and share their stories while at the Refuge. There will be an annual Naturalist Training in April for interested individuals that will cover Refuge information such as history, management, wildlife identification/biology, public use, volunteering, the Refuge Stewards, and rules and regulations.
- Nursery: Do you have a green thumb? We have a simple nursery near the Refuge office to grow native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that will be planted throughout the Gorge Refuges. We would also like to explore the possibility of having interested people in the community grow plants at their homes. If you enjoy gardening or landscaping, or are interested in native plants, we could use your help ensuring that we have an appropriate supply of plants for volunteers to plant on the Refuges.
- Invasive Plant Control: Groups and individuals mow, cut, pull and haul non-native plants such Himalayan blackberry, English ivy, Yellow flag iris, Tansy ragwort, and others. Work will take place throughout the year, although most will take place at key times during the growing season when plants are most vulnerable and before setting seed.
- The Refuge also needs people interested in becoming or already are Certified Herbicide Applicators. Some areas on the refuges are not feasible to control manually so occasionally we are required to apply FWS approved herbicides. The refuge will pay for training material and fees for interested individuals to obtain a Washington State Pesticide Applicator Public Operator’s license. In exchange for training, applicators will repay at least 10 hours per year in applicator time, in addition to study and test time. Volunteers must pass three tests given the Washington Department of Agriculture in Olympia to become licensed.
- Invasive Plant Hunters: We train a limited number of individuals as needed to identify and map target invasive plant species. Plant hunters survey refuge lands (including areas closed to the general public), locate and record the location of invasive plants for early detection and rapid response to help prevent the spread of non-native invaders. Work must take place at key times of year when plants are most visible during flowering. Volunteers must be able to work independently, find their positions on maps, and negotiate uneven ground and possibly wetland terrain on foot. Ability to use GPS is a plus, but not required. We will provide training and equipment.
- Environmental Education: We currently do not offer an Environmental Education program, however we are asked by several school groups to participate in activities throughout the year. This is a perfect time for college students looking for experience, or retired educators to share their knowledge. The Refuge Complex offers annual Naturalist Trainings in April to gain experience and knowledge of the Refuges in the lower Columbia.
- Biological surveys: Occasionally the Refuge Biologist asks for volunteers to do wildlife and plant surveys and water quality monitoring. We would like to develop a pool of trained volunteers who can help with these surveys.
- Projects to be Determined: If you have a special talent that you’d like to share, but don’t see an opportunity listed here, let us know!
If you would like to volunteer or have questions, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Jared, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 360-835-8767. Please include your interests and your availability.