The Friends are always looking for more volunteers interested in helping with programs. Last year, Friends members volunteered the equivalent number of hours as one full-time refuge employee!
Volunteering adds to a sense of personal ownership in the Refuge System. And while that sense of ownership benefits the refuges and all the plants and animals that reside or migrate there, a personal connection with a refuge benefits volunteers too. Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about the mission and importance of the Refuge.
Schedule now to participate in various Refuge support activities that need your helping hands (and for some projects, your strong backs). While we can’t guarantee perfect weather for these work dates, we can certainly promise a fun time!
The trails on the Refuge need periodic maintenance, to include removing overgrown vegetation, litter and other obstacles. We rotate through the various trails throughout the year, or as needed. Most of the routine trail maintenance involves light physical labor, and tools are provided. Most trail maintenance trips take about two to three hours.
INVASIVE SPECIES REMOVAL
We are also working on long-term efforts to remove invasive plant species like holly, gorse and Scotch broom. Invasive species “parties” involve more intense physical activity for around three hours.
FOURTH GRADE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
Each year, from February through May, Willapa Refuge staff and volunteers from the Friends organization enter the 4th grade classrooms in Pacific County to teach four in-class lessons on the Refuge system, bird identification, habitat, and amphibians. We also take students on a field trip on the Tarlatt Unit of the refuge in late May.
The Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, and two of the special projects we’re involved with, the Wings Over Willapa bird festival and the Willapa Shorebird Stewards, have information booths at local festivals, markets and other events. This is a great opportunity for outreach with both visitors and out-of-towners.
In advance of each activity, we’ll post a general invitation to everyone on our Friends email list (sign up below) and Facebook page with meeting locations and time schedules. Check your calendar now and plan to join us!
For more information on these and other volunteer opportunities, contact the friends here.