The Joys of Volunteering

“Volunteering is the ultimate experience in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” (Anonymous)

By definition, a volunteer is a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking, without pay; but at its heart, volunteers truly shape our world, community by community.

Here, in Pacific County at the Refuge and through the Friends, volunteers teach and inspire youth in our 4th grade Environmental Education program, help maintain trails and restore natural habitats, spread the word about conservation and the environment through KMUN Coast Community Radio’s Willapa Nature Notes and at local public events, bundle up and count birds on a cold December day, pick up trash on our beaches and highways, and more. It is apparent that these individuals care deeply about the kind of community they want to live in and they know their contributions will last for generations to come.

Where would the Friends be without volunteers? The answer is non-existent. As an organization with no paid staff and a “working” volunteer board, they are, quite simply, our lifeblood. And for the Refuge, they are a gift that helps keep projects moving forward in spite of a diminishing budget and staff. In 2017, volunteers contributed 5,300 hours to the Refuge, which is the equivalent of 2.5 full-time positions. Would you like to be a part of these men and women who give so much and get great satisfaction in making a big difference in our community?

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities at the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, contact us at

Can’t volunteer but still want to support us?  Join as a member!

Charlie Pelizza, Friends’ President