Bluebonnets in a field

Thank you so much for giving your time and skills. Volunteers make a huge difference. Did you realize that in 2019, pre-COVID, volunteers donated the equivalent of seven full time staff members? Amazing! 

If you’re not sure what opportunities exist but want to lend a hand, let us offer some suggestions. Reach out if you want to join us in having fun and helping the refuge. And if you don’t feel you know enough, not to worry, being part of a team on a project, we learn from each other.

    • Trails committee: These stalwart volunteers keep the trails in good shape so visitors can enjoy their day at the refuge. This committee also develops new trails such as the Quarry Canyon Trail that was opened in 2020.  We are mapping new trails on closed tracts on the refuge that will only be accessible via a guided hike with our trained hike leaders.
    • Hike leaders: If you like sharing your love of outdoors with other hikers, this job’s for you! We provide a training course that helps you become familiar with key aspects of the refuge, the local history, birds and other wildlife, geology, water, hiking safety, tracks, etc. We ask for a commitment of leading at least two hikes a year. 
    • Events and activities: Help us decide what events we should host and what topics we should present.  You can help organize an event such as inviting the Austin Astronomical Society to give us a sky tour, a field trip to the Nightengale archaeological dig site, a lesson on birding by ear or on the geology of the hill country, or a talk by experts on reptiles or birds of prey.  We like to offer two events each month.
    • Environmental educational programs for children:  Volunteer to help with school field trips such as Balcones Outdoor Programs, create the next nature activity backpack, or develop a discovery trunk that teaches children about pollinators.
    • Visitor center: Welcome visitors to the Refuge and help them with any questions about trails, directions, what to expect. You could also be an ambassador for the Refuge at Doeskin Ranch or Warbler Vista, helping visitors choose the right hike, introduce them to nature apps, or even just give them directions to local attractions for post-hike activities.
    • Various Friends tasks:  Help with our social media and website, support the Songbird Festival, or contribute photos and articles for our newsletter.  We can always use help with fundraising activities so we can continue to fund projects like the pavilion at Doeskin Ranch, nature activity backpacks, and funding school buses for Title I schools to participate in field trips.

Volunteer moving dirt

volunteer Hours count!!

By voluntarily submitting your hours you help us with valuable data needed for grants and provide statistics for the FRIENDS and FWS that aid in planning for critical services. We appreciate your time and talent. Our year end celebration will use this data to acknowledge your investment by awarding you at significant lifetime milestones. In 2019, our volunteer hours totaled the equivalent of seven full-time staff! This is so very important!

Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners: You can register your hours with your local chapters, tag the activity to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and hours will be accrued to the refuge at the end of each reporting year.  They will also count toward your volunteer hour requirements to maintain your certification.

Other volunteers: Send an email to the Volunteer Coordinator at friends@friendsofbalcones.org. Write "Volunteer" in the subject line. You will receive an email with instructions to login to the Volunteer Information Center (Volgistics). There you can enter your contact information, choose the types of volunteer opportunities which fit your skill and list any activities which you would like to see us provide.  You will use this same program to record your hours in the future.

    VOlunteer event descriptions -- as tracked in Volgistics

    About Us

    The Friends of Balcones Canyonlands NWR is a 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to support the mission of the Refuge in restoring and protecting the habitat. The Friends are committed to building a diverse, vibrant community that appreciates, supports, and connects with nature in a meaningful way.

    Become a Member

    Join the Friends in protecting the wildlife and habitat, and supporting the mission of the Refuge. Start by taking a hike or  attending an event, by watching the seasons change through what’s blooming, or by just watching a hawk soar, or even just sitting still and listening to the songbirds sing. You can have a positive impact. Come find your refuge at the Refuge and join the fun!

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