Volunteers are key to our ability to support the Refuge in its mission. They work on projects ranging from greeting visitors to the refuge and helping them find the right, best trail to working directly with the refuge staff on key conservation and stewardship projects such as habitat restoration and managing invasive species.
Do you have a special interest or talent? We love having volunteers lead bird walks, photo strolls, or even geology hikes to see what makes the Canyonlands so unique. Do you know how to write grants, write blogs for a website, take great wildlife photos, or even organize events? There’s so many ways you can contribute!
Who do you think builds and maintains all of the trails on the refuge? If you guessed that Friends volunteers did, you would be right. In fact, in 2020 we hacked through ashe juniper, picked up garbage, plotted an interesting path and completed the new Quarry Canyon Trail. We have monthly meet ups of the trail committee to work on different parts of the refuge to maintain the trails such that they are always ready for hikers. It’s a rugged, fun bunch that works hard to make sure your hikes are always fun.
If you like sharing your love of the Refuge with others, we have a hike leadership program that trains hikers on the native plants and animals, geology, history, habitat, hiker safety, and other topics to prepare you to lead interpretive hikes on the Refuge. The course finishes up with an in-the-field practicum, and you’re ready to sign up to lead a hike!
Hikes can be an easy strolls along the creek to more challenging trails on parts of the refuge that are closed to the public. The closed tract hikes can only be seen with one of our trained hike leaders. (Check out our Events page for the latest postings. Hikes are typically offered from October through June.)
Our volunteers also help with public outreach and environmental education programs. We recruit speakers and plan field trips for our members and the general public. (Check out our Events page for the latest postings.) We present nature activities to school children through programs such as the Balcones Outdoor Program and Refuge Week.
Our volunteers also host nature activities with other like-minded organizations like our partner, Candlelight Ranch, which specializes in programs for children with special needs and those classified as at risk, and their families. For example, we lead an activity on bird songs for visually impaired children, ones on ladybugs and being a bird with foster children, and even backyard bass with military families.