Montana Master Naturalist Volunteer Service Opportunities

The goal of volunteer service is to improve local communities by improving natural areas and educating people about Montana’s natural environment. Master Naturalists are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training each calendar year to maintain their certification.

Spring Recertification Deadline:  May 15th
Summer Recertification Deadline:  July 1st
Fall Recertification Deadline:  November 1st

SUBMIT YOUR HOURS HERE>>

Criteria for Montana Master Naturalist volunteer service

The activity needs to:

  • relate to Montana’s natural or environmental cultural history
  • occur in Montana
  • be sponsored by an organization
  • be unpaid

Each volunteer service activity should fit under one of the four categories:  Stewardship, Education/Intepretation, Citizen Science, or Program Support.

Stewardship includes natural resource management activities.  Examples include:

  • Leading an invasive species removal project
  • Helping develop a school forest management plan
  • Assisting with restoration (collecting native seeds, planting native species)
  • Improving trails to reduce erosion

Education/Interpretation includes the presentation and development of educational materials.  Examples include:

  • Assisting in teaching visitors about wildflowers at a nature center
  • Leading or assisting with a natural history hike
  • Creating a brochure for a natural area
  • Assisting with an environmental education program for a school group (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, church group, etc.)

Citizen Science involves volunteers assisting with scientific research.  These projects usually involve gathering data and returning it to researchers.  Examples include:

  • Assisting with any kind of natural history/biological survey
  • Assisting with the Christmas Bird Count
  • Collecting monarch larval monitoring data
  • Monitoring water quality or macroinvertebrates
  • Collecting frog data for Frogwatch USA

Program Support projects include working in a store or office of the Montana Master Naturalist Program or a sponsoring organization of that program, or serving as a local chapter organizer.  Examples include:

  • Preparing mailings
  • Answering phones
  • Computer work
  • Organizing a digital library

Examples that would NOT be included as Montana Master Naturalist volunteer service:

  • Counting turtle eggs in Costa Rica
  • Cleaning cat cages at the humane shelter
  • Maintaining a private plant nursery
  • Collecting phenology data at your cabin that is not reported to an organized group

Where to find volunteer service opportunities:  Please see below for Montana opportunities!

For a listing of nationwide projects, click here.>>

For advanced training information, please click here. >>

Stewardship

Blackfoot Challenge, Ovando.    www.blackfootchallenge.org
Contact:  406.793.3900 or info@blackfootchallenge.org
Volunteer opportunities:  Educate on topics such as conserving water and habitat in the Blackfood Watershed.

Five Valleys Land Trust, Missoula.   http://www.fvlt.org/
Contact: Meredith Printz, Office Manager & Outreach Coordinator, at 406.549.0755 or office@fvlt.org.
Volunteer opportunities:  Hands on the Land (hands-on restoration and conservation projects), general office help, annual banquet assistance.

Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests, Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Hamilton. http://bitterrootrcd.org/healthykidshealthyforests.htm
Contact: Janeen Curtis, Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests Coordinator, at 406.381.2951 or janeen_rcd@yahoo.com.
Volunteer opportunities: Assist in leading groups of youth in public lands stewardship projects within the Bitterroot Valley such as campground cleanups, tree planting, trail work, weed pulls, etc.

Missoula Restoration Volunteers, Missoula. http://groups.google.com/group/missoula-restoration
Contact: Marilyn Marler at marilyn.marler@mso.umt.edu
Volunteer opportunities: Native grassland restoration, seed collection, education and more!

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula.   www.fwp.mt.gov/r2/default.html
Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Education Program Manager, at 406.542.5518 or vcrowser@fs.gov
Volunteer opportunities: Lead tours and provide information to school groups and other visitors, fight invasive species, help with special projects, conduct fish and wildlife population surveys, and more.

Montana Native Plant Society, Missoula/Bozeman/Helena/Columbia Falls/Glen/Medicine Lake.   www.mtnativeplants.org/1
Contact: Karen Shelly, Vice President, at kmshelly@msn.com

Montana Native Plant Society – Clark Fork Chapter, Missoula: www.mtnativeplants.org/25
Contact: Mike at researchym@montana.com
Volunteer opportunities: Educate the public about the values of our native flora. Get involved with the water-wise plant garden and the herbarium at UM.

Montana Raptor Conservation Center, Bozeman.  www.montanaraptor.org
Contact: Fill out the online volunteer application and email it to Volunteer@MontanaRaptor.org.
Volunteer Opportunities:  Assist in the office with everything from data entry to filing & organizing; assist with publicity and communications–writing articles, coordinating education programs, developing relationships with media outlets; assist with transportation of raptors–recovering them from the field, moving them from site to site, and maintaining the transport cages.

Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula, Missoula.
Contact:   Christine Morris, Community Programs Coordinator, at 406.327.0405 or cmorris@montananaturalist.org.
Volunteer opportunities:  The Native Plant Garden is a native plant teaching garden located along the Bitterroot River at historic Fort Missoula.  You can assist with garden planting, maintenance, or greenhouse work; help lead children’s games and activities; give guided hikes and tours; help develop educational materials and more.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula.   www.rmef.org
Contact: Jory Dellinger, Regional Director, at 406.493.6849 or jdellinger@rmef.org
Volunteer opportunities: Elk/wildlife habitat restoration, elk population surveys, various aspects of education.

Northwest Connections, Swan Valley.    www.northwestconnections.org
Contact:  406.754.3185 or info@northwestconnections.org
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wildlands volunteer corps, resident trackers, and more!

Teller Wildlife Refuge, Bitterroot Valley.  www.tellerwildlife.org
Contact: Lauren Rennaker at 961-3507 or lauren@tellerwildlife.org
Volunteer Opportunities: Teller Wildlife Refuge (“Teller”) is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization in Corvallis, Montana with a mission “to inspire, educate and demonstrate conservation in action.” At Teller, we are stewards of the land with a primary responsibility to restore, enhance and manage our 1,200 richly diverse acres for the benefit of fish and wildlife. Each volunteer plays an important role in fulfilling this mission. Volunteers may assist with habitat enhancement projects, events, landscape maintenance and our educational programs, such as our new youth summer camp.

Education/Interpretation

Bitterroot Audubon, Hamilton.   www.bitterrootaudubon.org
Contact:  Fill out the form on their website>>
Volunteer opportunities:  Assist with the Important Bird Area program, conduct bird surveys, participate in the Christmas Bird Count.

Blackfoot Challenge, Ovando.    www.blackfootchallenge.org
Contact:  406.793.3900 or info@blackfootchallenge.org
Volunteer opportunities:  Educate on topics such as conserving water and habitat in the Blackfood Watershed.

Clark Fork Watershed Education Network, Missoula/Butte.     www.cfwep.org
Contact: Arlene Alvarado, Field Coordinator, at 406.496.4832 or aalvarado@mtech.edu
Volunteer opportunities: Organize and carry out field trips and educational events, mentor students, and develop research and monitoring programs for participating schools.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Helena.
Contact: Laurie Evarts, Education Program Manager, at 406.444.1229
Volunteer opportunities:  Animal care (requires long-term commitment; includes feeding and cage-cleaning); maintenance (repairing, organizing); construction (currently FWP needs someone to design and build a sturdy jungle gym for the black bear enclosure); administrative assistance (filing, phones, general office help); special events; nature walks; kids’ programs.

Five Valleys Audubon, Missoula.   www.fvamissoula.org
Contact: Larry Weeks, Education & Field Activities Committee, at 406.549.5632 or bwsgenea@onlinemt.com
Volunteer opportunities: Bird-watching trips, education in schools.

Glacial Lake Missoula Society, Missoula.    www.iafi.org/missoula.html
Contact: Jim Shelden, President, at 406.728.1860 or james.shelden@bresnan.net
Volunteer opportunities: Geology and natural history education.

Great Bear Foundation, Missoula.   www.greatbear.org
Contact: Monica Best, Office Manager, at 406.829.9378 or gbf@greatbear.org

GUTS–Girls Using Their Strengths, Missoula.     www.ywcaofmissoula.org
Contact: Jen Euell, Program Director,  at 406.543.6691 or jeuell@ywcaofmissoula.org
Volunteer opportunities: Community-based leadership and empowerment program designed by and for young women.

Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests, Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Hamilton.  http://bitterrootrcd.org/healthykidshealthyforests.htm
Contact: Janeen Curtis, Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests Coordinator, at 406.381.2951 or janeen_rcd@yahoo.com.
Volunteer opportunities: Assist with leading/teaching science and nature activities during school field trips, classroom programs and summer youth programs in the Bitterroot Valley.

International Wildlife Media Center & Film Festival, Missoula.     www.wildlifefilms.org
Contact: 406.728.9380 or iwff@wildlifefilms.org
Volunteer opportunities:  EdPack curriculum production, general festival preparation, EarthVision media library and archive, Montana Film Academy assistance, Focus on Films, IWFF (judging, sales, events staff, etc.), Montana CINE International (judging, registration, poster distribution).

Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville. www.fws.gov/leemetcalf
Contact: 406.777.5552 or LeeMetcalf@fws.gov
Volunteer opportunities: Environmental education, hunter safety education, Bitterroot Birding Festival

Missoula County Weed District, Missoula.   www.missoulaeduplace.org
Contact:  Steffany Rogge-Kindseth , at 406.258.4211 or steffany@missoulaeduplace.org
Volunteer opportunities: co-lead native plant/weed ID hikes, as well as classroom and informal presentations.

Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA), Missoula.   www.missoulaoutdoors.com
Contact: Porter Hammitt, Program Director, at 406.240.2458 or info@missoulaoutdoors.com
Volunteer opportunities: Outdoor education programs for all seasons and all ages, with an emphasis on youth featuring outdoor recreation, youth programs, group development, and local history culture.

Missoula Restoration Volunteers, Missoula. http://groups.google.com/group/missoula-restoration
Contact: Marilyn Marler at marilyn.marler@mso.umt.edu
Volunteer opportunities: Native grassland restoration, seed collection, education and more!

Montana Audubon, Helena/Corvallis. www.mtaudubon.org/education/index.html
Contact: Heather Ristow, Education Director, at 406.294.5099 or hristow@mtaudubon.org
Volunteer opportunities: Birds Beyond Borders, Community Naturalist Program, place-based education and more.
**To volunteer with the Global Warming Campaign, contact Amy at 406.465.1141 or amy@mtaudubon.org.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula.   www.fwp.mt.gov/r2/default.html
Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Education Program Manager, at 406.542.5518 or vcrowser@fs.gov
Volunteer opportunities: Lead tours and provide information to school groups and other visitors, fight invasive species, help with special projects, conduct fish and wildlife population surveys, and more.

Montana Native Plant Society, Missoula/Bozeman/Helena/Columbia Falls/Glen/Medicine Lake.   www.mtnativeplants.org/1
Contact: Karen Shelly, Vice President, at kmshelly@msn.com

Montana Native Plant Society – Clark Fork Chapter, Missoula: www.mtnativeplants.org/25
Contact: Mike at researchym@montana.com
Volunteer opportunities: Educate the public about the values of our native flora. Get involved with the water-wise plant garden and the herbarium at UM.

Montana Natural History Center (MNHC), Missoula.    www.montananaturalist.org
Contact: Allison De Jong, Volunteer Coordinator, at 406.327.0405 or adejong @ montananaturalist.org
Volunteer opportunities: Visiting Naturalist in the Schools Program, Center Visits, Saturday Kids’ Activities, special events, auction assistance,  exhibit and program development.

Montana Trout Unlimited, statewide.    www.montanatu.org
Contact: Kate Grant, Program Administrator, at 406.543.0054 or kate@montanatu.org
Volunteer opportunities: Conservation, protection, and restoration project potential.

Montana Trout Unlimited – West Slope Chapter, Missoula.   www.westslopetu.org/wscms/
Contact: Michael Willett, Chapter President – go to the contact form on the website.
Volunteer opportunities: Conservation projects, education/instructional projects, promotional activities, chapter management, and advocacy.

Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula, Missoula.
Contact:   Christine Morris, Community Programs Coordinator, at 406.327.0405 or cmorris@montananaturalist.org.
Volunteer opportunities:  The Native Plant Garden is a native plant teaching garden located along the Bitterroot River at historic Fort Missoula.  You can assist with garden planting, maintenance, or greenhouse work; help lead children’s games and activities; give guided hikes and tours; help develop educational materials and more.

PEAS Farm, Garden City Harvest, Missoula.   www.gardencityharvest.org/programs/farm.html
Contact: 406.523.3663 or gardencityharvest@gmail.com
Volunteer opportunities: Educate schools about local, sustainable, organic gardening, and conduct tours of the PEAS Farm.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula.   www.rmef.org
Contact: Jory Dellinger, Regional Director, at 406.493.6849 or jdellinger@rmef.org
Volunteer opportunities: Elk/wildlife habitat restoration, elk population surveys, various aspects of education.

Sacajawea Audubon, Bozeman.   www.sacajaweaaudubon.org
Contact:  John Parker (Field Trip Coordinator, Christmas Bird Count) at 406.586.5863 or conundrum@imt.net or Lou Ann Harris (mountain bluebird banding) at montlou@earthlink.net.
Volunteer opportunities:  Monitoring 100+ mountain bluebird boxes in the spring/summer; Christmas Bird Counts in December in Bozeman, Livingston, Three Forks, and Ennis; leading field trips throughout the year.

Swan Valley Ecosystem Center, Seeley Lake.   www.swanecosystemcenter.com
Contact: 406.754.3137 or 406.754.3138 or swanec@blackfoot.net
Volunteer opportunities: Serve on committees, help with educational programs, and participate in monitoring activities that integrate scholarship with local knowledge and create opportunities for interaction among agencies, industry, universities, and the public.

Teller Wildlife Refuge, Bitterroot Valley.  www.tellerwildlife.org
Contact: Lauren Rennaker at 961-3507 or lauren@tellerwildlife.org
Volunteer Opportunities: Teller Wildlife Refuge (“Teller”) is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization in Corvallis, Montana with a mission “to inspire, educate and demonstrate conservation in action.” At Teller, we are stewards of the land with a primary responsibility to restore, enhance and manage our 1,200 richly diverse acres for the benefit of fish and wildlife. Each volunteer plays an important role in fulfilling this mission. Volunteers may assist with habitat enhancement projects, events, landscape maintenance and our educational programs, such as our new youth summer camp.

Traveler’s Rest State Park, Lolo.    www.travelersrest.org
Contact: Loren Flynn, Program Director, at 406.273.4253 or info@travelersrest.org
Volunteer opportunities: Various educational programs including Junior Naturalist, Native American Games, and Lewis & Clark history.

Watershed Education Network (WEN), Missoula.   www.montanawatershed.org
Contact: Deb Fassnacht, Program Director, at 406.541.9287 or deb@montanawatershed.org
Volunteer opportunities: Stream monitoring field trips with schools.

Citizen Science

Avian Science Center, University of Montana, Missoula.   http://avianscience.dbs.umt.edu/
Contact:  Kristina Smucker, Assistant Director, at 406.243.2035 or kristina.smucker@mso.umt.edu
Volunteer opportunities:  Flammulated owl studies, point count surveys, and restoration monitoring.

Bitterroot Audubon, Hamilton.   www.bitterrootaudubon.org
Contact:  Fill out the form on their website>>
Volunteer opportunities:  Assist with the Important Bird Area program, conduct bird surveys, participate in the Christmas Bird Count.

Five Valleys Audubon Society, Missoula.   http://fvamissoula.org
Contact: Pat Little, 406.493.1745 or roughleg@gmail.com.
Volunteer opportunities: Bird monitoring in Missoula and surrounding areas.

Montana Audubon, statewide.   www.mtaudubon.org
Contact:  Amy Cilimburg, Director of Bird Conservation, at 406.465.1141 or amy@mtaudubon.org.
Volunteer opportunities:  Assist with the Christmas Bird Count (click HERE for dates and contact info); assist with the Important Bird Area Program (click HERE for more information); nightjar & flammulated owl surveys (click HERE for more information); and several other projects (click HERE for a complete list.)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Missoula.   www.fwp.mt.gov/r2/default.html
Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Education Program Manager, at 406.542.5518 or vcrowser@fs.gov
Volunteer opportunities: Lead tours and provide information to school groups and other visitors, fight invasive species, help with special projects, conduct fish and wildlife population surveys, and more.

Northwest Connections, Swan Valley.    www.northwestconnections.org
Contact:  406.754.3185 or info@northwestconnections.org
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wildlands volunteer corps, resident trackers, and more!

Project Budburst, Missoula and nationwide.  http://www.budburst.org/
Contact:   Sign up online>>
Volunteer opportunities:  Gather and report valuable environmental and climate change information by doing phenological investigations in your geographical area.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula.   www.rmef.org
Contact: Jory Dellinger, Regional Director, at 406.493.6849 or jdellinger@rmef.org
Volunteer opportunities: Elk/wildlife habitat restoration, elk population surveys, various aspects of education.

Sacajawea Audubon, Bozeman.   www.sacajaweaaudubon.org
Contact:  Lou Ann Harris (mountain bluebird banding) at montlou@earthlink.net OR John Parker (Christmas Bird Counts, Field Trips) at 406.586.5863 or conundrum@imt.net.
Volunteer opportunities:  Monitoring 100+ mountain bluebird boxes in the spring/summer; Christmas Bird Counts in December in Bozeman, Livingston, Three Forks, and Ennis; leading field trips throughout the year.  A year-round opportunity is regular bird counts at two different Important Bird Areas (IBAs):  1) Madison Valley IBA near Ennis; for more information, contact Paulette Epple at 406.580.6186 or bigskyepples@msn.com.  2)  Headwaters State Park near Three Forks; for more information, contact Annie Sisk at 406.285.6596 or rmr605@hotmail.com.

Swan Valley Ecosystem Center, Seeley Lake.   www.swanecosystemcenter.com
Contact: 406.754.3137 or 406.754.3138 or swanec@blackfoot.net
Volunteer opportunities: Serve on committees, help with educational programs, and participate in monitoring activities that integrate scholarship with local knowledge and create opportunities for interaction among agencies, industry, universities, and the public.

Watershed Education Network (WEN), Missoula.   www.montanawatershed.org
Contact: 406.541.9287 or water@montanawatershed.org
Volunteer opportunities: Stream monitoring field trips with schools.

Wilderness Institute, University of Montana, Missoula.   www.cfc.umt.edu/WI/
Contact:  406.243.5361 or wi@cfc.umt.edu
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wilderness monitoring with volunteers and students with the summer Volunteer for Wilderness program, research on volunteers and volunteer experiences, and outreach and exchange on citizen science.

Wild Rockies Field Institute, University of Montana, Missoula.   www.wrfi.net
Contact:  406.549.4336 or wrfi@wrfi.net

Program Support

Contact any of the organizations above for specific opportunities.