Montana Master Naturalist Volunteer Service Opportunities

The goal of volunteer service is to improve local communities by improving natural areas and educating people of all ages about Montana’s natural environment. Many communities and organizations rely on such citizen volunteers for implementing youth education programs; for operating parks, nature centers, and natural areas; and for providing leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts. In fact, a short supply of dedicated and well-informed volunteers is often cited as a limiting factor for community-based conservation efforts. Our Montana Master Naturalists help fill that gap, sharing their knowledge, curiosity, and expertise, giving thousands of hours a year to their communities. Master Naturalists are required to complete 40 hours of volunteer service and 8 hours of continuing education 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
  • Helping maintain a community native plant garden

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/interpreting biological data for any number of projects through SciStarter, Zooniverse, or other local or nationwide projects

Program Support projects include working in a store or office of the Montana Master Naturalist Program or other conservation/environmental organizations. 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 continuing education information, please click here.

Stewardship

Blackfoot Challenge, Ovando.    www.blackfootchallenge.org
Contact:  406.793.3900 or fill out their online contact form.
Volunteer opportunities:  Serve on one of several committees, educate on topics such as conserving water and habitat in the Blackfoot Watershed.

Five Valleys Land Trust, Missoula.   http://www.fvlt.org/
Contact: Fill out the volunteer interest form here.
Volunteer opportunities:  Hands on the Land (hands-on restoration and conservation projects), general office help, annual banquet assistance.

Freedom Gardens, Frenchtown. http://www.freedomgardens.us/
Contact: freedomgardensMT@gmail.com or 406.396.5147.
Volunteer opportunities: Weekly Tuesday volunteer nights during the summer months. Each week there is a lesson/discussion on a weekly topic and then volunteers get into gardening and hands-on learning. Past topics have included attracting native pollinators, plant interaction and competition, and how to extend your gardening season. There are also various other workshops and work days, so there are lots of opportunities to get involved.

Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests, Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Hamilton. http://bitterrootrcd.org/healthykidshealthyforests.htm
Contact: Karin Mayn, Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests Coordinator, at  406.381.3574 or karin.hkhf@gmail.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.

Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville.  www.fws.gov/leemetcalf
Contact: Fill out the online application and send to Bob Danley at bob_danley@fws.gov, or call 406.777.5552.
Volunteer opportunities: Assist in visitor center, help with maintenance duties (checking hiking trails, cleaning up trash, landscaping), develop educational materials, catalog visitor center collections, conduct plant and animal surveys, remove noxious weeds, monitor nest boxes, and more.

Montana Audubon, Helena and Billings (and statewide). www.mtaudubon.org
Contact: Visit the volunteer page for links to/contacts for specific opportunities.
Volunteer opportunities: Youth education programs, community outreach, administration, gardening and landscape, citizen science projects, assisting with annual Wings Across the Big Sky Festival, assisting with various volunteer needs for local chapters.

Montana Audubon Center, Billings.  www.mtaudubon.org/center
Contact: Fill out the online volunteer information form or contact Carolyn Sevier at 406.294.5099 or csevier@mtaudubon.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Fledglings Nature Preschool, youth education programs, gardening and landscape, community outreach, special events, maintenance, administration.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, statewide.   http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/employment/volunteers.html
Contact: Dependent upon your interests – check specific opportunities on the FWP website for more information and who to contact.
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, serve as a state park host, staff hunter check stations, teach fishing or hunter education, help rehabilitate wild animals at the Montana Wildlife Center, and more.

Montana Native Plant Society, Missoula/Bozeman/Helena/Columbia Falls/Glen/Medicine Lake.   www.mtnativeplants.org/1
Contact: Gretchen Rupp, President, at beesgrmt@gmail.com.

Montana Native Plant Society – Clark Fork Chapter, Missoula: http://www.mtnativeplants.org/Clark_Fork
Contact: Annie Garde, President, at anniegarde@yahoo.com, or visit their Facebook page for upcoming opportunities and events.
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, and help with various other projects around the community.

Montana Raptor Conservation Center, Bozeman.  www.montanaraptor.org
Contact: Fill out the volunteer application on the volunteer page and email it to info@montanaraptor.org.
Volunteer Opportunities:  Assist with identifying and writing grants; use your artistic talents to create posters for events and other art works for promotion and fundraising; make handmade items from leather hoods to wooden perches; assist with transportation of raptors–recovering them from the field, moving them from site to site, and maintaining the transport cages.

Montana Trout Unlimited, statewide.    www.montanatu.org
Contact: Email info@montanatu.org or call 406.543.0054.
Volunteer opportunities: Conservation, protection, and restoration projects; contacting legislators; serving on the board of directors.

Montana Wilderness Association, statewide. www.wildmontana.org
Contact:  Kassia Randzio at krandzio@wildmontana.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Lead a wilderness walk, build the Continental Divide Trail, get involved with your local field office, join the state council, help with the annual gathering, and much more!

Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula, Missoula. www.montananaturalist.org/fort-missoula-native-plant-gardens
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: Fill out the online form!
Volunteer opportunities: Elk/wildlife habitat restoration, elk population surveys, various aspects of education.

Swan Valley Connections, Condon.   www.swanvalleyconnections.org
Contact: 406.754.3137 or info@swanvalleyconnections.org
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wildlands volunteer corps, resident trackers, and more!

Teller Wildlife Refuge, Bitterroot Valley.  www.tellerwildlife.org
Contact: Fill out the volunteer interest form and send to mainoffice@tellerwildlife.org or call 406.961.3507.
Volunteer Opportunities: Teller Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization in Corvallis, Montana with a mission “to inspire, educate and demonstrate conservation in action.” The Teller volunteer program is looking for people like you. Join a dynamic group of people who care about conservation, and participate in activities that directly benefit fish and wildlife habitat in the Bitterroot Valley. Whether you want to work outside and get your hands dirty, help make our events a success, become a lead project volunteer, or assist with office administration, we have opportunities for your talents and skills!

Traveler’s Rest State Park, Lolo.    www.travelersrest.org
Contact: Fill out a Montana State Parks volunteer application or just mention your interest on the Traveler’s Rest contact us form.
Volunteer opportunities: Visitor Center assistant, roving interpreter, education program assistant, special events volunteer, naturalist, maintenance worker, board member.

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 fill out their online contact form.
Volunteer opportunities:  Serve on one of several committees, educate on topics such as conserving water and habitat in the Blackfoot Watershed.

Clark Fork Watershed Education Network, Missoula/Butte.     www.cfwep.org
Contact: Abby Peltomaa, Program Coordinator, at 406.496.4790 or apeltomaa@mtech.edu.
Volunteer opportunities: CFWEP volunteers have the opportunity to work directly with students and teachers in the Upper Clark Fork Basin. Volunteers help run field trips and educational events, mentor students, and develop research and monitoring programs for participating schools.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, statewide.   http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/employment/volunteers.html
Contact: Dependent upon your interests – check specific opportunities on the FWP website for more information and who to contact.
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, serve as a state park host, staff hunter check stations, teach fishing or hunter education, help rehabilitate wild animals at the Montana Wildlife Center, and more.

Five Valleys Audubon, Missoula.  www.fvaudubon.org
Contact: Fill out the online form or contact Jim Brown at 406.549.8052.
Volunteer opportunities: Bird surveys in the Missoula and Ninemile Valleys. Novice birders welcome!

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

GUTS!–Girls Using Their Strengths, Missoula.     www.ywcaofmissoula.org
Contact: Tabby Espinoza, GUTS! Program Director,  at 406.543.6691 or tespinoza@ywcaofmissoula.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Volunteers in the GUTS! program work to provide a safe and supportive environment for young women to discover who they are and what skills and talents they can offer the community. Upon completion of six hours of training, GUTS! volunteers lead outdoor summer adventures, facilitate action groups through out the school year, and help out with community adventures all year long. 

Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests, Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Hamilton. http://bitterrootrcd.org/healthykidshealthyforests.htm
Contact: Karin Mayn, Healthy Kids ~ Healthy Forests Coordinator, at  406.381.3574 or karin.hkhf@gmail.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.

International Wildlife Film Festival, Missoula.     www.wildlifefilms.org
Contact: 406.728.9380 or iwff@wildlifefilms.org
Volunteer opportunities:  Help with festival promotion, staff the box office, sell concessions, usher, help with WildFest and WildWalk, assist with setup and cleanup for parties, serve as one of the community judges in February to help choose films, and more!

Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville.  www.fws.gov/leemetcalf
Contact: Fill out the online application and send to Bob Danley at bob_danley@fws.gov, or call 406.777.5552.
Volunteer opportunities: Assist in visitor center, help with maintenance duties (checking hiking trails, cleaning up trash, landscaping), develop educational materials, catalog visitor center collections, conduct plant and animal surveys, remove noxious weeds, monitor nest boxes, and more.

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 Insectarium, Missoula.  www.missoulabutterflyhouse.org
Contact: Fill out the online volunteer application.
Volunteer opportunities: Assist with educational programming (field trips, special events, encounter cart), help with animal care, provide behind-the-scenes support (social media assistance, stuffing envelopes, construction projects, and more).

Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA), Missoula.   www.missoulaoutdoors.com
Contact: Porter Hammitt, Program Director, at 406.240.2458 or porter@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.

Montana Audubon, Helena and Billings (and statewide). www.mtaudubon.org
Contact: Visit the volunteer page for links to/contacts for specific opportunities.
Volunteer opportunities: Youth education programs, community outreach, administration, gardening and landscape, citizen science projects, assisting with annual Wings Across the Big Sky Festival, assisting with various volunteer needs for local chapters.

Montana Audubon Center, Billings.  www.mtaudubon.org/center
Contact: Fill out the online volunteer information form or contact Carolyn Sevier at 406.294.5099 or csevier@mtaudubon.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Fledglings Nature Preschool, youth education programs, gardening and landscape, community outreach, special events, maintenance, administration.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, statewide.   http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/employment/volunteers.html
Contact: Dependent upon your interests – check specific opportunities on the FWP website for more information and who to contact.
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, serve as a state park host, staff hunter check stations, teach fishing or hunter education, help rehabilitate wild animals at the Montana Wildlife Center, and more.

Montana Native Plant Society, Missoula/Bozeman/Helena/Columbia Falls/Glen/Medicine Lake.   www.mtnativeplants.org/1
Contact: Gretchen Rupp, President, at beesgrmt@gmail.com.

Montana Native Plant Society – Clark Fork Chapter, Missoula: http://www.mtnativeplants.org/Clark_Fork
Contact: Annie Garde, President, at anniegarde@yahoo.com, or visit their Facebook page for upcoming opportunities and events.
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, and help with various other projects around the community.

Montana Natural History Center (MNHC), Missoula.    www.montananaturalist.org
Contact: Drew Lefebvre, Volunteer Coordinator, at 406.327.0405 or dlefebvre@montananaturalist.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Visiting Naturalist in the Schools Program (both in-class visits and full-day field trips), Museum Tours, Saturday Kids’ Activities, miniNaturalist program, special events, auction assistance, exhibit and program development.

Montana Outdoor Science School, Bozeman.  www.outdoorscience.org
Contact: Fill out the online contact form.
Volunteer Opportunities: Help with our K-8 programs, volunteer at events, help care for the MOSS critters (including fish, hissing cockroaches, a corn snake, and tarantula) or offer your unique skills to support specific projects that allow MOSS to offer high quality programming in our communities.

Montana Trout Unlimited, statewide.    www.montanatu.org
Contact: Email info@montanatu.org or call 406.543.0054.
Volunteer opportunities: Conservation, protection, and restoration projects; contacting legislators; serving on the board of directors.

Montana Trout Unlimited – West Slope Chapter, Missoula.   www.westslope.tu.org
Contact: Email westslopechapter.tu@gmail.com.
Volunteer opportunities: Conservation projects, education/instructional projects, promotional activities, chapter management, and advocacy.

Montana Wilderness Association, statewide. www.wildmontana.org
Contact:  Kassia Randzio at krandzio@wildmontana.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Lead a wilderness walk, build the Continental Divide Trail, get involved with your local field office, join the state council, help with the annual gathering, and much more!

Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula, Missoula. www.montananaturalist.org/fort-missoula-native-plant-gardens
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: Fill out the online form!
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 birdsightings@sacajaweaaudubon.org; Lou Ann Harris (Mountain Bluebird monitoring) at louann@sacajaweaaudubon.org; or Paulette Epple (American Kestrel nest box project) at pauletteepple@sacajaweaaudubon.org.
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; monitoring American Kestrel nest boxes.

Swan Valley Connections, Condon.   www.swanvalleyconnections.org
Contact: 406.754.3137 or info@swanvalleyconnections.org
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wildlands volunteer corps, resident trackers, and more!

Teller Wildlife Refuge, Bitterroot Valley.  www.tellerwildlife.org
Contact: Fill out the volunteer interest form and send to mainoffice@tellerwildlife.org or call 406.961.3507.
Volunteer Opportunities: Teller Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization in Corvallis, Montana with a mission “to inspire, educate and demonstrate conservation in action.” The Teller volunteer program is looking for people like you. Join a dynamic group of people who care about conservation, and participate in activities that directly benefit fish and wildlife habitat in the Bitterroot Valley. Whether you want to work outside and get your hands dirty, help make our events a success, become a lead project volunteer, or assist with office administration, we have opportunities for your talents and skills!

Traveler’s Rest State Park, Lolo.    www.travelersrest.org
Contact: Fill out a Montana State Parks volunteer application or just mention your interest on the Traveler’s Rest contact us form.
Volunteer opportunities: Visitor Center assistant, roving interpreter, education program assistant, special events volunteer, naturalist, maintenance worker, board member.

Watershed Education Network (WEN), Missoula.   www.montanawatershed.org
Contact: Fill out the online application form.
Volunteer opportunities: Stream monitoring field trips with schools.

Citizen Science

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.

Craighead Institute, Bozeman.  www.craigheadresearch.org
Contact: April Craighead at april@craigheadinstitute.org.
Volunteer opportunities: Pika surveys across western Montana. Find more information (and a link to the pika survey) here.

Five Valleys Audubon, Missoula.  www.fvaudubon.org
Contact: Fill out the online form or contact Jim Brown at 406.549.8052.
Volunteer opportunities: Bird surveys in the Missoula and Ninemile Valleys. Novice birders welcome!

Montana Audubon, Helena and Billings (and statewide). www.mtaudubon.org
Contact: Visit the volunteer page for links to/contacts for specific opportunities.
Volunteer opportunities: Youth education programs, community outreach, administration, gardening and landscape, citizen science projects, assisting with annual Wings Across the Big Sky Festival, assisting with various volunteer needs for local chapters.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, statewide.   http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/employment/volunteers.html
Contact: Dependent upon your interests – check specific opportunities on the FWP website for more information and who to contact.
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, serve as a state park host, staff hunter check stations, teach fishing or hunter education, help rehabilitate wild animals at the Montana Wildlife Center, 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: Fill out the online form!
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 birdsightings@sacajaweaaudubon.org; Lou Ann Harris (Mountain Bluebird monitoring) at louann@sacajaweaaudubon.org; or Paulette Epple (American Kestrel nest box project) at pauletteepple@sacajaweaaudubon.org.
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; monitoring American Kestrel nest boxes. 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 406.586.0932 or pauletteepple@sacajaweaaudubon.org.  2)  Missouri Headwaters IBA near Three Forks; for more information, contact Martha Collins at marthacoll@msn.com.  3) Harrison Reservoir IBA; for more information, contact John Parker at 406.586.5863 or birdsightings@sacajaweaaudubon.org.

Swan Valley Connections, Condon.   www.swanvalleyconnections.org
Contact: 406.754.3137 or info@swanvalleyconnections.org
Volunteer Opportunities:  Wildlands volunteer corps, resident trackers, and more!

Watershed Education Network (WEN), Missoula.   www.montanawatershed.org
Contact: Fill out the online application form.
Volunteer opportunities: Stream monitoring field trips with schools.

Wilderness Institute, University of Montana, Missoula.  www.cfc.umt.edu/wi
Contact:  406.243.6916 or citizenscience@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.

Program Support

Contact any of the organizations above for specific opportunities.