We depend on volunteers to help us run quality programs for the community. We accept volunteers of all ages and abilities, and are adept at working with volunteers’ busy schedules. Whether you’re interested in teaching children about nature, assisting with our auction, filling in at our front desk, greeting visitors at Evening Lectures, or working in our native plant garden, we have an opportunity for you!
If you’d like to become a volunteer, please fill out the form under the “Volunteer Application” tab. Or just stop by and visit us!
First Monday of every month
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. & 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Our homeschool program meets on the first Monday of every month in two separate sections. The rotating, multi-year curriculum encourages students to become naturalists through writing, science, and art.We could use 1-2 volunteers to help during one or both lessons. Tasks may include assisting with teaching, passing out and organizing materials, working with kids one-on-one, and more. It’s a great way to connect with kids of a range of ages, and learn a lot about nature education, too!
Visiting Naturalist in the Schools
Most school days, September – May
The Visiting Naturalist program puts professional naturalists in fourth and fifth grade classrooms to teach science and the natural history of western Montana. Naturalists work with students once a month for the entire school year, usually through classroom visits but twice a year (May and October) through full-day, outdoor field trips.
Volunteers accompany our staff naturalists on the classroom visits and provide general classroom assistance as needed. In October and May, volunteers learn and then lead field trip stations. This is a great way to get kids connected with nature, and it’s a lot of fun, too!
Assist an MNHC naturalist with a family-centered program with a different theme each month. Help kids with craft and science projects, assist them with delicate specimens, and help with clean-up. This is a fun opportunity to learn a few new facts and interact with young learners.
We are looking for friendly volunteers to staff the front desk during evening programs and events. Greet and interact with visitors, tidy up the Center, work on special projects, or spend some time reading or journaling during down time. MNHC staff members are always in the building, and available to help with any questions that may arise. This is a great way to fit in some volunteer hours in the evenings or after work!
Want to work with kids? Want to lead natural history field trips? Or would you prefer to write a Field Note or help in the Garden? Here are all the great ways to get involved!
Bring natural history to local 4th-5th grade school kids as a specially trained Volunteer Naturalist for the Visiting Naturalist in the Schools Program.
Saturday Kids’ Activities, miniNaturalists and Center Visits Volunteer
During the school year, assist our staff naturalists in running our Saturday Kids’ Activities on the weekends (on topics from birds to bugs to space, and more!), miniNaturalists program on Thursday mornings from 10-11, or help with school class visits during the week.
Help out with our Summer Science Day Camps – a fun and fantastic opportunity to gain experience working with kids in the outdoor classroom, where No Child is Left Inside. Assist staff with activities, or create your own lesson and activity on a natural history topic that interests you. This is also a great opportunity for young people aged 14-17 to participate in our Leaders in Training program.
Outreach and Special Events
Annual events such as Wild Fest and KidsFest are exciting ways to engage families in MNHC activities. Other events include and are not limited to the Farmer’s Market, Missoula MADE fair, Kids Fair at Southgate Mall, Out to Lunch, University tabling and recruitment, and Missoula Children & Nature Network programs.
Native Plant Garden at Fort Missoula
Do you have a green thumb or just love to pull weeds? We could use your help! Work in our native plant garden and learn about Montana’s native prairie grasslands, or help with Garden education activities. In June, July and August we have weekly volunteer afternoons on Thursdays from 4-6pm.
Research and write ~600 word natural history essays for our Field Notes radio program aired weekly on Montana Public Radio.
Nature Discovery Traveling Trunk Maintenance
Assist in keeping our Traveling Trunks well-stocked and ready for use by our local schools.
Help the Montana Natural History Center with answering phones, greeting visitors, assisting with sales and memberships, and registration for MNHC’s exciting programs.
Help us prepare for our largest fundraising event of the year! Each summer, we need 6-8 volunteers to solicit silent auction items from local businesses. We also need ~25 volunteers to assist on the night of the event (usually from 4-10pm on a Friday or Saturday in early October), checking attendees in and out, selling raffle tickets, displaying live auction items, and more.
Ralph Lee Allen Environmental Education Library
Help the Montana Natural History Center with ongoing maintenance and upkeep of our collection of field guides, children’s nature books, a wide variety of nature writing, and environmental educational resources. Our library is also a cozy, quiet place to spend an hour or two curled up reading!
Exhibits Construction & Maintenance
Give us a hand with maintaining both the exhibits at our Center and our traveling displays. Handy with tools? If so, we need your carpentry skills.
We accept volunteers of all ages and abilities. No matter what your interests, we have an opportunity that will fit you! If you’d like to volunteer, please begin by filling out our volunteer application form.
April 2018 Volunteer of the Month:
As the spring semester draws to a close, we are getting ready to say goodbye to our hardworking, long-term intern, Stephanie Fisher. As part of her MS in Environmental Studies, Stephanie has been working hard here at MNHC to develop a curriculum for teaching climate change to high school students.
Recently, MNHC teaching staff attended the Montana Environmental Education Association’s annual conference, where we had the pleasure of watching Stephanie present her project to an audience of educators. Not only did she deliver a flawless presentation, but she turned out an amazing finished product: Stephanie recorded video conversations with several local climate experts, then integrated them with pre-existing online resources. The videos are attention-grabbing and geared toward high school students, and the whole curriculum is aligned to the latest science standards.
We’re so lucky that Stephanie chose to work with MNHC while pursuing her degree, and that her final project was such a hit.
Thank you, Stephanie!!
Click HERE to read about other great volunteers and how they’ve gotten involved with MNHC.