Long Term and Recurring Volunteer Opportunities
This page lists opportunities to earn volunteer hours that don't necessarily fit well on our online calendar. Our partners need Certified Master Naturalists to support their efforts to conserve Nebraska’s natural legacy. They have provided us with their needs, and they encourage volunteers to reach out to them.
If you know of additional opportunities that should be listed on this page, please contact us at 402-937-8601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONARCH AND REGAL FRITILLARY SURVEY
There is an urgent need to track monarch butterflies and regal fritillaries annually across their range to better understand them and provide them with more effective conservation in Nebraska. A community science project was launched in 2015 and refined in 2020 to monitor populations of monarchs and regal fritillaries across the state. This expansive survey effort is not possible without the help of volunteers.
Join us in this rare butterfly survey. Find information below on how to identify monarchs and regal fritillaries, a link to the survey protocol, and instructions for participating in this community science project.
Program Information can be found here: http://outdoornebraska.gov/butterflysurvey/?fbclid=IwAR1jBq4YKyMBek_7tslJfsAGFA871b5Av0q8pADEg-P3bew0Ij6_yNB73LE
2023- In-person training sessions
Volunteers must attend a training before they can survey for butterflies. We have in-person training sessions each spring in late May and early June. In May 2022, we hosted our last Zoom training, but you can watch the recording here, which still counts as a training. You only need to attend one training.
May 20, 2023: In-person training at Homestead National Monument near Beatrice from 1-5 p.m.
June 3, 2023: In-person training at Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna from 1-5 p.m.
Sign up for in person training here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZBOCeZYErGHKJ8ZehDFMXBn8WXC8THR4EV-47LxmsHPglAA/viewform
Pheasants Forever: Pathway For Wildlife (PFW) Habitat Studies
Pathway for Wildlife- Community Habitat Master Naturalist Cover Crop Study
Background: Historically producers farming in an agricultural dominated landscape have had little interest in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or any perennial habitat program. With the lack of interest in creating perennial wildlife habitat from landowners, Pheasants Forever of Nebraska began looking at using cover crops within the agriculture landscape to create wildlife habitat on an annual basis. A lot of research has been done in the area of cover crops and how they benefit soil health, but little research has looked at cover crop benefits to wildlife on the landscape. Coming into year 3 of our Pathway For Wildlife (PFW) program, which Pheasants Forever utilizes as a program to put cover crops on the landscape, we are interested in studying the impact of our cover crops on wildlife.
Location: Counties eligible for the PFW cover crop program include Merrick, Polk, Butler, Hamilton, York, Seward, Clay, Filmore, and Saline.
**Field locations will depend on landowner interest and quality projects. All field sites have yet to be identified. Landowner consent for projects will be obtained from Pheasants Forever personnel. Additionally, all communication with landowners will take place through Pheasants Forever personnel and occur in a timely manner to ensure site visit.
1) Entomology Research – Many of the diverse cover crop mixtures hold a wide array of insect species and we are interested in documenting species diversity, relative density, and species richness of these PFW cover crop sites. Projects within this category can be as in depth as the individual prefers or as simple as taking pictures of insects and assisting in identifying them from home. For individuals interested in a more in-depth study, there is potential to compare the cover crop site to adjacent row crop agricultural field.
2) Camera Trapping – For this project Pheasants Forever is interested in documenting all wildlife species that are large enough to set off a camera trap. Individuals who are interested in assisting with this project will be assigned a site within their preferred travel area. There they will be responsible for deploying a trail camera and collecting the pictures at least once every two weeks. Individuals will look through pictures captured on the trail cameras and identify the species within them. No pictures should be deleted, removed, or otherwise relabeled. This ensures that all photos are saved for use within a larger data set. In order to maintain a scientific process, all trail cameras set should be done in a similar manner to ensure quality data collection.
3) Birding Opportunities – Pheasants Forever is interested in identifying avian species richness of the PFW cover crop sites. For this study individuals will be given a field(s) within their travel range where they can identify as many avian species as they can. Timing will depend on each specific project. Full season cover crops are usually planted mid-May while cover crops following small grain harvest are planted the first week or two of July. This study would target early spring planted cover crops and cover crops planted following the small grain harvest. The timing of these projects is important because there is potential for the cover crops to offer nesting habitat for some species and brood rearing resources for others.
If you are a Nebraska Master Naturalist interested in participating in these Pathway For Wildlife (PFW) habitat studies, please contact Precision Ag Coordinator Nathan Pflueger at email@example.com or call Work: (402) 362-5700, Cell (402) 646-5426. Also check out our conversation with Nathan About the cover crop study https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGUuAPxqkSc
Pioneers Park 2023
Herb & Children’s Garden Volunteers: assist with the Louis Evans Doole Herb Garden and the Children’s Garden every other Thursday in the spring starting March 9. These gardens are very popular with visitors, preschool participants, and field trip participants. Both gardens have native plants and cultivars that grow throughout the season. In the spring, we prep the raised beds for planting. Throughout the season we weed, water, and put in more plants if needed. Cutting back plants is also part of the job as some get quite large!
Outdoor Educator Volunteer or Staff: provide inquiry based outdoor programs on life cycles or habitats for 1st & 2nd grade students. Programming is Mon – Fri 9:30 am – 11:30 am and noon – 2 pm. Shifts are dependent on your availability. Outdoor Educator Training will take place in early March and programs go through the end of May.
Summer Camp Activity Assistant: assist with outdoor education activities at our summer camp. Each week participants learn archery, go fishing, explore the creek, and sometimes go canoeing. We can use an extra person or two that can help participants with some of these activities. Or be a guest presenter for camp on occasional weekday afternoons sharing a topic of your choosing. Groups of 15 – 20 elementary aged kids and two camp counselors.
Please share these opportunities with anyone you think who might be interested!
Prairie Pines Partners at the Prairie Pines Nature Preserve - Lincoln
We are needing volunteers for the Prairie Pines Nature Preserve Welcome Center (prairiepines.org) on Fridays and some Saturdays when the Preserve is open to the public from 9 AM - 5 PM. Volunteers are needed to be at the site 1/2 day per month to open and close the site and be available for visitor questions or assistance. Volunteers can also assist with monthly nature based educational events as they desire from April - December. If you cannot be there on your regular volunteer day, arrangements can be made. We appreciate however you can help! Please contact Sue for questions or to volunteer.
Contact Sue Kohles for details: firstname.lastname@example.org (402) 525-7653
Community Science Projects
Check out the Community/Citizen Science Project Directory brought to you by the Community Scientist of Nebraska Network
Projects Include: Birds of Nebraska: Breeding Bird Survey, Flying Squirrel Project, Human Microbiome Research Studies at UNL, Monarch and Regal Fritillary Survey, Nebraska Amphibian Monitoring Project, Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas, NGPC Eastern Spotted Skunk Survey, Omaha Zoo Citizen Science, Tick Tag Go, Water Quality + Citizen Science.
Additional Project Directories: There are many projects gathering data across the continent or our planet that need Nebraska data on the map. Find large scale projects and others abroad by searching these pages:
Water Quality Testing with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This program is a collaboration between the Department of Civil Engineering at UNL, the Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and GC Resolve.
Good water quality is important to the health of the public. In communities surrounded by agriculture, there is potential for contamination of water resources by manure and fertilizer application. Nitrates and phosphates are plant nutrients needed for improved growth, but excesses of these nutrients cause adverse impacts on water resources. Excess plant nutrients also pose a health risk to those who depend on these water resources. The goal of our program is to measure levels of plant nutrients present in well water, rivers, and streams within the Elkhorn and Lower Platte River basins.
The University of Nebraska will provide all testing materials and training to volunteers.
For more information, click here.
The Nature Conservancy at Platte River Prairies
Looking for A Longer-term commitment? Need to build experience for a career in conservation? Looking for a summer get-away that allows you to give back to the world? Want to increase your knowledge of prairie ecology or natural history?
If you answered 'yes!' to any of these questions, consider volunteering with The Nature Conservancy at the Platte River Prairies in Nebraska! We are looking for a few dedicated people who are willing to give a month or more of their time between May and October each year. You can assist us with seed harvesting, native plant nursery work, invasive species control, fence repair and maintenance, research data collection, and inventory/monitoring of plant and animal populations. In most cases, we can provide housing during your stay, so your primary expenses would be limited to travel to our prairies and food.
We can tailor your experience to fit your individual needs and preferences. If you're a student looking for practical job experience, we will make sure you get hands-on practice with a wide variety of tools and techniques and can network with our partner organizations. If you're more interested in some components of our work than others, we'll do what we can to accommodate that. We can also help set up individual research or other projects if you want something more in-depth, or need something like that for college credit.
Anyone interested in volunteering with us can contact Mardell Jasnowski at (402) 694-4191 for more information. We will ask for a resume and references, and will sort through applicants to find a slate of volunteers who match up well with our needs and capacity to provide a good experience for both parties. There is no deadline for applications - we will begin evaluating them as they come in.
Ian Nicholson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary
Interested in learning more about managing native prairie habitat? Ready to get your hands dirty and spend a day in nature at Rowe Sanctuary? Training, tools, and PPE are provided. Sturdy work clothes are recommended.
Essential functions: Work week availability, Power tool and hand tool use, native and invasive plant identification, seed harvesting, invasive species control.
Visitor Center Assistant:
Are you interested in spending a relaxing day at Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary?
- Availability on a Sunday afternoon from 12:30-4:30
- Volunteer needs to be able to run cash register with training and use of cheat sheets
- Talk to people from all over the country and world
- Ability to work alone
Contact: Catherine - email@example.com
Volunteer Discovery Leader for Rowe Sanctuary's Education & School Programs: Do you enjoy working with children and have time to volunteer during the weekday? Being a discovery leader at Rowe Sanctuary is easy and fun. We provide the training and all you have to bring is your enthusiasm for being outdoors and a willingness to help children make their own discoveries in nature. All of our field trips are facilitated and our Discovery Leaders explore right alongside children. Ideally we like to have one Discovery Leader for every eight children. Programs vary in length.
Contact: Beka at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our volunteering page: https://rowe.audubon.org/volunteering-0
Wildcat Hills Nature Center
Volunteer Wish List for the Wildcat Hills Nature Center Education Department:
Environmental Education/Interpretation Programs:
Help present educational program, teach sessions, topic-based presentations. Normally during weekdays (specific times/dates can be provided to those interested).
Environmental Education/Interpretation Resources:
Help fabricate, design, and build interpretation/environmental education resources
Park Resource Management
Help with park management, trail maintenance, habitat restoration, pollinator garden, etc.
Contact: Amanda Filipi, Education Specialist
The Crane Trust
The Crane Trust is a non-profit dedicated to protecting and maintaining migratory bird habitat on the Platte River. We love our volunteers! The majority of the work gets put in throughout March when the cranes are here and we are all very busy.
Crane Tour Guide:
Our blinds are run by volunteers who get up early or come after dinner to play a video to our guests and lead them into the blinds for a magical experience watching thousands of sandhill cranes come in or leave the roost on the Platte River. Guides will get information about cranes and training on use of the Visitor Center. Who wouldn't want to get to go in the blinds for free? But this is not always for the faint of heart. Sometimes you have to play 'cop' so the guests have a good experience, and walking to and from the blind is required (10 minutes each way at a slow pace). Warm clothes necessary.
Visitor Center Volunteer
Looking for an indoor way to contribute? We have greeters who just say "hello," guide guests around the VC, and provide driving route or blind tour information. Gift shop assistance is great! It really helps to have someone there to tidy up or answer questions. Checking out is really easy with our new computer system! We also have a volunteer-run snack bar.
Maintenance and Clean-up
Like working with your hands? Trained on machinery? Just want to keep active? We always need help mowing trails, doing trash removal, washing windows, and odd maintenance jobs around our offices.
If any of these sound like a dream come true, please fill out our volunteer application form here or contact the Crane Trust Volunteer Coordinator at 308-382-1820
Volunteer at Cedar Point Biological Station
Cedar Point Biological Station (CPBS) / NMN Volunteer Opportunities for Summer
What’s going on at CPBS? The core season is roughly May to August with a few events in the fall. Fall events include Labor Day week and UNL Fall Break (10-17 Oct). We are open but at a lower capacity the rest of the year. CPBS will host 10 UNL courses, several week long educational events, and about a dozen Artists in Residence, each for one to two weeks. CPBS will also host 20 to 30 researchers and interns over various times in the season as well. We even host a one week long Nebraska Master Naturalist training event. The offer here is hang, fully integrate into the CPBS community, with people here to do field research and experiential learning while you volunteer and help Cedar Point be even more. For any and all volunteers, CPBS will provide food and housing in season, housing and kitchen access out of season. A week at CPBS might cover all the NMN volunteer and training time you need for the year too. Depends who is here presenting a seminar etc. We are adjacent to Lake Mac, so come out, help CPBS and spend some time on the lake as well.
What could you do at CPBS - almost anything. A few examples: We have one budding project that is a collaborative of resident artists and Master Naturalists creating a permanent dye garden; mostly native plants. CPBS shares a prairie dog town with Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (Central) and we are working through long-term management issues and efforts to maintain that town. Physical help putting up fence and barrier near the P-dog town is very much needed. The site also hosts a number of burrowing owls. We have 15 plus miles of trail all of which need work. We have an active redcedar removal program; join the summer 2018 habitat management interns for a week and help them improve our prairie. Help us create a Friends of CPBS. Help us write grant proposals. Help us work on better documenting the history of CPBS. Closer to citizen science, help us curate and add to the herbarium and the insect collection. This list approaches endless, so come and do what most fascinates you.
Contact Jon Garbisch, a fellow Master Naturalist and the associate director.
402-472-5977 Lincoln 308-284-6501 Ogallala 912-222-9407 Cell or Email: JGarbisch2@unl.edu
Nebraska Wildlife Rehab
Nebraska Wildlife Rehab currently needs volunteers to help in the following areas:
Hotline & Wildlife Intake
Diet Preparation Specialist
Wildlife Rescue & Reunification Team
Humane Society Transporter
Statewide Wildlife Transporter
Cage Building & Repair\
For more information and to apply visit : https://nebraskawildliferehab.org/how-to-help/volunteer.html?fbclid=IwAR1_RDqacZpXAKZVIe4329ZW-ui2rJpkFqY_KZvcvAcVN6g3tTjfC1FxcmQ