I've just finished a massive upgrade to the volunteer blog. No, it's not dramatically evident at first, other than the link bar at the top of the page. But click that "volunteer opportunities" link and you'll find the new feature: Every currently-active volunteer position at Mount Rainier is now listed, and sortable in dozens of different ways.
Most of you will be most interested in the jobs that are "now recruiting," but you may also want to see all of the jobs currently active in the park, or even those that are under development. You can search for jobs that are appropriate for individuals or for the group you represent, or select those that are appropriate for families (with young children) or for youth groups like boy scouts or girl scouts.
You can choose jobs that are "short-term" (lasting only a day or two), "long-term" (lasting longer than a week), or "intermittent" (meaning that you make a commitment to return on a regular basis for an ongoing job). If you're looking for a college internship, you can select that. If you're interested in volunteering during a particular time of year, you can choose spring, summer, autumn, or winter opportunities.
And if you're interested in a particular kind of job, say, helping with trail maintenance, you can see all of the opportunities that fit that category. There's also a list of groups we're currently targeting for certain jobs, including actors (for our historic costumed interpretation team), teachers (for education positions), and scientists (for citizen science and our summer speaker series).
The list should be comprehensive. Browse through it and marvel at the diverse range of ways that volunteers work in partnership with us to protect Mount Rainier's natural and cultural resources and serve its visitors!
Friday, January 29, 2010
I've just finished a massive upgrade to the volunteer blog. No, it's not dramatically evident at first, other than the link bar at the top of the page. But click that "volunteer opportunities" link and you'll find the new feature: Every currently-active volunteer position at Mount Rainier is now listed, and sortable in dozens of different ways.
Friday, January 22, 2010
In a sense, "citizen science" has been going on here for years. We've always had volunteers helping out in our resource management programs: surveying owls and ducks in the spring, measuring debris accumulation in our rivers following floods, and helping to set beetle monitoring traps. Starting in 2008, however, the program took on a more formal shape. With the help of the Student Conservation Association's Mount Rainier Recovery Corps, members of the public were recruited and trained to help with specific data gathering projects, including soundscape monitoring and amphibian surveys. Another SCA intern was hired last summer to continue the program, and slowly a core group of individuals from the community have come on board to help throughout the summer months.
Sometimes the work is cold, wet, or buggy. Often it involves trekking deep into the most remote parts of Mount Rainier National Park. Occassionally the team camps out overnight. But the experience has ultimately been rewarding for the participants, and the data collected will provide valuable insights to park managers. The amphibian surveys, for example, are establishing baseline information for understanding how our frog and salamandar popopulations change over time, and how these numbers may be affected by things like climate change and polution. Soundscape monitoring tracks the degree to which human-generated sounds, from automobile and airplane engines to construction and logging activities, have penetrated the park's wilderness.
The Citizen Science program will continue this summer. The Citizen Science Coordinator internship is sponsored this year by Washington's National Park Fund (which is already raising money to support next year's volunteer program). Anyone with a background in science who has wilderness travel skills and is interested in working with public volunteers is encouraged to apply for the 12-week position, which will run from late June through part of September. Housing will be provided. Apply online at the Student Conservation Association website.
In addition, if you're interested in serving as a member of our Citizen Science Team, complete an online application, or send a resume and cover letter directly to me. Please note a few key points in the position description:
- These are not full-time positions. We're looking for people who can help out for a day or two at a time periodically throughout the summer. Housing is not provided.
- Some of the work is strenuous and involves long hikes at high elevation. Some of the work requires overnight camping in the backcountry. We're looking for people with existing wilderness skills.
- A basic background in science is helpful but not required. We will provide training.
Come get involved, help us learn more about Mount Rainier's ecosystems, and become a stewardship partner for Mount Rainier National Park.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
One of the few volunteer opportunities available at Mount Rainier in the winter is the volunteer ski patrol, which we operate in partnership with the Washington Ski Touring Club. Volunteer Phil Hertzog recently sent me this report of their activities last month. Doesn't it just make you want to run out and join them?! You can still do so, of course. Visit their website for information about how to get involved. Thanks, Phil, for the report!
Members of the Washington Ski Touring Club’s (WSTC) Nordic Patrol spent two days training with Mount Rainier National Park Service Rangers on December 19 and 20. The Nordic Patrol consists of a group of Mount Rainier National Park volunteers who set poles to mark ski trails from Paradise to Narada Falls and on to Reflection Lakes. Patrol members also contact snowshoers, snow campers, and skiers out on the trails to provide directions, educate visitors on park regulations, and serve as first point of contact for emergency situations.
Nordic Patrol members practiced using the new radio procedures and learned how the Paradise foxes have started to sleep in snow caves and curl up by the feet of tired campers. Unfortunately the foxes seem to enjoy hauling out the sleeping campers’ gear into the snow and at least one boot disappeared. The Park Service is working on new methods to discourage human/fox interactions. The Patrol will assist in educating the public on the need to not feed the foxes.
In the afternoon, the volunteers drove up to Paradise and continued training on avalanche transceiver skills. Ranger Camiccia would bury a transceiver in the snow behind Paradise Inn and the trainees would go search for it and improve their locating skills.
Overall the training proved beneficial to Nordic Patrol volunteer members and they made a lot of great contacts with National Park Service staff. Anyone interested in joining Nordic Patrol should check out WSTC’s website at wstc.clubexpress.com. For more information on the Park’s role contact Ranger Daniel Camiccia at 360 569-2211 ext. 3419.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I've been absent from the blog pages for an uncharacteristically long time, due to a combination of holiday leave, illness, and submersion in meeting grant proposal deadlines. I totaled them up today, and I've written and submitted fifteen grant proposals over the past two months in support of our volunteer and outreach programs! Hopefully it will pay off, allowing us to continue recruiting excellent volunteer coordinators, student and youth interns, and participants in our "Camping Adventures with My Parents" program. Already we've received thousands of dollars in support through Washington's National Park Fund, and to those of you who have contributed to their efforts, I thank you humbly and gratefully.
Meanwhile, I've been struck repeatedly over the past month by how great the need is for volunteers. We've had a rash of police officers wounded or killed lately, including two just north of Eatonville, and there have been multiple benefit events to raise money for their families. The neice of one of our employees here at the national park was seriously injured in an automobile accident last week, and there will be benefit dinners on her behalf, along with volunteer efforts to refit her house to accommodate wheelchairs. So many people these days are in dire straits due to the economy, and agencies that provide support for them have never been in greater need of assistance, both in donations and volunteer time. And, of course, we're all watching the crisis unfold in Haiti, where local volunteers were killed during the performance of their duties, and where more volunteers are pouring in every day to help with the long recovery. There, too, there is a role for everyone: even those who aren't able to fly to the Caribbean can contribute to volunteer charities or even "text" a few dollars in support through their cell phone.
It is in times like this, when our communities, our nation, and our world are in their greatest need, when the role of volunteerism in our national identity really shines. Americans are reportedly one of the most generous nations on earth in terms of volunteer service. (If anyone can find good statistics to back up this oft-repeated claim, let me know; the few studies I could find do tend to support it.) 62 million of us donate a median of 52 hours of service every year, even on top of our full-time jobs (or unemployment) and substantial charitable financial contributions. Some do so by flying around the world to help for months or years at a time in Haiti or Afghanistan; others volunteer in their spare minutes at local schools or national parks.
I will soon be posting a "master list" of volunteer opportunities at Mount Rainier in the coming year on this blog, and you can find most of them tabulated in the right-hand column of this page. Other national park and public lands volunteer opportunities can be found at the websites volunteer.gov and serve.gov. There isn't much happening at Mount Rainier this time of year, as the rain and snow pours down outside, but there are many ways to contribute in your own neighborhood while you wait for the weather to improve.
I think it's revealing of our national character--and also, in a way, comforting--that the combined volunteer contributions of Americans, measured as equivalent full-time employees, is substantially greater than the total of number people working in Federal and State governments nationwide. We are the ones who make it happen. To all of you, keep up the great work, and thanks.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Updated April 12, 2012: Here's a list of current volunteer opportunities at Mount Rainier National Park. Find one that meets your interests, and get involved! Options are divided into five categories:
- Drop-in Projects: Short projects, usually lasting less than a day suitable for individuals or families.
- Group Volunteer Projects: Projects most suitable for a large group of people, such as a youth group, club, or employee organization.
- Long-term Projects: Volunteer efforts that require a long-term, recurring commitment, though not necessarily full-time.
- Full-time Volunteer Projects: Work that requires a full-time commitment of at least 32 hours per week over a period of weeks or months.
- Internships: Interns are hired for full-time projects through partners like the Student Conservation Association or a university, and may receive educational credit for their experiences.
Looking for a way to volunteer for a single day at Mount Rainier? There are lots of opportunities for families and individuals of all ages! You can even make these part of a "Volunteer Vacation" in return for free admission and camping. Add these to your calendar now:
- April 28 through September 8, 2012, Mount Rainier National Park Associates: This group of dedicated volunteers schedules monthly projects involving trail maintenance and revegetation throughout the summer. Visit their website for details and to sign up for an upcoming project. 2012 project dates will be April 28 (trail maintenance), May 19 (trail maintenance), June 16 (trail maintenance), July 14 (exotic plant removal), August 11 (trail maintenance), and September 8 (revegetation).
- May 5, 2012, Meadow Rover Breakfast: Every year, an informal potluck brunch is scheduled as an opportunity for existing volunteers to gather after the winter hiatus, and as a chance for both new and returning volunteers to learn about what's new at the National Park. This year's gathering will be at 10:00 a.m. on May 5 at Mount Rainier National Park's Community Building at Longmire. Read the details here!
- June 2, 2012, National Trails Day: Join us to kick off our summer trail season! Volunteer projects on this day may include trail maintenance on some of the park's lowest and most snow-free trails, and campground opening projects at Longmire or Cougar Rock. Watch this blog for details as the date gets closer.
- Fridays-Sundays, June through September, Washington Trails Association: We are working with the Washington Trails Association again this summer as a major partner, helping to coordinate trail maintenance throughout the park on Fridays and weekends throughout the summer. Visit the WTA website for details and to sign up for a coming date. Week-long volunteer vacations are also available, and are scheduled at Mount Rainier on May 26-June 2 and June 2-9. An additional Youth Volunteer Vacation will be held in the park from August 19-24, 2012.
- June 23 and 24, 2012, Meadow Rover Training: Curious about Mount Rainier's Meadow Rover program? Join us for a day of training and learn about the park's natural resources, emergency procedures, and how to effectively talk with park visitors about the importance of staying on trails in the fragile subalpine meadows. Watch this blog for details as the date approaches. Training for new Meadow Rovers will held on Saturday June 23, and an advanced training will be held for returning Rovers on Sunday June 24.
- July 4, 2012, Independence Day Parade: Every year, Mount Rainier National Park marches in the Eatonville 4th of July Parade, and volunteers are eagerly sought to represent the park. Come in uniform and walk with our team! Contact Jim Ross at Jim_Ross@nps.gov to sign up.
- TBD, July/August, Keep Wildlife Wild Festival: Every year, Mount Rainier National Park sets aside a date to focus on the park's animals and the importance of keeping wildlife wild. Join us for presentations and special events! Volunteers are needed to help with presentations and distributing information. Read all about it on this blog and watch for dates and updates this spring.
- August 11, 2012, West Side Volunteer Picnic: Mount Rainier's annual Volunteer Picnic will be on August 11 this year. This is an opportunity for volunteers to gather to celebrate the summer's accomplishments with good food and good company. Awards are given to volunteers who have reached milestones in their service.
- August 18, 2012, East Side Volunteer Picnic: This year, we'll be having a volunteer picnic not only on the west side of the park, but on the east side as well! Join us at Sunrise for a celebration of volunteers with food, fellowship, and awards.
- Weekends in September, Drop-in Restoration Days: Mount Rainier's revegetation crews schedule native planting projects on several weekends in September for drop-in volunteers. Contact Kevin Bacher for details at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov, and watch this blog for dates and information this summer.
- September 29, 2012, National Public Lands Day: Every year on the last Saturday in September, Mount Rainier National Park brings its summer volunteer program to a close with a massive volunteer day, offering volunteer opportunities throughout the park including trail maintenance and revegetation. Watch the blog for further announcements, and meanwhile check out previous blog entries about the event!
- Join-a-group: Often, organized groups will be scheduled to work on a project on the weekend you plan to visit. Even if you don't see anything on the calendar, let us know you're coming and we'll see if there's a project we can add you to! Contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567.
- Year-round, Job Shadow Opportunities: An uncommon but significant volunteer opportunity, "job shadow" projects allow students a chance to see what it's like to be a park ranger by following one around for a day. Students have, in the past, enjoyed days in the park's visitor centers or helping with winter snow play. Other options include the park's campgrounds or entrance stations, or the maintenance, education, or volunteer programs. For further information or to propose a job shadow experience, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher, 360-569-6567.
Not every job that volunteers do is appropriate for large groups, and not every job that groups do is available year-round. That said, there's plenty of work available throughout the summer for clubs, employee associations, churches, schools, civic organizations, scout troops, eagle scouts, and other groups. Consider these recurring needs, and let us know early what you'd like to help with, so we can put you on our calendar! Individuals are also welcome on many of these projects, especially if a group is already scheduled.
- Historic Campground Restoration: The historic Longmire Campground has been partially restored for use by volunteers and other groups. It is maintained almost entirely by volunteers, who help set up platform tents in the spring, clean up storm debris, and prepare the campground for winter. In addition, restoration work in the Longmire Campground is ongoing, and includes recovery of historic rockwork, construction of new campsites, installation of fire circles, and construction of picnic tables. Sponsors are needed to provide or fund materials for these projects. For further information and to schedule a project, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher, 360-569-6567.
- Native Habitat Restoration: Volunteers are critical for completing restoration projects around the park, planting native vegetation in areas disturbed by construction or other human activity. In 2009, volunteers helped plant 130,000 plants in one month at Paradise! The work is usually done by groups, but once scheduled, individual volunteers can usually join in; and there are often "drop-in" days scheduled as well. Most work takes place in September. For more information about how to schedule a project for your group, contact Restoration Specialist Will Arnesen at 360-569-6762 or Will_Arnesen@nps.gov, or Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. You can also view previous blog entries about this job.
- Spring Campground Opening: Getting three public campgrounds ready to open in the spring is a huge project. Groups can help by cleaning up storm debris, shoveling snow away from critical facilities, and performing minor maintenance. General campground maintenance or site restoration projects may also be available later in the summer. For further information or to volunteer your group for the coming year, contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-6728.
- Spring Opening (aka Snow Shoveling): Volunteers are a major asset in helping us to open the high elevation facilities at Sunrise in the spring. While snow plows and other heavy equipment do most of the work, the final job of shoveling out walkways, fire hydrants, WPA-era rock walls, and other delicate features of the landscape can most effectively by done by hand. It makes a great spring work party, usually before the general public has access to the area. The exact dates are difficult to predict well in advance, since they are dependent on winter snowfall and spring meltout. For more information, or to volunteer your group for the coming season, contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-6728.
- Trail Maintenance: Work with Park Service trail crews to build and maintain trails throughout Mount Rainier National Park. Projects are available for groups both on weekdays and weekends. Groups may work either with park trail crews or with the Washington Trails Association. Note: Trail work is strenuous and may require many miles of hiking to and from the work site. Contact Melody Abel at 360-569-6632 or Melody_Abel@nps.gov.
- Other Ideas: If you have another idea for a group project to discuss, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. Many other projects will happen this summer that are not listed here, which are tailored to the needs of the park and the interests of a particular group. Often we have one-time projects that are unique opportunities for just the right group of people. Recent examples include:
- Archeological excavation
- Backcountry carpentry
- Erosion control
- Exotic plant removal
- Seed collection
- "Sherpa" projects (carrying supplies into the backcountry)
- Trail bridge construction
- Wilderness cleanup
Did you ever dream of being a park ranger? Would you like to get involved as an individual over a long period of time, but can't commit to making it a full-time job? There are many ways to participate on a recurring basis as your schedule permits. These jobs are highly flexible, but require an ongoing commitment and usually do not come with park housing, so are most suited for people who live within commuting distance of the park.
- Backcountry Patrol: Mount Rainier's wilderness backcountry is extensive. A small team of volunteers supplements seasonal park staff to patrol the park's hundreds of miles of trails, assisting visitors, checking backcountry permits, and performing minor trail and campsite maintenance. These additional eyes and ears are especially helpful during the busy summer, and in remote parts of the park like Carbon River. While the park is not currently recruiting additional volunteers in this area, inquiries are welcome. Direct them to West District Wilderness Ranger Daniel Camiccia at 360-569-6652; East District Wilderness Ranger Geoff Walker at 360-569-6671; or Carbon River Ranger Jim Hull at 360-569-6624.
- Butterfly Survey Team: A small group of volunteers maintains survey transects at locations throughout Mount Rainier National Park during the summer. Help us gather baseline data about butterfly populations and their trends over time. Get involved this year by contacting Mason Reid, Wildlife Biologist, at 360-569-6771 or Mason_Reid@nps.gov. Read more about this project on our blog.
- Citizen Science Team: Help gather baseline data about Mount Rainier National Park's natural resources. Survey amphibian populations and wetland resources and conduct soundscape monitoring from July through September. Some projects require simple day-trips off park roads, while others may occur deep in the park's wilderness and involve multiple days in the backcountry. (On rare occasions, front-country projects may be suitable for organized groups.) For further information, or to join our team, review previous blog entries, contact Biologist Barbara Samora, 360-569-6751, or submit an online application.
- Digital Photo Librarian: Mount Rainier National Park is looking for a part-time volunteer to assist in the development of a digital photo library. The volunteer will primarily be responsible for uploading photos to a new online digital library, which will involve identifying and describing a large variety of unlabeled park photos. Ideally, the volunteer will be familiar with the park and park locations. Read more on our blog, or submit an online application here. For more information, contact Kristyn Loving, 360-569-6564.
- Exotic Plant Removal: Compared to other parks, Mount Rainier's exotic plant problem is small. A small but dedicated team of employees spends much of the summer keeping it that way, patroling the margins of park roads and trails looking for and removing non-native plants. Due to the setting along busy roads, the park is not currently recruiting for volunteers to assist this program. However, individuals and small groups interested in this kind of work can often be fit in on a case-by-case basis if appropriate sites are available.
- Financial Assistance: In addition to supporting Mount Rainier through the investment of time and energy, that is, participating in volunteer projects, both individuals and groups can also support the park through financial contributions. Contributions facilitate volunteer projects by providing for supplies, housing, uniforms, and other incidental needs that supplement the donated labor. Over the years, our program has been supported by both individual donors and donations from larger groups. REI, Boeing, and many others have been instrumental in keeping our program running strong. While contributions can be received directly by the volunteer program, it's easier to give through Mount Rainier's partners, especially Washington's National Park Fund, which has a full list online of projects it supports. A complete list of partners that receive donations on behalf of the park is on Mount Rainier's website.
- Greenhouse Assistance: Mount Rainier's revegetation and restoration program depends on native seeds cultivated in the park's greenhouse, located at park headquarters west of Ashford. Throughout the year, a small but dedicated team of employees and volunteers tend to the growing plants, weeding and repotting them as necessary until they are ready to be replanted. During the summer, small crews go out into the park to collect seeds to propagate for future use. The program seeks individuals who are willing to return on a regular basis. For further information, contact Greenhouse Manager Josh Drown, 360-569-6767, or apply online.
- Japan Volunteer-in-Parks Association Hosts: Every year since 1994, the Japan Volunteers-in-Parks Association (J-VIPA) has brought a team of students to Mount Rainier in late August and early September from Waseda University in Japan to conduct volunteer work through the park's maintenance program. To reduce costs and facilitate visas, the students stay with host families in the communities of Ashford, Elbe, and Eatonville. For more information, or to participate in this great international partnership opportunity by hosting a student or assisting with the group, read previous blog entries or contact J-VIPA Coordinator Mika Moore at 360-569-6527.
- Junior Ranger Assistants: Ohanapecosh has one of Mount Rainier's most popular campgrounds, but its visitor center staff is too small to provide Junior Ranger programs more often than a few times a week. Responsible volunteers who can make a regular commitment can help by extending this service considerably during the summer months, to the delight of visitors. For further information or to inquire about helping, contact District Interpreter Christine Czazasty at 360-569-6582.
- Lead Maintenance Volunteer: Are you good at carpentry, rockwork, utilities, or other maintenance skills? Do you enjoy working in a natural, outdoor setting? Do you enjoy working with people, leading and mentoring them on projects? Then you might be the person we're looking for to work as a full-time or intermittent volunteer within the maintenance division, with the eventual goal of taking responsibility for recruiting and leading volunteer projects in the field involving either small groups or individuals. For more information, contact Maintenance Supervisor Mitch Anderson at 360-569-6726; or Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov, or fill out an application online.
- Meadow Rovers: One of Mount Rainier's most popular--and critical--volunteer programs, Meadow Rovers patrol trails and viewpoints, mostly above Paradise and Sunrise, to educate visitors about the importance of staying on trails in those fragile environments. Volunteers also help with related projects, including marking trails as they melt out in the spring. For further information, contact Curt Jacquot, 360-569-6577; write to our Meadow Rover mailbox at MORA_Meadow_Rovers@nps.gov; read our online Meadow Rovers resource page or previous blog posts; or submit an online application.
- Nordic Patrol: One of the few active volunteer opportunities during Mount Rainier's snowy winter season is our Nordic Patrol. These valuable volunteers assist visitors, patrol trails on skis, mark routes, and help with emergencies. Rather than working with individual volunteers, the park has partnered with the Washington Ski Touring Club to provide its members for the winter ski patrol. For further information or to apply, contact WSTC through their website, or contact District Ranger Daniel Camiccia at 360-569-6652.
- Photographer: Mount Rainier's interpretive program needs high quality digital images for developing evening campfire presentations. Images of park programs, employees, and volunteers are needed to document the park's ongoing history and for publications ranging from this blog to visitor center exhibits. For more information, or to inquire about contributing to the park's image collection, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov.
- Public Outreach Volunteers: Mount Rainier's outreach program works with communities surrounding the park, and with programs that bring community members to the park. Volunteers can help. Every year, volunteers are needed to represent the park in the Eatonville 4th of July Parade, and at a booth throughout the duration of the Puyallup Fair. Volunteers may also be trained to help with groups visiting the park, or to represent the park at meetings with community groups throughout the region. For more information or to participate, contact Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov.
- Research Partnerships: Over the years, Mount Rainier National Park has benefited greatly from partnerships with graduate students and researchers from universities far and wide. There's no formal program to encourage such programs, but if your educational or research goals run parallel to our own, they may lead to a volunteer assignment or even internship sponsored at least in part by the park. Successful partnerships in the past have included the fields of archeology, geomorphology, aquatic ecology, and interpretation. If you have a proposal, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov.
- Search and Rescue: Mount Rainier National Park's initial response to emergencies is with its own employees. However, larger or longer incidents often require help from outside, and in these cases, we call on a wide range of existing partners, including local Search and Rescue teams like Tacoma Mountain Rescue, volunteer search dogs, and Fort Lewis. Mount Rainier does not work with individual search and rescue volunteers. If you'd like to help out in the event of emergencies, contact your local Search and Rescue unit and volunteer your services there. For more information, read previous blog entries or contact Chief Ranger Chuck Young at 360-569-6612.
- Seed Collection: All of the plants planted by restoration crews in Mount Rainier National Park were either salvaged from another location in the park or grown from seeds collected near the site of the restoration. Volunteers play an important role to gather these valuable seeds. Due to the sensitivity of subalpine meadows, groups must be kept small; and because seeds must be collected when they are mature (usually in late summer), but before they are scattered by natural processes, volunteers must be flexible in the dates they are available. If you'd like to participate as an individual or small group, contact greenhouse manager Josh Drown at 360-569-6767 or Josh_Drown@nps.gov.
- Wildlife Surveys: Mount Rainier National Park surveys and monitors many different species throughout the park, including various species of owl and waterfowl, mountain goats, and elk. A small number of volunteers help with these projects. While there are no current needs for additional volunteers, inquiries about future assistance can be directed to Wildlife Biologist Mason Reid at 360-569-6771.
- Winter Interpreters: Mount Rainier's interpretive program keeps the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise staffed and serving visitors on weekends and school holidays throughout the winter. Managing this effectively, especially during the busy period of Christmas break, is only possible with the help of volunteers, who are trained in mid-December to help at the information desk and assist with snowshoe walks. Overnight accommodations are provided. For more information, or to inquire about helping this winter, contact Paradise Interpreter Curt Jacquot at 360-569-6577 or Curt_Jacquot@nps.gov.
If you're looking for a volunteer job that will keep you busy full-time, this is the section for you. Some positions are being actively recruited through job postings on volunteer.gov, and will include a link to the online application form. Others are filled entirely through individual inquiries and correspondence as needs arise. Full-time positions are scarce and competition is fierce, so volunteers are often selected from those who have already expressed interest rather than through formal recruitment notices. If you see a position that interests you, first call the supervisor listed in the description and ask about current opportunities; then, send a resume and letter of interest to Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. Most full-time positions come with park housing, and some include a daily living allowance.
- Campground Hosts: Campground hosts assist visitors and perform minor campground maintenance duties at both the Ohanapecosh and Cougar Rock Campgrounds. The season is often split between two individuals or couples, with one serving the first half of the season and the other finishing it. These are some of our most popular and competitive positions. These positions are now being filled for the 2012 season. Applications are always welcome in case there are lasts-minute changes of plans, and we frequently share our applications with other national parks in the region. Hosts are also sought for White River Campground, though this campground has no hookups or dump station. For further information contact Debbie Hannevig, 360-569-6622, or submit an application online. You can also check out this nice web page put together by 2010 Ohanapecosh host Phill Vanderschaegen.
- Climbing Rangers: Many of the rangers who patrol the high mountain routes on Mount Rainier and staff the high camps are, in fact, dedicated and highly skilled volunteers. This is one of the most specialized duties volunteers perform at our national park. Volunteers also help in the park's Climber Information Center and patrol trails above Paradise to assist climbers and hikers. These are some of the most specialized positions in the park. For further information about upcoming opportunities, contact Lead Climbing Ranger Stefan Lofgren at 360-569-6642. Please note that only individuals with extensive climbing experience will be considered for jobs on the high climbing routes. Also check out Mount Rainier's climbing blog.
- Curatorial Assistants: Volunteers are essential for maintaining the park's massive collection of historical artifacts and documents. We are currently in the midst of a major project cataloging historical documents. It's often tedious work, often engrossing, and essential to preserving the rich history of the national park. For further information: Museum Curator Brook Childrey, 360-569-6784, or read about this job on previous blog posts. We are currently seeking four volunteers for summer 2012. Fill out an online application here.
- Emergency Roadside Assistance: At Mount Rainier's busiest locations, Paradise and Sunrise, volunteers help by patroling parking lots and local roads and trails, assisting visitors, directing traffic, and helping with lockouts, emergencies, and jump starts. Volunteers also help to extend the season at Sunrise in the fall, when the availability of seasonal rangers is short. These positions are currently being recruited for 2012. For more information, contact Jordan Mammel, 360-569-6683, or read previous blog posts.
- Environmental Education Teachers: Mount Rainier's education program provides curriculum-based experiences for school groups in the spring and fall, and is busy during the summer hosting workshops for teachers or developing curricula. Interns are often hired through the Student Conservation Association (though no positions are currently advertised), and professional educators can also gain experience as a summer ranger through the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program.
- Geographic Information Systems: GIS skills are often needed in conjunction with specific projects, and in these cases may be hired through the volunteer program or though internships with the Student Conservation Association or local colleges. No such positions are currently advertised. For more information about the park's GIS program, contact Darin Swinney at 360-569-6551.
- Longmire Volunteer Campground Manager: The hosts of the Longmire Campground are responsible for scheduling and coordinating use of the campground by volunteers and other visiting special groups. They maintain and clean campsites, platform tents, and a small bath house, and supervise individual and group volunteer projects (see Historic Campground Restoration above). An individual or couple may be hired for either all of the season or a portion of it. 2011's campground hosts will be returning for the 2012 season. For further information about future opportunities, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567.
- Meadow Rover Assistants: During the summer of 2011, we're hiring two experienced Meadow Rovers to help manage the Meadow Rover programs at Paradise and Sunrise. We're looking for a commitment of 32-40 hours per week, and housing will be provided in the Sunrise bunkhouse and at Longmire or Tahoma Woods. At this point, last year's coordinators are planning to return for 2012; but if you'd like to be considered for future openings, contact Christine Czazasty at 360-569-6582 or Curt Jacquot at 360-569-6577.
- Roadside Cleanup: As you drive along the park roads during the summer, you may see a few volunteers in safety vests along the side, collecting the bits of trash that accumulate there over time. These faithful volunteers keep the park looking like a park, and protect it from the effects of non-biodegradable trash. Over the years they've found amazing things in the ditches and ravines along the roads: even a washing machine once! We do not expect to hire additional individuals in this role in 2012; however, during major project days like National Public Lands Day, we often branch out with drop-in projects for groups and individuals on the National Forest Service roads surrounding the park. For more information, contact Dale Harvard at 360-569-6728 or Kevin Bacher at 360-569-6567.
- Visitor Services Interns: Mount Rainier's interpretive staff hires a few volunteers for season-long positions at Paradise, Ohanapecosh, or Sunrise. Some of these positions are hired as interns through the Student Conservation Association or Geologic Society of America. These positions have all been filled for 2012, but we are open to inquiries for future years. For more information, contact District Interpreter Lee Snook, 360-569-6576.
- Volunteer Coordinators: Mount Rainier's volunteer program currently hires a six-month intern through the Student Conservation Association to help manage an operation that coordinates nearly 2,000 volunteers every year. We also hire "embedded" volunteer coordinators, who work within an existing park program but have special duties of recruiting, training, and coordinating volunteers in the areas of Trails and Citizen Science. These internships were posted on the SCA website, and can be found by searching for "Mount Rainier."
- Wilderness and Climber Information Centers: Several volunteers assist seasonal rangers in the park's Wilderness Information Centers and Climber Information Centers. These volunteers assist visitors in planning their backcountry trips and issuing permits, and must have extensive knowledge and experience about the park's network of wilderness trails, especially the Wonderland Trail. For further information, contact West District Ranger Daniel Camiccia, 360-569-6652; East District Ranger Geoff Walker, 360-569-6671; or Lead Climbing Ranger Stefan Lofgren, 360-569-6642.
We hire many of our full-time positions through partnerships with other organizations. In these cases, the recruitment, and sometimes hiring, is done by the partner, not by us. Still, these are excellent ways to get experience in a national park, working alongside park rangers, for terms lasting from two weeks to twelve months. Internships usually come with a modest stipend and housing, and often are eligible for college credit and/or scholarships through the Americorps program.
- Conservation Leadership Corps: The Student Conservation Association (SCA) recruits teams of high school age students, usually from urban populations like Seattle, to participate in guided outdoor leadership-building experiences, culminating with a 15-day volunteer project at a setting like Mount Rainier. Most crews work on trail maintenance or construction projects, but others have also served on the park's restoration crew. Depending on funding, we hope to work with at least one CLC crew this summer at Mount Rainier. SCA also fields crews of students as young as 14 on projects throughout the country. For more information about Community Programs like CLC, contact the Student Conservation Association.
- Conservation Internships: Mount Rainier National Park offers many opportunities for student internships. The majority are through the Student Conservation Association, which recruits primarily but not exclusively for high school and college age youth. Seach for internships nationwide, including those at Mount Rainier, on SCA's website, or contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher for more information at 360-569-6567 or Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. Positions are usually advertised in January or February. Most hiring is done in early spring. Positions we're filling this summer include volunteer coordinators, environmental educators, and wilderness patrol rangers. Other recent internships hired through SCA have include the fields of amphibian survey, backcountry patrol, citizen science, climate change, environmental education, fish survey, geographic information systems, geomorphology, interpretation, lake research, native habitat restoration, outreach, public safety, seach and rescue, trail construction, vegetation mapping, visitor services, volunteer coordination, and wilderness inventory and monitoring.
- Geoscientists-in-Parks: Every year, Mount Rainier hires interns through the Geological Society of America to work alongside other interpreters assisting visitors in the park's visitor centers, leading guided walks, and presenting programs. Our geomorphology program usually hires an additional intern or two to help with field research. These positions are specifically targeted to students or educators in the field of geology. To apply, visit GSA's website. Positions were announced December 1, 2011, with applications due by February 1, 2012.
- Public Lands Corps: Mount Rainier's trails program often works with the Washington Conservation Corps or EarthCorps, as needed and as funding is available. Joining one of these crews can be a great way to get out into public lands throughout the state, including Mount Rainier. To inquire about current plans for working with these groups at Mount Rainier, contact Trails Foreman Jim Ziolkowski at 360-569-6631.
- Teacher-Ranger-Teachers: Are you a classroom teacher looking for a unique experience during the summer? How about helping with Mount Rainier's education or interpretation programs for a few weeks or months? Positions are advertised over the winter on Mount Rainier National Park's education website and have been filled for 2012. For more information, including plans for 2013, contact Education Specialist Fawn Bauer at 360-569-6591.
- University Internships: Many programs in the park hire interns directly through local universities through a cooperative agreement. In recent years, we've worked with The Evergreen State College, the University of Washington, and Northwestern University in our field biology and education programs. In addition, research internships often benefit both the park and an individual with specific interests. Recent interns from Cornell and Oregon State Universities have completed projects in wildlife and biology and public safety. For more information and to explore options, contact Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher at 360-569-65671; or call Barbara Samora in the park's biology program at 360-569-6751.
This list of positions is never all-inclusive. In fact, there have been many volunteer positions over the years that have existed for a time, and then gone away when the need was met. Watch our volunteer blog, or write to volunteer coordinator Kevin Bacher at Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov and ask to join our mailing list, to keep up with these special opportunities. Here's a list of recent examples. The ones *starred* were active in 2011:
- Accessibility assessment
- Administrative assistant
- Archeology assistant*
- Backcountry maintenance*
- Camp cook
- Campground maintenance
- Climate Change Intern
- Corvid surveys
- CPR/First aid trainer*
- Culvert clearing
- Engineering design
- Erosion control
- Exhibit installation*
- Fire equipment maintenance*
- Glacier surveys*
- Historic architecture intern*
- Historic rock wall restoration
- Historical research
- Japanese interpreter
- Korean translation
- Landscape painting
- Management planning*
- Natural resources office assistant*
- Night sky (astronomy) interpretation*
- Oral history interviewer
- Photo database manager
- Public safety research*
- Snow play ranger
- Stream surveys*
- Transportation studies*
- Van driver
- Video production
- Wilderness cleanup
- Youth programs assistant*