Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Volunteer Opportunties for summer 2015 (Updated)

If you're looking for ways to volunteer at Mount Rainier National Park, there are still abundant opportunities available! All but one of our full-time positions have been filled, as of this writing, but short-term and recurring options are possible almost every weekend. Here's a quick summary:

Longmire Campground Manager: Full Time, May 22-September 28 or a portion thereof. Serve as a host at the Longmire Volunteer Campground, making reservations, checking campers in and out, performing general maintenance and cleaning, and helping with volunteer projects. Housing options include an RV site with hookups, or an apartment adjacent to the campground. Apply at Volunteer.gov or contact Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Campground Opening: Options are available for small groups to help with general campground opening and maintenance next week only at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campground, May 11-15. Contact Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov ASAP if you're interested.

Mount Rainier National Park Associates: Our community partner is hosting volunteer projects monthly throughout the summer: trail maintenance on May 16, June 13, and August 15; invasive species removal on July 11; and revegetation planting on September 12. Visit their website at mrnpa.org to learn more, or contact volunteer (at) mrnpa.org.

Trail Maintenance: The Washington Trails Association will be leading trail maintenance projects throughout the summer, on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from June 6 through September 6.  Visit their website at wta.org to learn more and to sign up for an upcoming project. (Note that they usually don't post projects until they're within about three weeks out, but projects will be occurring every weekend.) WTA also has limited space in week-long volunteer vacations throughout the summer.

Spring Trail Opening: Getting trails open every spring is a huge task that involves marking the proper trail location with wands, ropes, and shoveled steps, and maintaining the route as it melts out. This keeps people hiking over the snow in the same place that the trail will be when the snow melts, and reduces damage to the underlying meadows. We're still working out details of the program this year, but if you're interested in participating, send a note to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Meadow Rovers: Meadow Roving is one of our most popular recurring volunteer opportunities. Hike the trails above Paradise and Sunrise, assist visitors, and educate them about the importance of staying on the trails, not feeding the wildlife, and being prepared for changing conditions. Set your own schedule in coordination with our Meadow Rover Manager, and come up as often as you like. Group training will most likely be held on June 13 (note that this is a change from earlier announcements), and individual training will be available throughout the season. Apply at volunteer.gov, or send questions to MORA_Meadow_Rovers (at) nps.gov.

MeadoWatch: Contribute to research as a Citizen Scientist! Trained volunteers coordinate their schedules with our MeadoWatch manager to hike transects at Paradise and White River, observing which flowers are in bloom or gone to seed, to help scientists map out trends in response to changing climate. Find out more at meadowatch.org, and sign up there to attend training either at the University of Washington on May 16 June 10 (updated) or at Mount Rainier National Park on June 13. Questions can be sent to mwatch (at) uw.edu.

Amphibian Surveys: Another Citizen Science opportunity takes out deep into Mount Rainier's backcountry to survey frogs, salamanders, and aquatic insects, providing park scientists with baseline data and population trends over time. Training will be offered in late June or early July, and you can sign up then for trips throughout the summer. To get on our mailing list for more information as the season approaches, sign up at volunteer.gov or send an e-mail to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Cascades Butterfly Survey: Our third Citizen Science program takes out out on trails throughout the Cascades, between Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, to collect and identify butterflies. Learn more about the program, its training dates, and research locations, at their Yahoo group at groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/cascadesbutterfly/info; or get on their mailing list by filling out an application at volunteer.gov or sending a note to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Greenhouse: Volunteers help at Mount Rainier's greenhouse by potting, repotting, and weeding plants throughout the summer. Because this is a delicate process that requires patience and precision, our staff request that you commit to a regular schedule of visits. Plants grown in the greenhouse are later planted in restoration plots around the mountain. Apply through volunteer.gov, or contact Josh_Drown (at) nps.gov with questions.

Revegetation: Join our restoration crews throughout the month of September to plant native plants in areas that require revegetation. A primary site will be in the meadows above Sunrise, but other locations may be visited as well. Put September 12 and 26 on your calendar for sure, but volunteers are welcome to join our crews on other dates by prior arrangement. Send inquiries to Julie_Hover (at) nps.gov.

Visitor Surveys: Every July, Mount Rainier National Park hands out visitor surveys to track how well we're doing at meeting visitor service needs. Volunteers help by taking four-hour shifts at locations throughout the park. It's an easy way to get involved for a single day and make a difference! Our survey schedule will be announced soon, so get on the mailing list by sending a note to Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov.

4th of July Parade: Here's a fun one: help represent Mount Rainier National Park by marching in the annual Independence Day Parade in Eatonville, Washington, at noon on the 4th. Show your support! Contact Jim_Ross (at) nps.gov to volunteer.

Washington State Fair: Another way to represent Mount Rainier is to take a shift in our booth at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. Volunteers are needed for 3-4 hour shifts throughout the run of the fair, September 11-27, and receive free entrance and parking in return for their contribution. Contact Jim_Ross (at) nps.gov to sign up.

Shadows of the Past: Our annual Living History program at Longmire will be the evening of Saturday, August 22. Volunteers are needed to carry lanterns, help with makeup, and even to portray characters from the park's past. If you're interested in participating, contact Curt_Jacquot (at) nps.gov to sign up.

National Public Lands Day: Our biggest volunteer day of the year happens on September 26. Volunteer projects will be available throughout the park; past events have included campground maintenance and construction, trail maintenance, revegetation, and wilderness cleanup. Watch our blog for details, or send a note to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov to get on our mailing list!

Historic and Backcountry Maintenance: Do you have special skills, such as carpentry or historic restoration? Are you interested in spending a day in a beautiful setting, painting a historic cabin or fire lookout? Such opportunities are available intermittently throughout the summer. Contact Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov to express interest and get on our mailing list.

Winter Opportunities: Winter is a much slower time for volunteers, but if you enjoy skiing and snowshoeing, our Nordic Patrol and Snow Rover programs may be of interest. Visit the Washington Ski Touring Club at www.wstc.org to learn about Nordic Patrol, or send a note to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov to get on the mailing list for next winter.

Full Time Positions Next Summer: Next year will bring a new set of full-time opportunities, including a wide range of internships through the Student Conservation Association and Geologic Society of America, campground host positions at all of our campgrounds, curatorial assistants, and patrol volunteers. Watch our volunteer job listings at http://www.nps.gov/mora/getinvolved/volunteer.htm!

Mailing list: If you'd like to receive notices in your mail box once a month during the summer, updating you about new opportunities, simply send a note to Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov!

Learn more in person: Attend our annual Volunteer Brunch at the Tacoma Mountaineers Clubhouse to talk to Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher in person about volunteer opportunities!

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the trails!

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