Volunteering Opportunities

RM: Wildlife | RM: Plants & Habitat | NPA: Gardens & Trails | PO: Kids | PO: Adults |
FR: Birds | FR: Aquatics | FR: Insects | FR: Water |
Make Your Own Mid-Coast Service Opp | See Service Opps from State | 

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VMS Help here! || Opportunities & Codes here! || Report here! 

Resource Management: Wildlife

Bird Rescue & Rehabilitation

Volunteers gather bait fish for food, transport birds, administer medications, and other tasks. Report as RM: Other Locations. Specify rehabber in the description.

  • Rockport area: Wings Rescue Center—Hotline: 361-205-0892. Care about birds? Like to chop things up? WRC desperately needs volunteers. If you can help, please contact Rachael L. Diaz at 361-229-5484. See Facebook page for more information.
  • Bay City area—Contact Cherie Allen by email or call 979-245-4392
  • South End area—The ARK—Contact Andi Wickham-Roweor call 361-749-6793
  • To find a rehabber in your area, check the TPWD website

Cold-Stunned Sea Turtle Rescue

Every winter, cold weather causes endangered sea turtles to need rescue, rehabilitation, and release. More Information

Even if you are not in the project, you can help. To report cold-stunned turtles, call or text 361-949-8173 ext. 266. After-hour Reports: 361-876-8462.

Rookeries Clean Up and Preparation for Nesting

Volunteer opportunity to remove debris, add nesting platforms, and place signs at local rookeries. Rookeries may have trash that is not conducive to nesting and may be missing signs to inform local residents of bird habitats and to keep people off the rookeries during nesting. These improvements will maximize nesting opportunities. This program is sponsored by Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program. To find out where help is needed or to volunteer, contact David Newstead, CBBEP Director of Bird Conservation, 361-336-0312. Report as RM: Other Locations. Specify site in the description.

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Along with species that have been afforded legal protection (Federal and State Listed Species) due to risk of extinction, Texas hosts well over 1,300 species that are considered to be Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Native animals or plants designated as a SGCN are generally those that are declining or rare and in need of attention to recover or to prevent the need to list under state or federal regulation. These species are the focus of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Conservation Action Plan and guide the department’s nongame conservation efforts.

  • Texas Nature Trackers: Target Species
  • Get Involved:
    Join Texas Nature Trackers Projects on iNaturalist – Report as FR: TPWD
    Attend a TNT workshop– Report as AT: Specific Project
    Learn your Target Species – Report as FR: TPWD
    Compile a Missing Species Report – Report as FR: TPWD
    Monitor a Population – Report as FR: TPWD

Interested? Check out the links and contact Tania Homayoun or call 512-389-8253.

Resource Management: Plants & Habitat

Goliad State Park Invasive Species Removal

Beginning Feb 15, 2019—TPWD Goliad State Historic Park has received a grant for removal of invasive Guineagrass, Castor Bean, Huisache, and Mesquite from targeted areas within the Park. The grant requires 85 total volunteer hours and has a deadline of August 31, 2019. Volunteers will be trained in herbicide application and equipment use. Contact Claire Barnhart for more information or to volunteer. Report training as AT: Specific-Project and any work on the project as RM: Goliad SP.

2019 Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup

Feb 23, 8:00 am, meet at Malaquite Visitor’s Center, Padre Island National Seashore. Park admission fee will be waived for cleanup volunteers. More information. Report as RM: Other Locations and specify Big Shell Beach.

Nurdle Patrol!

Nurdles are small plastic pellets that are the basis of everything plastic. They look like food to animals, and they absorb other toxins in the environment so can be deadly to some animals. Nurdle Patrol is a Gulf-wide citizen-science project looking to gather information about where nurdles are located across the Gulf of Mexico, remove them from the environment, and create awareness about the nurdle issue. See a training video. To participate in collecting data:

  • Find the high tide line with nurdles
  • Collect nurdles for 10 minutes
  • Write down number of nurdles collected, location, and date
  • Take a picture of nurdles
  • Email data 

Done! Report as FR: Mission-Aransas NERR with “Nurdle Patrol” in the description

Want to see nurdle data being collected day by day across the Gulf of Mexico? Join the Nurdle Patrol Facebook Group.

Coastal Bend Live Oak/Red Bay Community Restoration

Volunteers are needed to source, collect, propagate, and distribute plants native to the Coastal Bend Live Oak/Red Bay Community for the restoration of public or private lands after Hurricane Harvey. This community is an imperiled plant community that occupies the maritime forest habitat of our coastal landscape. Hurricane Harvey had a significant impact on this habitat. This will be a multi-year project. The project includes education about the decline of the Live Oak/Red Bay Community and methods for propagating native plants from locally available sources. Seedlings will be given to public and private landowners for restoration of this community and restoration projects. TPWD will provide guidance and education for the restoration phase of the project, and Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Proram will provide funding. For more information or to volunteer, contact the Projects Director. Report as RM: other locations and specify county.

Port A Nature Preserves Invader Removal

Want to help improve the natural areas of Port Aransas? Contact Colleen Simpson, Nature Preserve Manager, (361)749-0081. Activities may include killing Brazilian Pepper trees or performing other tasks that will enhance preserve habitat. Report as RM: Other Locations and state preserve name. This project is sponsored by the Texas Gulf Region Cooperative Weed Management Area. If you are interested in joining the CWMA or participating in training or other events of the group, contact Colleen.  

Texas Invaders Volunteer Opportunity

Do you want to help slow the spread of harmful invasive plant species and reduce their ecological and economic damage? The first step is to locate where invaders have arrived and get that information to those who can do something about it.

  1. Check out the Texas Invaders website and take the online training or find out when and where the next local training is being held. (Report as AT: for specific project.)
  2. Download the free Texas Invaders app for your phone and go for it!
  3. Contact the Mid-Coast Invaders coordinator for more information or OJT  
  4. Report as FR: Other Partners and specify Texas Invaders in the description.

Nature Public Access: Gardens and Trails

Aransas First Properties

Aransas First is a 501(c)3 corporation acting as a Land Trust. Its purpose is to identify, acquire, and protect sensitive Coastal Bend habitat essential to the nurture of birds, wildlife, and people as well as to increase public awareness of ecosystems unique to the Live Oak Peninsula/Ingleside Barrier through education, access, and participation. Volunteers are needed to develop/clear/mow trails, remove invasive vegetation, and clean up as needed at Aransas First properties:

  • Aransas Woods
  • Cove Harbor Boardwalk and wetlands
  • Myrtle Street Wetland
  • Woods Beachfront and Dunes-Mustang Island

Call Earl Matthew at 361-790-3074 for more information or to volunteer. Report as RM: Other Locations and specify the property in the description.

Aransas Pathways Pollinator Gardens & Trails

Aransas Pathways properties in Rockport will have a continuing need for volunteers to create and maintain pollinator gardens, Monarch Waystations, prairie restoration, and add local native plants to the trails. Workdays and project leaders:

Report as NPA: Aransas Pathways with the site name in the description.

Boggy Nature Park, Port O’Connor

Boggy Nature Park is approximately 85 acres on Boggy Bayou outside Port O’Connor, TX. Immediate needs are: identifying plants, suggesting habitat improvements, and TMN counsel and advice in supporting these unique public lands. Long-range work may include planting native plants, removing invasives, and improving public access. To be in on the ground floor of habitat improvement and park enhancement,  contact Allan Berger. Reporting is task-dependent.

MCBNC Butterfly Garden

Help is needed in the Butterfly Garden at the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center in Bay City. Volunteers can help with clearing out invasives, replanting with appropriate native plants, and regular maintenance. Monthly 3rd-Saturday workdays are scheduled, or volunteers can choose their own time to work. Contact Janet Price for more details. Report as NPA: MCBNC

Goose Island State Park & Big Tree Natural Area

Birding Observation Platform & Gardens: Help with native landscaping and maintenance. Report as NPA: Other locations and specify loction

Invasives Removal: Get rid of invasive species. Report as RM: Goose Island

Trail Work: Maintain Goose Island trails and developing trails in the new Big Tree Natural Area to allow the public easier access. Please report as NPA: Other locations and specify Goose Island or Big Tree Natural Area when you report.

Contact Sarah Nordlof (361-729-2858) for more information, to volunteer, or to find out other volunteer opportunities at Goose Island. 

Public Outreach: Kids

Port O’Connor Elementary School Native Plant Garden

Volunteers are needed to work with 4th Grade Students to develop a native plant garden in the school yard of the Port O’Connor Elementary School. The general purpose of the project is to educate students and teachers about native plants and provide some exposure to the TMN program, as well as to increase native habitat and pollinator plants. To volunteer, contact Brigid Berger.

Skills required are the ability to work well with children, patience, and good communication skills. Participants should bring their own tools and gloves. Report as NPA: Other locations and specify Port O’Connor in the description.

Port O’Connor Elementary Wildlife and Environmental Education

Help provide education programs about local wildlife and the environment to Port O’Connor Elementary school children. Specific programs will be developed with the science teacher. Texas Wildlife Association provides trunks with lesson plans, activities, and supplies. For more information, contact Brigid Berger. Report as TR: Other Organizations and specify Port O’Connor in the description.

Children’s Discovery Museum, Victoria

Be a Discovery Docent on the Exhibit Floor: opportunities available Tuesday through Sunday at your convenience after you complete training. 

Present an Activity for S.T.E.A.M. Studio Tuesday-Saturday at 2:00 pm. S.T.E.A.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics! Families are invited to explore the how, what, where, and why of the world around them at this facilitated, interactive workshop. Present a brief activity such as a craft, science demonstration, or hands-on experience. Designed for ages 6-10.

Interested? Contact CDM for training dates. CDM is located at 1205 Sam Houston Drive, Victoria, TX 77901. Check out the CDM website for more information. Report as PO: Other Events/Partners and specify CDM

Texas Zoo, Victoria

Check out Volunteering at the Texas Zoo to see how you might help. Reporting is task-dependent.

Public Outreach: Adults

Academy of Lifelong Learning “TMN Tuesday” Class Series

Mid-Coast Master Naturalists have had fun presenting at ALL and the demand for more is high. Consider providing a class or outing for the next semester. Class ideas are limitless! To find out requested topics or to volunteer, contact Brigid Berger (713-825-1929). Report as TR: Other Organizations and specify ALL in the description.

HummerBird Celebration Events

The Rockport-Fulton HummerBird Celebration is held each year in September. There are many opportunities to do volunteer service at this event, including:

  • MCTMN Plant Sale (Report as PO: MCTMN Plant sale)
  • MCTMN Outreach Booth (CB: /Recruiting, or PO:H/BC if providing education to visitors)
  • Native Plant Society Butterfly tent (PO:H/BC)
  • Staffing the ANWR FAMI Booth (PO: ANWR)

Watch this space for more information as it is developed.

MCTMN Outreach Booth Staffing

Volunteers will promote TMN or provide nature-related activities to kids or adults at various sites around our Mid-Coast Chapter area. Contact the Communications Director with the date(s) and location(s) you are interested in covering and to arrange to get equipment and materials. Report as CB: Chapter Business/Recruiting if you are only recruiting new members, or PO: Other Events/Partners and specify event if you are providing education to booth visitors.

Mid-Coast Chapter Speakers Bureau

If you are already making presentations to local groups as a Master Naturalist, or would like to, we would like know about you and be able to contact you if a group requests a speaker. Please contact Communications. Report preparation and presentations as TR: Other Organizations and specify in the description.

Mid-Coast Website or Newsletter Writer

Know something that other Chapter members would like to know about? Write it up and send it to Communications. Don’t think you can write? List what happened in chronological order, and we’ll write it up for you and get your okay before publishing. Report as PO: Incidental

Mid-Coast TMN Library Education and Outreach

Like to make posters? Talk to your local library and then go for it. Buy a science-project display board and create a static display to help with our TMN mission: “…provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our communities.” The topic is up to you: teach an environmental subject, display photos of TMN activities; the sky is the limit. An additional benefit is the opportunity to publicize what we do and recruit for our Chapter. Report as PO: Incidental

Mission-Aransas NERR Opportunities

These opportunities are on hold until Hurricane Harvey repair is completed. For information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Pringle (361-749-3153) or see the website. Report as PO: Mission-Aransas NERR and specify the site in the description

Bay Education Center, Rockport: serve as a docent at the center when it reopens.

Estuary Explorium, Port Aransas: As a Docent at the Explorium, you can make a difference in educating the public about the importance of estuaries when it reopens. 

Wetlands Education Center, Port Aransas: Volunteers are needed to lead guided tours of the Wetlands Education Center on Tuesdays at 10:00 am when it reopens.

Volunteer with the Mission-Aransas NERR research! Reporting is task-dependent

Field Research: Birds

American Oystercatcher Monitoring

Monitor wherever there are nesting oystercatchers February–July. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) will provide data sheets & training, data repository & analysis. Monitor nesting birds, fill out a form, send in data. More information. Report as FR: Bird Populations; specify location when reporting.

ANWR Birding Surveys

Volunteers are needed to perform monthly bird surveys at the Refuge August–May. We meet at 7:30 am at the HQ parking lot, usually on the last Saturday of the month. We walk the Rail Trail and Heron Flats Trail, check out the fishing pier, the tower, and the auto loop. After the field work, we meet at HQ to complete reporting. We usually bird until 1 pm and are finished by 3 pm. To volunteer, please contact Janet PriceBeginning birders are welcome; it’s a great way to learn. Come for all or part of the day. Bring bug spray, plenty of water, and lunch/snacks. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify ANWR.

Buff-Breasted Sandpiper Surveys

Watch this space for information about 2019 dates. Contact Bob Friedrichs for more information or to get on the list as a volunteer. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify county location in the description.

Carbide Colony Bird Census: Dow-Seadrift

Amanda Urbano is ready to kick off these bird counts. If you’re interested in helping conduct bird counts at the rookery at Dow-Seadrift, contact Amanda Rocha Urbano. She will make arrangements for you to come during business hours to watch the Dow safety video and sign a waiver. This is your chance to visit a limited-access site; Amanda is allowed to escort only 1-2 volunteers at a time. She plans to start in February and go through the nesting/breeding season (Aug/Sept) as weather permits. The most likely days for counts will be Fridays-Sundays. Dow also participates in the Christmas bird count, and Amanda can arrange for you to participate if you’re interested. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify DOW in the description.

Gulf-Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Program

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) and American Bird Conservancy are expanding our beach-nesting bird conservation to include nesting Wilson’s and Snowy Plovers and Least Terns in Brazoria and Matagorda Counties. This project will allow us to protect beach- and island-nesting sites with the long-term conservation outcome of maintaining or increasing their nesting success and long-term survival. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify location.

A large part of this project is outreach to educate beach-users about beach-nesting birds. Volunteer Bird Stewards will monitor birds and help with outreach on busy weekends and holidays. The stewards will help ensure people don’t wander into posted areas and will tell beach-goers about the birds, allowing them to see the birds and their young up close from a safe distance through a spotting scope and binoculars. Report as PO: Other Events/Partners

If you are want to help, please contact Amanda Anderson or Susan Heath.

Integrated Waterbird Monitoring and Management

The Integrated Waterbird Monitoring and Management (IWMM) protocol is a national USFWS effort to monitor waterbirds and provide decision support for their habitat management. The purpose of implementing this protocol at ANWR through Mar/Apr 2019 is to monitor bird use of and response to different habitat management treatments being implementing in the moist soil units at Myrtle Foester Whitmire. Waterfowl is the number two biological priority at Aransas, so the plan is to spend a significant amount of time over the next couple of years getting things on track at Whitmire. The need is for 1‑2 volunteers to conduct the survey once every other week at Whitmire. Ideally, they would pick up a truck the same day every other week and go there to start the survey a little after sunrise. Spotting scopes and binoculars can be provided. Data will be entered on a tablet during the 5 +/- 2 hour survey, so little or no data entry is required after the survey. Survey time will vary depending on the number of waterbirds to be counted. Volunteers should be able to:

  • Identify waterbird species
  • Estimate large numbers of waterbirds using recommended techniques
  • Follow survey protocols

Familiarity with the American Ornithologists’ Union four-letter Alpha codes is helpful when conducting this waterbird survey. Contact: Laura Bonneau, USFWS/ANWR, for more information. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify location.

TERN Rookery & Foraging Monitoring

The Texas Estuarine Research Network (TERN) seeks to engage the public through citizen science monitoring of  colonial waterbird rookeries and waterbird foraging habitat. The Mid-Coast Chapter is helping Audubon to spread this program along the entire Texas Gulf Coast. Data collected through the program will provide valuable information for agencies and organizations working to protect birds and bird habitats. Details will be forthcoming at training sessions. Report as FR: Bird Populations and specify location.

Whooping Crane Pond Monitoring

Whooping Crane (WHCR) Monitoring using game cameras began Feb 1, 2019 and may continue for several winters. Game cameras will be located on private property with ponds that are of potential use by WHCR. Cameras will be set to take one photo every 5 minutes during daylight hours.Volunteers are needed to examine each photo to detect and report WHCR use of the ponds. The International Crane Foundation (ICF) will provide cameras, SD cards, & other support as required.

Skills required are the ability to identify and interpret WHCR use of ponds from digital photos. Equipment required is a PC with good image-processing capability and MS Excel. Project results will assist in the management of WHCR habitat. If interested, contact Ray Kirkwood. Report as FR: Bird Populations and include ICF in the description.

Whooper Watch—Lamar

ICF and Dr. Liz Smith want to gather data about whooping cranes using Lamar peninsula. Volunteers are needed to monitor cranes at various locations and report date, time of day, number of cranes, estimated age (adult, juvenile), bands, and behavior. Data may provide insight into changing behaviors of these urbanized birds. This project will gather data over several winters. Email Anna Turkett, Volunteer Coordinator, for more information. Report as FR: Bird Populations  and specify ICF in the description.

Field Research: Aquatic Life

American Eel Monitoring

TPWD needs your help to collect data on juvenile American eels to assist in the conservation and management of this unique species. Study sites will be identified in tidal streams and estuaries of the lower Sabine, Colorado, and Guadalupe River Basins along the mid-upper Texas Coast. Volunteers will:

  • Deploy eel mops at sites such as boat ramps, fishing piers, or bulkheads in tidal streams and estuaries
  • Check mops every two weeks for eels
  • Record catch on provided datasheets
  • Email or mail datasheets to TPWD

Email Stephen Curtis or call 512-754-6844 ext. 221 for more information or to volunteer. Report as FR: Aquatic Life and specify location in the description.

Field Research: Insects

Monarchs—TPWD Nature Tracker—Monarch Watch

Help monitor and support the Monarch butterfly. TPWD’s new Monarch Butterfly page contains a lot of information with links to projects and other organizations. Note the Pollinators of Texas Fact Sheets and Texas Monarch and Native Pollinator Conservation Plan.

  • Report Monarch sightings at Journey North
  • Create butterfly habitats
  • Identify and propagate Texas milkweeds

Check out other Nature Tracker volunteer opportunities. All TPWD Nature Tracker VMS Reporting Codes–FR: TPWD

Bees and Wasps of Texas

The purpose of this project of the Texas Native Bee Co-op and TPWD is to improve understanding of the distribution of pollinator bees and wasps in Texas, an important conservation issue. To participate, register with iNaturalist and then join project “Bees and Wasps of Texas.” 

Take photos of bees and wasps, recording location, date, and time of day. Log in to iNaturalist Bees and Wasps of Texas. Click Add observations and follow instructions to fill in the form and upload the photo. Report as FR: Insect Life and specify location. Professionals and competent amateurs follow entries and enjoy helping you improve your species ID skills.

Bumblebee Watch

Despite their critical roles in agriculture and natural ecosystems, bumblebees have gone virtually unstudied in Texas. There is a real need to evaluate the status of these insects in our state to assess how their populations are faring and if conservation actions are needed. A first step in this process is simply recording where species are today and if they still occur in the same places they did years ago. Contribute to this process photographing bumblebees, recording date and location, and submitting the photo online. Visit Texas Bumblebees to learn more about this endeavor and how you can contribute. Report as FR: Insect Life and specify Bumblebee Watch and location in the description.

Butterfly Count

Join NABA’s Butterfly Count Program so scientists studying butterfly distribution and population fluctuations will have the benefit of important data from our area. For more information about how to start a count and about the program in general, please visit NABA’s websitesend an email, or call national headquarters: 973-285-0907. Location of counts and contact information for their compilers. Report as FR: Insect Life and specify Butterfly Count and location.

Roseau Cane (Common Reed) Scale-Mapping

This project will survey Common Reed (Phragmites australis) for presence of the scale insects. The survey is fairly simple, asking only a coordinate of the point that was sampled, whether scale was present, and a photograph of the scale and cane that will be used to verify reports.

The scale has been identified around Corpus Christi and Port Arthur. The survey attempts to discover where else along the coast it infested. Roseau scale are tiny wingless insects that can only move short distances, so more infestation must exist between LA and CC. LSU is spearheading the effort and their website has the most information about it. The survey is hosted by Qualtrics and can be accessed here. Report as FR: Insect Life and specify Roseau Cane and location.

Field Research: Water

Texas Stream Team

Texas Stream Team is a network of trained citizen monitors and supportive partners working together to gather information about the natural resources of Texas and to ensure the information is available to all Texans. Currently, hundreds of Texas Stream Team citizen monitors collect water quality data on lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, bays, bayous, and estuaries in Texas. More information. Report as FR: TPWD and check the Texas Waters Specialist box on the form if you have taken that training.

Make Your Own Mid-Coast Volunteer Opportunity

State Service Opportunities by E-Mail

The Texas Master Naturalist Listserv is a communications medium hosted by Texas A&M at no charge to provide quick distribution of items pertinent to Texas Master Naturalists. To sign up, please follow these instructions:

  1. Complete the TMN Listserv Sign-up form (no fee; you may unsubscribe at any time)
  2. Click the SUBMIT button on the form
  3. You will receive a confirmation request from Listserv. You must reply or you will not be added to the Listserv.
  4. You will receive announcements automatically to the email from which you signed up. If your email address changes, you will need to register again.

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