Volunteering Opportunities

American Eel Monitoring | Children’s Discovery Museum | Outreach Booth Staffing |  
 Lamar Whooper Watch | TMN Tuesday Presenters | Aransas Pathways 
Bird Populations Field ResearchBBSA coming soon! | TPWD Nature Tracker | | Make Your Own Opportunity

Too many to list all—Scroll down the page!

Check out Partner Pages:

Aransas National Wildlife RefugeCalhoun County AgriLifeColeto Creek Park
Mad Island Marsh PreserveNueces Delta PreserveWelder Wildlife Foundation

Found a new volunteer effort that meets Guidelines and is not already on the list of Volunteer Service Opportunities that have already been approved? Submit an approval request form!

Report here! TMN Hours Entry Login  ||  Get VMS Help here! VMS Links  ||  VMS Opportunity List

Coleto Creek School Groups—New!

The Coleto Creek Park is hosting two Victoria Elementary School groups for Nature Studies on April 25 and 26.  The Park is in need of a Master Naturalist to lead the Land Ecosystems (nature hike) or Water Ecosystems (freshwater ecology) Station.  Wilfred Korth can do either one, so if someone can help out they can choose which station they want to work and he will do the other.  If someone is interested in helping but hesitant on what to do, Wilfred will meet them at the Park to help train them to do either station.

Contact Wilfred Korth by email or 361-542-0374 if you would like to volunteer or have any additional questions.

Abandoned Crab Trap Removal

Abandoned, lost or derelict crab traps have been identified as a significant source of mortality for a variety of organisms. Laws allow us to remove crab traps for a 10-day period starting on the third Friday in February. This year, the 10-day closure is from February 16, 2018 to February 25, 2018. TPWD and other organizations will provide marked disposal facilities at various locations in each major bay system for abandoned crab traps. On February 17, 2018, TPWD will help facilitate volunteer efforts at certain sites from 8:00 a.m. to noon.  Those that wish to collect traps during other times can contact their nearest TPWD Coastal Fisheries office for more information.

We can improve habitat by collecting traps in the field, unloading traps at the dock, counting traps as they are unloaded, and doing various other jobs. See TPWD Crab Trap Removal for more information and contact information for cleanups in our Chapter area. Use RM: Other Locations to report and specify location. 

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.

  • Coming soon–advanced training field trip on using iNaturalist to document SGCN
Interested? Check out the links and contact Tania Homayoun  or call 512-389-8253. 

American Eel Monitoring

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

  1. Deploy eel mops at sites such as boat ramps, fishing piers or bulkheads in tidal streams and estuaries
  2. Check eel mops every two weeks for American Eel
  3. Record catch on provided datasheets
  4. Email or mail datasheets to TPWD

Email Stephen Curtis or call 512-754-6844 ext. 221 for more information or to volunteer.

VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Aquatic Life

Children’s Discovery Museum Opportunities

  • Be a Discovery Docent on the Exhibit Floor: opportunities available Tuesday through Sunday at your convenience after you complete training. Contact CDM for training dates. 
  • 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 Brandy Hurta at 361-485-9140 or by email to volunteer or get more information. CDM is located at 1205 Sam Houston Drive, Victoria, TX 77901. Check out the CDM website for more about volunteering! VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Other Events/Partners

Aransas Pathways Opportunities

Aransas Pathways is a project to develop birding sites, kayak launch sites, and trails within Aransas County. They just completed a new birding trail at the edge of Rockport. If you’d like to get involved in the next project,  contact Ray Kirkwood. VMS Opportunity listing – task-dependent

Aransas Pathways Pollinator Gardens

Volunteers Wanted—The Aransas Pathways Ivy Lane Birding Site, Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary, Henderson Property, and Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary in Rockport will have a continuing need for volunteers for pollinator gardens, prairie restoration, and adding local native plants to the trails. Check your roster and contact:

  • Ivy Lane—Neli Spurrell–call or text 214-597-8751. Workdays: 1st and 3rd Mondays 8-10 am; 1st Saturdays 7-9 am before guided nature walks during the hot part of the year. 
  • Connie Hagar—Laurel Cahill, 361.244.0970 or Pam Larson, 361.205.2553
  • Castro Sanctuary—Laura Clark, call or text 361.205.2251
  • Henderson Property—Pat Garland

VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Aransas Pathways (list the property where you volunteered in Description)

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 Pat Garland with the date(s) and location(s) you are interested in covering and to arrange to get equipment and materials. VMS Opportunity listing – CB: Chapter Business/Recruiting if you are only recruiting new members, or PO: Other Events/Partners if you are providing education to booth visitors.

Lamar Whooper Watch—Updated!

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) and Dr. Liz Smith want to gather data about the whooping cranes that are 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. Two monitoring sessions will be scheduled; one early in February and one mid-March. Email Corinna Holfus  or call her at 832-967-9829 to volunteer. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations – Specify ICF in the description when you report.

Aransas First Opportunities

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 to volunteer or get more information. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Other Locations

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 wildlife habitat improvements, and TMN counsel and advice in supporting these unique public lands. Long-range work might include planting native plants, removing any invasives, and improving public access. This effort would be ongoing. If you want to be in on the ground floor of habitat improvement and park enhancement, check your roster and contact Allan Berger. VMS Opportunity listing – task-dependent.

Goose Island Opportunities

Gardens: Volunteers needed for planting  and garden maintenance. Check your roster and contact KarenLee Rystad. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Goose Island

New Birding Observation Platform: Volunteers are needed to help with planting and maintenance. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Goose Island

Invasives Removal: Help is needed to get rid of invasive species at Goose Island State Park. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Goose Island

Contact Sarah Nordlof (361-729-2858) for more information, to volunteer for a project, or to find out other volunteer opportunities at Goose Island.  To join Friends of Goose Island, contact Mrs. Betty Stiles.

MCBNC Butterfly Garden

Help is needed in the Butterfly Garden at the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center in Bay City. This garden has been neglected for several years, and volunteers can help with clearing out overgrown plants and weeds, replanting with appropriate native plants, and regular maintenance. Monthly 3rd-Saturday workdays are scheduled at the Nature Center, or volunteers can choose their own time to work. Contact Janet Price for more details. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: MCBNC

Matagorda Bay Nature Park Opportunities

Work with Students: If you can help, contact Park Program Coordinator Mike Mullenweg by email or at 979-863-2603. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: MBNP

Butterfly Gardens: We also have ongoing opportunities, one of which is the maintenance of our butterfly gardens.  We are looking for someone help with the designing, planting, labeling, weeding, lab and seasonal upkeep of our garden. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: MBNP

Visitor Center Staffing: Volunteers will greet customer as they enter our visitor center on Matagorda Beach, help explain displays and exhibits in the Natural Science Center, answer phones, and help in the park store. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: MBNP

Mission-Aransas NERR Opportunities

Bay Education Center, Rockport: Docent Volunteers are needed to staff the Bay Education Center on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Mission-Aransas NERR

Estuary Explorium, Port Aransas: The Mission-Aransas NERR has a new volunteer opportunity in Port Aransas, much like the Bay Education Center in Rockport. As a Docent at the Explorium, you can make a difference in educating the public about the importance of estuaries. The Estuary Explorium is housed in the old library space in the UTMSI Visitors Center. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Mission-Aransas NERR

Wetlands Education Center, Port Aransas: Volunteers are needed to lead guided tours of the Wetlands Education Center on Tuesdays at 10:00 am. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Mission-Aransas NERR

Volunteer with with the Mission-Aransas NERR! VMS Opportunity listing – task-dependent

Palacios Prairie Wetlands Project

Palacios is developing 26 acres into the Palacios Prairie Wetlands adjacent to the Navigation District and Trull Foundation marshes. The property includes marsh, uplands, and grassland habitat. It was rife with invasive species. The area as proposed is to be developed into a “native Texas ecosystem.” We have several tasks we would like to accomplish:

  • Identify species as they sprout as native or invasive and respond appropriately
  • Propagate and plant native vegetation

Contact the Projects Director if you are interested in becoming Chapter liaison for this project. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Other Locations

Port A Nature Preserves Invader Removal

David Hyde, the director of the Port Aransas Parks and Rec. Department is instituting a volunteer program to remove invasive plant species from the nature preserves in Port Aransas. These work days will be scheduled about once a month, so if you wish to get on the email list, email David Hyde or call 361.749.4111. To get there after leaving the ferry, turn right at the first traffic light (Cut-off Road), go one block and turn right on Port Avenue. Stay on Port Avenue and eventually you will wind up at the Pavilion. Please come prepared with the kind of clothing and footwear you would wear to go birding in the boonies. Bring gloves. We will work to kill the Brazilian Pepper Trees and perhaps other tasks that will enhance the preserve. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Other Locations

Texas Zoo Opportunities 

Check out Education at the Texas Zoo to see how you might help. Email ContactVMS Opportunity listing – task-dependent

Insect Opportunities


TPWD Nature Tracker—Monarch Watch

Help monitor and support the Monarch butterfly and earn volunteer service hours at the same time! 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 opportunitiesAll TPWD Nature Tracker VMS Opportunity listings – FR: TPWD

Tejano Wetlands Monarch Waystation

We’ll do some site preparation and plant the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) at Formosa-Tejano Wetlands.  We will also discuss the scope of the Monarch Habitat Restoration Project at Tejano and future volunteer opportunities with the project. Watch this space for more information as plans develop.  If you have questions, check your roster and contact Bob Friedrichs. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Tejano Wetlands

Bring Back the Monarchs Campaign

Monarch Watch, (Univ. Kansas) is still looking for native milkweed seeds for their “Bring Back The Monarchs” campaign. For information on how to contribute to this effort, go to Monarch Watch.

Mike Quinn, Austin – TMN State-approved project. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Other Locations

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” VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Insect Life

Take photos of bees and wasps, recording location, date, and time of day.  Upload data and photo by logging in to iNaturalist project “Bees and Wasps of Texas.” Click  “Add observations to this project.”  Fill in the form and upload the photo.  If you know what the critter was, type that into the “What did you see?” field.  If you don’t know, click “ID Please?” and the “Species Unknown” Button.  Add any comments about the site, and information such a what the critter was doing, or feeding  on.  Save using the button at bottom of the form.

Professionals and competent amateurs follow entries and enjoy helping you improve your species ID skills.  Paul Meredith  of Mid-Coast TMN is one of the site’s two curators, so he will be reviewing entries as well.  If you have problems, check your roster and  contact him; he’ll help.  Also, see the pollinator ID resources on this website for ID help.

Bumblebee Watch

Despite their critical roles in agriculture and natural ecosystems, bumblebees have gone virtually unstudied in Texas. The last published review of species in the state was in 1913, nearly 100 years ago. 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. Contributing to this process can be as simple as casually snapping images of bumblebees on flowers, recording the date and location, and submitting the image online. Visit Texas Bumblebees to learn more about this endeavor and how you can contribute. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Insect Life

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 Count Program in general, please visit NABA’s website, send an email, or call national headquarters: 973-285-0907. Location of counts and contact information for their compilers. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Insect Life

Bird Populations Field Research

Buff-Breasted Sandpiper Surveys—Coming Soon!

Based on results from 2016 and 2017 we will be adjusting the timing of our surveys to start a bit later in April and go longer into May. We may run surveys April 20 through May 11. Watch this space for final dates. Check your roster and contact Bob Friedrichs for more information or to get on the list as a volunteer. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations; specify county location when reporting.

Because of some slight changes to survey protocol, training will be needed even for participants who have surveyed in the past. Information will be posted on the Training Opportunities page as soon as it is available.

Carbide Colony Bird Census: Dow-Seadrift

If you’re interested in helping conduct bird counts at the Dow-Seadrift plant, check your roster and contact Anita Brunsting. She will make arrangements for you to come during the week/business hours to watch the Dow safety video and sign a waiver.  This is your chance to visit a limited-access site; Anita is allowed to escort only 1-2 volunteers at a time. She plans on starting in February and going 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 Anita can arrange for you to participate in the count at the Dow site if you’re interested. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations

Gulf-Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Program

Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) and American Bird Conservancy are expanding our beach-nesting bird conservation to begin a protection, monitoring, and outreach program for 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. This project will directly contribute toward setting such goals for these birds locally and region-wide. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations; specify location when reporting.

A large part of this project is outreach to the local community to educate beach-goers, fisherman, and other recreational users to inform them of beach-nesting birds. We are hoping to train several bird stewards who will work with Amanda to monitor the birds and help with outreach on busy weekends and holidays. The stewards will help make sure people don’t accidentally (or intentionally) wander into the posted areas and they 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. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Other Events/Partners 

If you are interested in helping with this project in 2017, please contact Amanda Anderson or Susan Heath.

American Oystercatcher Monitoring

This project can be done wherever there are nesting oystercatchers. Nesting Season is February – July. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) will provide data sheets & training, data repository & analysis. Online training video is in the works. Monitor nesting oystercatchers, fill out a  form, send in data. More information VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations; specify location when reporting.

TERN Rookery & Foraging Monitoring

The Texas Estuarine Research Network (TERN) seeks to engage the public through citizen science concerning two main topics: colonial waterbird rookery monitoring and waterbird foraging habitat monitoring. The Mid-Coast Chapter is helping Audubon to spread this program along the entire Texas Gulf Coast. Data collected through this monitoring program will provide valuable information for agencies and organizations working to protect birds and bird habitats. Details will be forthcoming at training sessions. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations; specify location when reporting.

Texas Quail Index

Quail decline is not just a Texas problem; the documented decline began in eastern and northern states over 40 years ago.The Texas Quail Index (TQI) is a large-scale demonstration designed to evaluate various indices of quail abundance statewide. The TQI program seeks to promote awareness and understanding in landowners and hunters concerning their quail population and the impact of management activities (both good and bad) on their property. The usefulness of the conclusions we can draw from these monitoring activities depends on the quality of the data collected. If you would like to participate, check your roster and contact Paul Meredith or Paul Swacina for information on how to get involved. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Bird Populations; specify location when reporting.

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. Established in 1991, Texas Stream Team is administered through a cooperative partnership between Texas State University, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 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… VMS Opportunity listing – FR: TPWD

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. VMS Opportunity listing – FR: Other Partners

  • Check out the Texas Invaders website and take the online training
  • Download the free Texas Invaders app for your phone and go for it!
  • Contact the Mid-Coast Invaders coordinator for more information or OJT 

MCTMN Outreach

Academy of Lifelong Learning “TMN Tuesday” Class Series – Presenters Wanted—Updated!

MCTMN members are needed for the spring 2018 semester to teach classes to adult learners at the Academy of Lifelong Learning, Victoria College. Our chapter began providing classes and field trips in the fall of 2016 and the response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic! They want more of whatever we want to teach. We’ve provided classes on Whooping Cranes, Seashells, Alligators, Birding, Native Plant Gardening, Trees, Bay Ecology, and much more. Most classes and field trips are attended by 15—20 adults whose hobby is learning. They ask stimulating questions and are happy with whatever we provide. We like to have the classes on “TMN Tuesdays,” the second and fourth Tuesdays, but if you’d rather offer one on a different day, that’s perfectly fine. To volunteer for this fun program, contact Brigid Berger at 713-825-1929 with your topic and the date you’d like to present! VMS Opportunity listing – TR: Other Organizations

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 the Communications committee. VMS Opportunity listing – TR: Other Organizations

Mid-Coast Website Writer

Know something that other Chapter members would like to know about? Write it up and send it to us.  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. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Other Events/Partners

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 about an environmental subject, display photos of TMN activities such as Matagorda Island Turtle Patrol; the sky is the limit. An additional benefit is the opportunity to publicize what we do and recruit for our Chapter. VMS Opportunity listing – PO: Other Events/Partners

Bird Rescue & Rehabilitation

Volunteers gather bait fish for food, transport birds, administer medications, and other tasks. VMS Opportunity listing – RM: Other Locations

  • Rockport areaUpdated–Help! Wings Rescue Center—Hotline: 361-205-0892. Care about birds? Like to chop things up? Not squeamish about cleaning up after animals? Wings Rescue Center desperately needs volunteers. If we don’t have volunteers we can’t operate and take in more birds. If you can give 2 hours a week, we’d love to have you. We need people to chop fish into bird-sized pieces to freeze. We need people to feed and clean up after birds that are in rehab. We need people to help with other tasks. If you can help, please contact Rachael L. Diaz at 361-229-5484. We need people every day and your schedule can vary. See Facebook page for more information.
  • Bay City area—Contact Cherie Allen at 979-245-4392 or by e-mail
  • South End—The ARK—Contact Andi Wickham-Rowe or call 361-749-6793 
  • To find a rehabber in your area, check the TPWD website 

Other Possibilities

Riparian Study—Chapter Project

Contact Kris Kirkwood for more information.

Make Your Own Volunteer Opportunity

Check out the Partners page, and contact the person at a place you’d like to volunteer.

Keep an eye out for new opportunities in your community, check the Volunteering Guidelines to see if they fit our TMN mission, and request Volunteer Service Approval.

"Be the change you want to see in the world." – Gandhi
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