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Volunteering and Internships

Thanks for your interest in volunteering! Click here to find a Volunteer Questionnaire. Click here for current volunteer training information.

Nearby Nature's volunteers are the heart and soul of our programs. They come from all walks of life and include everyone from elementary school students to elders.


Volunteers donate 7,500+ hours of  time and talents to our programs every year! Volunteers lead nature walks, assist with classroom visits, staff booths, and help with daycamps. They plant gardens, pull ivy, and paint murals. They stuff envelopes, post flyers, take pictures, do litter patrol, and help with fundraisers. Sometimes volunteers even dress up like frogs or dragonflies! Fun!

Check out what volunteers have helped with recently under Recent Volunteers and Cheers for Extra Special Volunteers. Check out the amazing things our volunteers go on to do in life at Where Are They Now?

Volunteer Holly Hartmann teaches about animal skulls during a Nature Quest.

Volunteering is a great way to invest in your community, meet fascinating people, and learn about local natural areas.


Some of our volunteers serve as interns. Interns choose a specific Nearby Nature project to focus on, and dedicate a significant amount of time to their work. Interns are needed throughout the year, but particularly in the spring and fall for our School Nature Walks Program and in the summer for our Summer Daycamps Program. For more information about internships and how to apply, visit our Internships page. To learn about the experience of being an intern with Nearby Nature, read the profiles of some of our past interns.

"I am now a naturalist intern in Ohio and I wanted to say that my experience with Nearby Nature was truly wonderful and that I love telling stories about it to staff here! So, THANK YOU! I miss Nearby Nature and Alton Baker Park!"
-- Monica Oritz, Former Volunteer

Volunteer Programs

Below is a list of our current programs. Call us at 541-687-9699 or email for more information or with questions.

See our Calendar in September and March to find out when we will hold our next New Volunteer Orientation.

You can also see our Programs section to learn more about specific projects and our events Calendar to find out about upcoming opportunities. Download and fill our Volunteer Questionnaire to let us know what interests you most. We look forward to meeting you soon!


Alton Baker Park School Nature Walks Program (Training Provided)Nearby Nature volunteer guides come from all walks of life

Share nature with children! On weekday mornings in the spring and fall, volunteer guides lead nature discovery activities, tell stories, and play games while taking small groups of K-6th graders on school nature walks through the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park. No experience is necessary; training covers everything from natural history to storytelling to teaching techniques. Guides commit to leading one walk per week (two-three hours) for one season at a time. Training happens in March-April and September. See our Calendar for the date of our next orientation (in March or September) and click here for guide training calendars.


Summer Daycamps (Training Provided)

Work with kids in local parks. Every summer, Nearby Nature runs a series of week-long outdoor daycamps in local parks. At each camp, an adult volunteer and a youth outdoor leader (13-18 years old) help our staff with games, outdoor science, crafts, music, and more. Volunteers commit to helping with at least one week-long camp per summer, for three-four hours per day. Call for more information about current volunteer needs. See our Calendar for summer daycamp volunteer training dates. Youth volunteers can also download our Outdoor Leader application. For internships, click here.


Kinder Critters (Training Provided)Nearby Nature's Kinder Critters are good friends!

Take part in education with a dramatic touch! These enthusiastic volunteer naturalists visit pre-school through 2nd grade classrooms and birthday parties dressed as wild creatures from nearby meadows, ponds, and forests. Each costumed Kinder Critter does a short educational presentation, tells stories, and leads a game or craft. If you have a dramatic flare or a desire to know what it is like to be a frog, turtle, bat, or butterfly (or a variety of other critters!), then this is the opportunity for you. Non-costumed volunteers are also needed to assist with Kinder Critter programs.


Classroom Naturalist Programs (Training Provided)

Share the wonders of nature with children at their schools. Help staff bring natural fun to school through nature games, science exploration, craft activities, and storytelling for small groups of elementary students. Classroom naturalist program volunteers commit to helping for a one-two hours once or twice a week for varying periods of time. Contact us for locations and current volunteer staffing needs.


Volunteer Don Lown leads a bird house making workshop.Nature Quests and Green Start Play Days (No Training Required)

Help create family fun in the park for all ages. Volunteers orchestrate crafts, dress up as Kinder Critters, serve snacks, and help with trail activities at these fun weekend (Nature Quest) or weekday morning (Green Start) family adventures in Alton Baker Park. See our Calendar for the dates of upcoming Nature Quests and Green Start Play Days.


No School Days (Training Provided)

Spend a day in the park with kids! Volunteers help staff with science projects, crafts, hikes, and more. No School Day programs take place on 4J school district no school days. We meet at our Yurt in Alton Baker Park but spend most of our time outdoors. See our Calendar for upcoming No School Day programs.


Network Charter School (Training Provided as Needed)

Interested in working with older kids? Volunteers with appropriate skills are occasionally needed to assist with our Network Charter School classes for middle and high school students. Topics range from fly fishing to eco-literature to environmental biology. Let us know if you are interested in learning more.


Special Events (No Training Required)Volunteers staff activity booths at special events

Share Nearby Nature with the community! Celebrate night creatures at our Haunted Hike in October, assist at our Earth Day booth in the spring or our Eugene Celebration booth in the fall, or help us create fun in the sun at a community summer festival. Nearby Nature hosts as well as participates in special events throughout the year where volunteers of all ages help with crafts, information sharing, and activities. See our Calendar for upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.


Goodies from the Learnscape Gardens!Learnscape Gardening and Programs (Training Provided as Needed)

Help us care for our Learnscape Garden and Outdoor Classroom! Work on planting gardens, weeding, native plant propagation, pruning, and artwork. Maintain tools, mow grass, and build raised beds. Help with sustainable living workshops for adults. If any of these projects sound like your calling, contact us at 541-687-9699 or email for more information. See the Calendar for scheduled Learnscape work parties and workshops.


Restoration Celebrations (No Training Required)Volunteers of all ages help with Nearby Nature projects!

Get hands-on, feet-wet involved in caring for local natural areas. Nearby Nature hosts Restoration Celebration work parties in Alton Baker Park at least once a month. Participants in these outdoor gatherings work on invasive plant removal and native plant restoration, erosion control, trail maintenance, and litter patrol. Folks of all ages, as well as groups, are invited to participate. See our Calendar for the dates of upcoming work parties. Call 541-687-9699 or email to set up a work party for YOUR service group!


Action Walks (No Training Required)

Enjoy learning and litter patrol in Alton Baker Park. Several times a month Nearby Nature volunteers walk through the park to check out what's blooming and chirping AND to remove litter. Action Walks start at the Alton Baker Park Host Residence. This project is not recommended for young children. See the Calendar for current times and dates.


Office Assistance (Training Provided as Needed)

See a non-profit from the inside. Running all of these great programs requires lots of work behind the scenes. Volunteers are always needed to assist with the important work of putting together mailings, answering phones, posting flyers, mending equipment, fundraising, photographing/videotaping events, and other office projects. Interested folks should call for more information.


Board Members (No Training Required)Nearby Nature Board and Staff our our 2007 retreat

Are you a naturalist without a niche? A fundraiser without a pitch? An organizer without a list? A lawyer without a cause? Then you should be a Nearby Nature Board member! Call 541-687-9699 or email to find out more about this opportunity to make a difference in our community.

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