Citizen Scientists: Volunteer

The Agency of Natural Resources and our three departments rely on the assistance of Citizen Scientists to enhance our mission of effective and well-informed, environmental stewardship.  We need your help!  Read more about Citizen Scientist volunteer and participation opportunities, and educational opportunities.

Volunteering and Citizen Participation Opportunities


Department of Environmental Conservation

  • The Vermont Lay Monitoring Program  - The Vermont Lay Monitoring Program equips and trains members of the public and local watershed assocations to measure nutrient levels of lakes and ponds. Volunteers collect surface water data following a strict but practical methodology. Look for links to other related programs and to the Vermont Volunteer Surface Water Monitoring Guide.
  • Volunteer monitor obtaining a Secchi disk measurementVermont Invasive Patrolers (VIPs)  - Early detection is vital to protecting Vermont’s water bodies from harmful invasive plants and animals.  With more than 800 lakes and ponds throughout the state, volunteers play a key role in our surveying efforts.  Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIPs) monitor water bodies for new introductions of invasive species and report their findings to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 
  • Vermont Public Access Greeter Program  (pdf) - Clean Boats, Clean Water Program -  Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species is far more effective and economically sensible than eradicating them once they are established. Public Access Greeters educate lake visitors about invasive species, provide courtesy watercraft inspections, and STOP introductions of new invasives.
  • Be a Lake Leader - Lake Wise  The Lake Wise Program is an Agency of Natural Resources initiative that recognizes lake-friendly shoreland property, including State Parks, town beaches, private homes and businesses, that protects water quality and lakeside habitat through well-managed landscaping. Through Lake Wise, participants receive technical assistance for reducing erosion and excess runoff caused by conventional shoreland clearing and seawall construction.  Watch the video of the first Gold Lake Wise Award presented to Echo Lake Protective Association
  • Composting Information  - Reduce trash and improve nutrient levels in soils through composting food scraps, leaf and yard debris on-site at farms, businesses, schools and homes.
  • Recycling - Vermont's Universal Recycling Law Information Site  - The DEC Solid Waste Program is developing resources for each of the stakeholder groups affected by the Universal Recycling law: Residents, Haulers, Local Government (towns, municipalities, solid waste management districts), Businesses & Institutions, Schools, and Solid Waste Facilities.

Lake water quality monitoring by citizen scientist volunteers


Department of Fish & Wildlife

Get Involved and explore some of the exciting ways you can help the department fulfill its mission to conserve fish, wildlife, plants and habitat. 

  • Partners in Conservation - Eighty-one percent of Vermont’s land is in private ownership, so participation from the state’s landowners and municipalities is crucial for conserving Vermont’s fish and wildlife. 
  • Let's Go Fishing - Volunteers with the Let's Go Fishing Program teach young people and their families how to fish, emphasizing that fishing is more than just catching fish.
  • Hunter Educators - Vermont’s Hunter Education Program is always looking for volunteer instructors of hunting, bow hunting or trapping. The work is demanding and the hours are often long and inconvenient, but instructors love their work because they know they are contributing to the future of hunting and trapping.
  • Work Weekend at the Green Mountain Conservation Camps - Every spring, volunteers help get our two GMCC locations ready for a summer full of fun. Free meals and lodging are provided in exchange for landscaping, stacking firewood, cleaning, painting, and more!
  • Apply for a Grant - Help improve your marina, shooting range or watershed by applying for a grant through Fish and Wildlife.

Visit the Citizen Reporting web page to report the location of Rare and Uncommon Species, Vernal Pools or Natural Communities.  You can also help us track:

  • Bats  - Vermont is home to nine bat species, five of which are listed as either threatened or endangered. Find the answers to the frequently asked questions about why bats are in trouble, how to safely live with them, and what you can do to help.
  • Black Bear Incident Reporting  If you see a bear in a residential area or you encounter an aggressive bear, please report it to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
  • Wild Turkey Brood Survey  Help us analyze spring turkey production by recording wild turkey sightings during August using our web-based survey.


Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Forest Volunteers

  • Who Cares for Community Forests and Trees?  Everyone from citizen volunteers and engaged residents to municipal staff and green industry professionals care for our communities’ trees. Find information about the S.O.U.L Tree Stewards Program, the Tree Wardens Program, the Vermont Forest Pest First Detectors Program and the webinars, workshops and school programs offered by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
  • Forest Pest First Detector Program  First Detector volunteers are on the front line of defense against invasive tree pest infestations. The Forest Pest First Detector Program trains local leaders to increase awareness about the threat of tree pests and help coordinate community responses to eradicate them.

State Park Volunteers

  •  Volunteering in Vermont State Parks can take many forms.
    • Become a short-term volunteer by helping at park events, with interpretive programs, or as a part of a group, club, or workplace. 
    • Sign up to be a season-long camping volunteers. Season-long volunteer work varies and can include working in the park office, maintaining campsites, and assisting with interpretive programs. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum six-week stay and receive many amenities for their time.


Agency of Natural Resources

Climate Change - All Vermonters can take steps to address the challenges facing their environment. Take a look at changes you can make at home, on the road, at your school, and in your community.


Donating to ANR

If you're unable to volunteer but still want to help the mission of the ANR and its departments, learn more about making a donation