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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.

Department of Environmental Conservation

  • The Vermont Lay Monitoring Program:  The Vermont Lay Monitoring Program equips and trains members of the public and local watershed associations 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.
  • Vermont Invasive Patrollers (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.

Department of Fish & Wildlife

Hunter Educator Instructors:  Vermont’s Hunter Education Program is always looking for volunteer instructors to teach hunting, bow hunting or trapping education. 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. 

Let's Go Fishing! Volunteers:  Volunteers with the Let's Go Fishing Program encourage and teach young people and their families how to fish, emphasizing that fishing is more than just catching fish.

Dead Creek Visitor Center Ambassadors: If you enjoy talking to people and have a strong interest in fish and wildlife, conservation, and wildlife-based recreation, then consider becoming a volunteer ambassador. You don’t have to be an expert, just have an enthusiasm for nature and sharing information with visitors. 

Monitor Bat Colonies:  Female little brown and big brown bats congregate in groups in the spring through summer to give birth and rear their young. Your help monitoring summer bat activity around the state will let us make informed decisions about the welfare and long-term conservation of these important mammals.

Work Weekend at GMCC: Every spring volunteers donate their time to spruce up one of the department's two Green Mountain Conservation Camps for the summer season.

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.

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.