Fish & Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities

Hunting Regulations Icon Rhode Island Hunting

Volunteering to Support Wildlife Conservation

By Jennifer Brooks, Volunteer Coordinator, RI DEM

Photo: Chelsea Thomson

Above: Red bat captured during bat mist-netting.

Have you ever wanted the opportunity to participate in wildlife conservation and management, but are not sure how to get involved? The RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) Volunteer Program offers opportunities for the public to help monitor and conserve state fish and wildlife, with no previous experience necessary!

DFW volunteers are invited to participate in a number of unique experiences, assisting biologists in data collection, and participating in various management and conservation activities. Volunteers provide the DFW with additional eyes, ears, and boots on the ground. Volunteers can be found independently collecting samples for DNA testing for the New England cottontail project or bear population study, conducting bat counts at night throughout the summer to help monitor local bat populations, surveying river herring as they make their way inland for their spring spawn, or banding Canada geese with the waterfowl program.

Other volunteer opportunities include:

  • Deer check station assistance
  • Building and monitoring wood duck boxes
  • Spring turkey gobbling surveys
  • American black duck banding
  • Habitat stewardship
  • And more!

Who Can Volunteer?

The Volunteer Program is comprised of a diverse group of volunteers from the community, including families, students, business professionals, retirees, scouts, and many public interest groups. Since the start of the Volunteer Program in 2015, hundreds of volunteers have contributed their time and talents to assist the DFW in reaching our goals in monitoring, management, and conservation.

Aside from providing hands-on support to DFW projects, volunteers also increase environmental awareness within the community through their dedication and advocacy, and by sharing information about the important work that the DFW does for the conservation and management of Rhode Island’s flora and fauna. Additionally, participation in the Volunteer Program helps financially support the enhancement and conservation of state fishing and hunting areas, as well as local fish and wildlife populations, through a federal funds matching program. This is achieved by recording the time and mileage each volunteer contributes through their service, and submitting the records to the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The hours and mileage are then assigned a monetary value, and released to the DFW for allocation back into state fish and wildlife projects. DFW volunteers give back in so many ways, and we thank our volunteers for everything they do!

Whether you’re interested in gaining new skills or knowledge, meeting other conservation-oriented people, or just getting out in nature and giving back, the RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife Volunteer Program is a great way to share your time!

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in learning more about the RIDEM Division of Fish & Wildlife Volunteer Program, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Brooks, Jennifer.brooks@dem.ri.gov