Volunteering

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Do you have a passion for the outdoors? The Missouri Department of Conservation would love your help! MDC offers flexible volunteer opportunities for Missourians who want to educate others about the state's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. In a typical year, volunteers log more than 250,000 hours in outreach efforts, citizen science, program support, and more.

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Staff Volunteers at Nature Centers and Interpretive Sites

Help ensure visitors have a fun experience learning about and exploring the natural world. As a volunteer, you can help department staff with many things, including planning and presenting interpretive programs for school groups and the public, greeting visitors at the information desk, helping design exhibits, working on trails, leading hikes, assisting with animal care, and helping with special events.

 

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After training, volunteers work an average of 8 to 10 hours a month but can often work more hours if interested.

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  • Share your knowledge and passion about nature and the outdoors with center visitors.
  • Work side by side with natural resource professionals.
  • Participate in ongoing training conducted by department staff and conservation partners.
  • Choose from a variety of awards for meeting volunteer-hour milestones.
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Staff Volunteers at Shooting Ranges and Outdoor Education Centers

Help provide a safe and educational experience for visitors to learn and practice shooting skills. As a volunteer, you can also assist with outdoor skills education programs including firearm instruction, archery, fishing, youth hunting clinics, trapping clinics, map and compass skills, wildlife identification, and special events.

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After training, volunteers work an average of 8 to 10 hours a month but can often work more hours if interested.

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  • Put your knowledge and passion for shooting sports, angling, and outdoor skills to use helping people of all ages learn new skills.
  • Work side by side with natural resource professionals.
  • Participate in ongoing training conducted by department staff and conservation partners.
  • Receive free shooting privileges at the range.
  • Choose from a variety of awards for meeting volunteer-hour milestones.
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Fishing Education

Help beginning anglers gain the skills and confidence to go fishing on their own through our Discover Nature — Fishing program. Teach people of all ages how to conserve aquatic resources. Assist with events such as kids free fishing days, fly fishing events, and other advanced angling workshops. Help with our rod and reel loaner program that equips community partners with fishing equipment for public use.

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After training, volunteers work an average of 8 to 10 hours a month but can often work more hours if interested.

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  • Use your passion for fishing and conservation of aquatic resources to develop life-long anglers from the youth and adults you teach.
  • Work side by side with natural resource professionals.
  • Participate in ongoing training conducted by department staff and conservation partners.
  • Choose from a variety of awards for meeting volunteer-hour milestones.
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Family fishing.
Contact

Reach out to your local Conservation Educator.

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Hunter Education

Have a passion for teaching youth and adults how to be safe, knowledgeable, responsible, and involved hunters? MDC’s Hunter Education program relies on dedicated volunteers who administer the program in their local areas.

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Volunteer instructors must attend any mandatory trainings and must teach at least one four-hour skills session each calendar year; total time commitment per session is about eight hours including preparation, instruction, and computer submission.

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  • Use your passion for hunting and conservation of wildlife resources to develop life-long hunters from the youth and adults you teach.
  • Work side by side with natural resource professionals.
  • Participate in ongoing training conducted by department staff and conservation partners.
  • Choose from a variety of awards for meeting volunteer-hour milestones.
  • Receive discounts on many brands of outdoor gear through the International Hunter Education Association.
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hunter education demonstration
Contact

Reach out to your local Conservation Educator.

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Protection Volunteer Program

Considering a career as a conservation agent? Potential volunteers go through an application process, interview, and background check. When selected, you will complete volunteer trainings with a regional coordinator. After training, you will be eligible to assist conservation agents all over the state with programs, outreach, and general enforcement ride-alongs.

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Protection volunteers are required to volunteer at least 8 hours a month and submit monthly accomplishment reports and volunteer time sheets.

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  • Get a head start on a career as a conservation agent, which helps you determine if you want to pursue the career.
  • Experience more resource activities and aspects of conservation in Missouri than the average citizen gets to experience.
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MDC staff member and volunteer with seized deer heads
Contact

Capt. Caleb Sevy
573-522-4115, ext. 3257
Caleb.Sevy@mdc.mo.gov

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MDC Partner Programs
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Missouri Forestkeepers Network

The Missouri Forestkeepers Network teaches Missourians about the care and management of trees and forests. Volunteers learn to care for our forests through a variety of activities and training and help monitor forest health. Forestkeepers is free to any interested citizen, family, or group and is offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri.

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Volunteers learn about and monitor trees, forests, and woods at their own pace. Members can report their observations twice a year and attend workshops throughout the year on various topics.

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  • Receive an introductory kit with certificate, field guide, pin, patch, recent publications, and information about the program.
  • Understand and learn about the condition of trees and forests.
  • Receive The Monitor, a quarterly newsletter featuring forest health updates, best management practices for trees and forests, and membership news.
  • Get invited to workshops and special events across the state.
  • Choose from Forestkeeper gift items as incentives for submitting reports.
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Missouri Master Naturalist

Support conservation efforts and natural resource education in your local community. After training, volunteers help design and carry out local projects such as native habitat restoration, bird monitoring, school educational programs, and outdoor skills training. Each chapter’s local conservation partners provide service projects and ongoing training with a goal of building a self-sufficient volunteer network within the community. The program is a partnership between MDC and University of Missouri Extension.

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After training, volunteers are asked to contribute 40 hours of service designing and carrying out natural resource conservation projects that meet local conservation needs.

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  • Increase your awareness of local ecosystems and natural resources.
  • Help teach members of Missouri’s rapidly growing urban populations about conservation and enhancement of natural resources in and near their environment.
  • Work with landowners to learn about and manage their resources.
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Master Naturalists
Contact

Missouri Master Naturalist

State coordinators
Jenni Rabenau, MDC
573-522-4115, ext. 3611
Jenni.Rabenau@mdc.mo.gov

Robert Pierce, MU Extension
573-822-4337
PierceR@missouri.edu

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Missouri Stream Team

Become part of a community of volunteers who focus on the health of Missouri streams through education, stewardship, and advocacy. Volunteers on stream teams learn about Missouri’s 110,000 miles of flowing water and do hands-on projects such as litter pickup, water quality monitoring, storm drain stenciling, and streamside tree planting. The program is a partnership between MDC, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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As a member, you choose how much time you devote to protecting stream resources.

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  • Receive free activity supplies such as litter bags, work gloves, first-aid kits, T-shirts, storm drain stencils and markers, and tree seedlings.
  • Get discounts at participating canoe outfitters.