Master Gardener Volunteers

One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge is to enroll in WSU Extension’s annual Master Gardener course. For more than forty years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.  Volunteers who attend the comprehensive course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more.

The WSU Master Gardener course provides WSU research-based information on how to improve soil, identify common plant pest problems including insects and diseases and weed problems, as well as honing your gardening skills. “Hands-on” workshops provide advanced training on pruning, composting, plant propagation and a host of other practical gardening skills.

There is a perception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening.  This is unrealistic and untrue.  To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have gardening experience, but more importantly, you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

Contact
Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator
360-867-2162
Email
Website

 

Olympia Park Parks Stewardship

The Park Stewardship Program hosts weekly, year-round volunteer work parties, family-friendly events, and environmental education programming designed around specific ages, curriculum, or interest. Our staff works primarily in City of Olympia parks, schools, and neighborhoods. Our mission is to help create meaningful experiences, particularly in parks.

Sample Activities

  • Junior Ranger Adventures
  • Earth Day Event
  • National Trails Day
  • Outreach at Arts Walk and other City events/festivals

Volunteer Opportunities:

Park Stewardship hosts weekly volunteer work parties all year. Our work parties are on our website. To inquire about planning a customized volunteer work party for your neighborhood, organization or school, please call 360.753.8365 or email us at . Depending on the season, the work parties revolve around habitat restoration, trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, and beautification projects.

City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation
Jennifer Gessley Gayman
Email
Phone
Website

Sound Experience

Sound Experience is a Puget Sound-based environmental and youth leadership organization that uniquely delivers its programs aboard the 133′ historic wooden schooner Adventuress. we reach more than 4,000 young people and adults each year, inspiring in them a greater understanding of the complexity of our marine ecological systems and stronger commitment to the stewardship of our waters. Aboard Adventuress, on day or overnight programs, participants experience the majesty and vulnerability of Puget Sound – and why the future of our marine environment matters to all of us.

Volunteer Opportunities:
Sound Experience relies on the dedication and commitment of our community volunteers from throughout the Puget Sound area. We encourage volunteers to participate both with shipboard and off-ship opportunities. Off-ship duties include fundraising events, festival booths, committee work, Board of Directors, office help, and public relations. All volunteers must be current Sound Experience members and have an application on record. Our volunteers who will be working on our youth programs must also pass a background check.

Internships:
Join the crew for one month or longer during the sailing season. These volunteer positions include food and lodging aboard Adventuress. Interns become active members of the crew. On-the-job training is provided. Interns will take part in all aspects of the programs gaining valuable experience in environmental and marine science education, as well as sailing and vessel operation. Specific duties will include teaching, cleaning and maintenance of the ship, assisting in the galley and more!

Interns must be over 18 years old, have an interest in and desire to teach program areas of ecology, environmental awareness and sailing; live in close shipboard environment; take part in all aspects of operating the program and vessel; work with youth and adults; and be interested in pursuing a career related to environmental education or teaching.

Contact:
Sound Experience
(360) 379-0438
Email
Website

Nisqually Stream Stewards

Although the Nisqually River Watershed is blessed with a significant amount of good salmon habitat, there are still some areas in need of restoration. The Nisqually Tribe and the Nisqually River Council recognize that true long-lasting restoration and protection of salmon habitat will come about only through a community-based effort.

The Nisqually Stream Stewards are people who want to help protect and improve the health of our streams. The Stream Stewards are trained as citizen scientists, and provide invaluable information for natural resources professionals.

Nisqually Stream Stewards meet community members and natural resources professionals; monitor the health of their local streams; and assist with projects that improve stream health, such as removing invasive grass from stream channels or planting trees along stream banks.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Stream Stewards Class
  • Salmon Watcher Training
  • Planting Projects
  • Salmon Carcass Tossing

Contact:
Nisqually Stream Stewards
streamstewards@nisquallyriver.org
(360) 438-8715
Stream Stewards Website

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group

The Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is the south Sound’s premiere salmon viewing experience. It is only open for the month of November, because that is when the chum salmon return from the ocean!

Schedule a visit for your class or interest group, and get a rich Pacific Northwest experience. Groups are lead by trained volunteer docents that cover a wide range of salmon and ecological topics including life cycle, spawning behaviors, survival rates, predator/prey relationships, forestry and human influences. Available for all ages!

Visit our website for more information, to schedule a field trip, or become a docent.

Contact:
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group
Megan Brady, Education & Outreach Coordinator
Email
Website

Thurston Conservation District

Thurston Conservation District, a non-regulatory agency, strives to conserve and sustain the beneficial use and protection of local natural resources through partnerships with the County’s rural, agricultural, and urban communities, as well as local, state, federal, and tribal agencies. Our vision is to create healthy, functioning ecosystems in Thurston County through advocacy, education, and technical assistance efforts; thereby empowering every citizen of Thurston County to be a steward of the environment.

 Educational Programs

  • South Puget Sound Envirothon – An environmental competition for high school aged youth
  • South Sound Green
  • Workshops
  • Native Plant Festival & Sale
  • Technical assistance

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

  • Internships
  • Work parties
  • South Puget Sound Envirothon
  • Native Plant Festival

Other

  • Equipment Rentals
  • Soil Testing

Contact
Thurston Conservation District
Kiana Sinner
(360)754-3588 ext.105
Email
Website
Facebook

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)

The Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) is dedicated to educating the community about dam removal and estuary restoration. The mission is to foster broad participation in estuary restoration by a community that understands and appreciates the beauty and value of the environment.

In addition to tabling at events, giving presentations or writing for the newsletter and social media, volunteers will also have the opportunity to use their creative abilities to come up with new education projects and programs to improve the health of the Deschutes watershed.

Contact
Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT)
Email
DERT Website
DERT Facebook Page

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

For more than 30 years, the Nisqually Reach Nature Center has offered environmental education to thousands of youth and young adults at Luhr Beach in Olympia, Washington, and in the classroom. The Center provides field trip opportunities, supplemental classroom activities and summer camps, all aimed at sharing the beauty and uniqueness of the Nisqually Estuary and learning the values of conservation, particularly with regard to South Puget Sound. The Center has four salt-water tidal aquariums filled with crabs, sea stars, anemones and other marine animals that live in the waters of South Puget Sound.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Do you want to know how you can become involved with our organization? We can always use help! Our volunteer opportunities include:

  • Staff volunteers for the Nature Center
  • Environmental Educators to assist with school groups and field trips
  • Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee
  • Special Projects

Visit our website to learn more!

Nisqually Reach Nature Center

4949 D’Milluhr Dr. NE

Olympia, WA 98516

(360) 459-0387

NRNC@NisquallyEstuary.org

Website

Facebook Page

Earth Gen

Schools across Washington are working together to make their communities greener and healthier.

Formerly known as Washington Green Schools, Earth Gen provides schools with the support and resources to empower the next generation of environmental leaders. Through our programs, students can certify their schools, learn important 21st century skills, and conserve resources. Washington Green Schools wants your school to meet its education and resource conservation goals. We ensure this through:

  • Classroom Resources – lesson plans, curriculum enhancements, and educator guides
  • Hands-On Support – our staff is always available to answer questions or provide consultation
  • Trainings and Workshops – we host trainings throughout the year to prepare educators and schools for a successful certification process
  • Recognition – when you certify, we present an awards ceremony at your school, create press releases, and share your success story with our statewide network

The Commons @ Fertile Ground

The Commons @ Fertile Ground is a Washington State non-profit focused on demonstrating urban sustainability and resilience on a neighborhood scale in Downtown Olympia, Washington. In the midst of commerce and state workers, we maintain a large garden, chickens, compost bins, a Community Supported Agriculture drop-off shed and many other not-so-visible activities that support our mission.

We offer a range of programs including Preschool Garden Time, Seed to Table Summer Camp, the Food Nook, workshops, Fertile Ground Guest House and EcoHouse. The facilities are open daily to visit.

Volunteer & Internships
We need your help. We don’t just need money to make this happen. We also need allies, ideas, research, networking, artists, children and just plain volunteer energy. We need people who understand the sharing economy and want to add their gifts. I Check our website for volunteer opportunities.

Contact:
The Commons @ Fertile Ground
Corner of 9th & Adams
911 Adams St and 311 9th Ave SE
Olympia, Washington 98501
Website

 

NW Eco Building Guild

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest. The Guild empowers people through education to transform the built environment for long-term sustainability. There is an Olympia Chapter.

Our Mission is to support through education the progressive work of our members in the Pacific Northwest in order to improve the relationship between our communities and our built environment.

We provide open-source educational materials to the construction industry and the general public in order to encourage building practices that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, are self-sustaining, contribute to local economies, and create optimal conditions for human health and community. We consider the needs of the seventh generation in all that we do and encourage inclusive discourse to that end.

There are many member benefits including monthly events, education and training, Green Pages listing, website exposure, annual EcoBuilding Conference, and community involvement.

Contact
NW Eco Building Guild
Website
Email

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge

Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge provides recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. Shorebirds migrating from as far south as Argentina stop to rest and feed in Grays Harbor Estuary every spring. The estuary’s open mudflats provide ample food for the migrants and great wildlife viewing opportunities for the public. Whether birding, practicing photography, or participating in educational programs, visitors enjoy viewing the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife. Regulation of recreation activities allows for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats. Each spring, the annual Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival offers field trips, shorebird viewing, lectures, Fun Fair, poster contest, and more.

From late April through early May, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds concentrate on the muddy tideflats of Grays Harbor Estuary on the Washington Coast. Grays Harbor Estuary is one of four major staging areas for shorebirds in North America and one of the largest concentrations of shorebirds on the west coast, south of Alaska. To protect this important shorebird habitat, Congress authorized the establishment of Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge in 1988. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Grays Harbor NWR was established in 1990 and is located in the northeast corner of Grays Harbor estuary. It encompasses about 1,500 acres of intertidal mudflats, salt marsh and uplands. In 1996, Grays Harbor Estuary was designated a hemispheric reserve by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network as a site of international significance.

Education Programs

  • Classroom Presentations
  • Field Trips
  • Education Guide
  • Teacher Training
  • Shorebird Festival Poster Contest

Volunteer
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge needs YOU – your talents, your enthusiasm, and some of your time! If you enjoy working with people and appreciate and are concerned about our nation’s natural resources, our volunteer program may interest you. Various opportunities exist at the Refuge for the volunteer to gain valuable and rewarding experiences.  Volunteers assist Refuge personnel in achieving management goals by assisting in environmental education, resource management, maintenance, and special projects. For more information and to fill out an application visit the volunteer page.

Contact
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge
1131 Airport Way, Hoquiam, WA 98550
100 Brown Farm Road, Olympia, WA 98516 (mailing address)
(360) 753-9467

Nisqually NWR Website
Volunteer Page
Education Program
Shorebird Festival Website
Facebook – Shorebird Festival

 

 

Tumwater F.R.E.S.H.

Tumwater F.R.E.S.H (Farm Rooted Education for Sustainability and Health)
Tumwater F.R.E.S.H is a GRuB-inspired program for youth to gain high school credits, job skills, and people skills while working on a small farm at Isabella Bush Park, 1436 Linwood Avenue in Tumwater. The program is a partnership between the City of Tumwater, Tumwater School District, and GRuB in Olympia.
The purpose of the program is to empower youth in taking control of their lives and being good citizens, while creating opportunities for personal growth and building sustainable systems of food production. The food we grow will go to school cafeterias, students and families in need, food banks, and senior centers.
During the school year, students enrolled in the program will spend afternoons on the farm or in a classroom at Tumwater High School learning agriculture, civics, and science. FRESH is designed to be hands-on, interactive, inspiring and focused on youth leadership, community service and action, and, of course, food and farming.
Contact:
Kristen Maring
(360) 628-4902

Master Recycler Composter Volunteers

The Master Recycler Composters of Thurston County is a volunteer service program. Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteers are trained on how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to prevent waste, recycle and compost in Thurston County.

Course graduates agree to give a minimum of 25 hours of yearly service as they put their new skills to use. They work with local organizations, community members, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or at special events encouraging waste prevention, recycling and composting. MRC’s can design their own projects or work existing ones. On-going continuing education opportunities are provided.

Contact
Master Recycler Composter Volunteer
Cori Carlton, Program Coordinator
Email
360-867-2162
http://ext100.wsu.edu/thurston/mc/

The Hands On Children’s Museum

The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Voted “Best Family Entertainment”
The Hands On Children’s Museum was selected “Best Family Entertainment” and “Best Museum” in the Best of South Sound 2013 contest. Hands On was also a Top 4 Finalist for “Best Fun Place to Take Kids” in the King 5 Best of Western Washington 2013. We are also a family favorite on Yelp and we received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

The Hands on Children’s Museum offers:

  • Volunteer positions for a variety of ages, interests and skill levels
  • Opportunities to gain valuable experience to include on your resume
  • Opportunities for individuals, groups and school classes
  • Special project opportunities
  • School credit for community service
  • Formal internships for both high school and college students
  • Teen Volunteer Program for youth ages 13 and above

To learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities and to fill out an application visit the Volunteer Page on our website.

Hands On Children’s Museum

414 Jefferson Street NE

Olympia WA 98501

(360)956-0818

info@hocm.org

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Thurston County Public Health

We provide workshops, presentations, and on-site trainings for residents, businesses, and groups on environmental health topics.

Educational Programs
The Education and Outreach Program is available for presentations to your workgroup, classroom, or community group. Talks can be tailored to your timeframe and audience.

Topics we offer for adult audiences:

  • Protect Kids from Toxins — Children have more exposure and are more sensitive to common toxins such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals found around our homes and yards. Learn basic, low-cost steps you can take to protect children from toxins, so they can reach their fullest potential. Presentations can be geared to childcare staff (Stars credit is available) or parents.
  • Common Sense Gardening — How to make your garden thrive without using chemical products; how to use integrated pest management to control weeds and pests in your yard, garden, and lawn.
  • Household Hazardous Waste 101 — How to read labels and choose safer products for your household. Can include making a multi-purpose “green” cleaner to bring home.

Topics we offer students:

  • Get Out of My Hair: Toxins in Personal Care — grades 6-adults Learn about health concerns, how to read labels, helpful websites, and safer alternatives. Students will make an all-natural lip balm to take home, to remind them they can keep looking and smelling good without toxic products!
  • Hazards on the Homefront — grades 6-12 Learn how to read product labels for toxicity levels and proper use, storage, and disposal of household products. A fast-paced bingo game teaches students about alternative products and an experiment comparing cleaners lets students determine first-hand whether less-toxic products are effective!
  • Used Oil Recycling — grades 9-12 Recycling used motor oil is one way that drivers can maintain their cars, as well as protect the environment. Information on transportation alternatives, as well as carpooling, trip reduction, and hazardous materials disposal is presented in an interactive 35-minute presentation.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

Volunteer and internship opportunities are available and can be custom-tailored.

Email
Phone: 360-867-2674
Website

South Sound GREEN

South Sound Green (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network)

South Sound GREEN has provided comprehensive watershed education for teachers and students in Thurston County since 1992. The program works with 4th-12th grade students in the Olympia, North Thurston, Tumwater, Griffin, and Rainier school districts, as well as students in private schools, home schools, and local colleges and universities. South Sound GREEN is based within the Thurston Conservation District.

 Educational Programs

  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Nearshore Field Experiences
  • Action/Restoration Projects (including removing invasive species and planting native plants)
  • Student GREEN Congress (annual event coordinated with the Nisqually River Education Program)
  • Classroom Watershed Demonstrations and Salmon Dissections
  • Guided Salmon Spawning Field Experiences

 Professional Development/Teacher Support:

Teachers who participate in our programs can receive water quality testing supplies, field trip funding, and ongoing support in integrating watershed education into their curriculum. We offer teacher professional development through our annual Summer Institute for Teachers in late June, as well as other climate science education workshops and trainings throughout the school year.

Volunteer Opportunities:

We are always looking for volunteers to help with field experiences and Student GREEN Congress. If you are interested in helping us out, please send an email to Stephanie Bishop.

Contact:
Stephanie Bishop, Program Manager
360-754-3588 ext. 108
Email
Website
Instagram

Thurston County Stream Team

If you enjoy rushing streams, clean air, the smell of rich soil on your hands and the camaraderie of other people who like to make a difference, then get involved with Stream Team!

Stream Team offers a fun and rewarding way to protect and improve local streams, rivers and Puget Sound. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds can get involved. Love the outdoors? Join us at tree plantings or stream-bug monitoring sessions. Are you a bird watcher? Build a bird nest box, attend a shorebird field trip or help monitor purple martin nest boxes. If you enjoy talking with other people, you might want to become a Salmon Steward. Or perhaps you’d just like to attend workshops and learn more about what you can do to protect our water resources. Stream Team welcomes any level of involvement you choose to take.

Stream Team events are free and open to everyone. You can participate individually, or bring your family, friends or members of your community group.

Stream Team Website
Facebook Page

 

In Lacey Contact:
Emily Watts
ewatts@ci.lacey.wa.us or (360) 438-2687

 

In Olympia Contact:
Michelle Stevie
mstevie@ci.olympia.wa.us or (360) 753-8336

 

In Tumwater Contact:
Meridith Greer
mgreer@ci.tumwater.wa.us or (360) 754-4148

 

In Thurston County Contact:
Anne Marie Pearce
pearcea@co.thurston.wa.us or (360)754-3355 ext. 6857

South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust

South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust (SSCFLT) is a membership-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving farmland and to keeping it farmed forever. Based in Olympia, it concentrates on the areas south of Puget Sound. The organization consists of a working Board of Directors who contribute their commitment, skills, and experience, a part-time Grant Writer/Project Development Coordinator, several dozen volunteers, and a general membership of about 140.

Our Mission: Promoting Vibrant local food and farming systems through community-supported farmland preservation strategies, educational outreach, and partnerships that increase opportunities for farms and farmers to flourish.

Our Work:

  • Farmland Preservation
  • Thurston County Farmland Inventory
  • Direct Sales Farm Map
  • Small Farm Equipment

Volunteer
We depend on our members to be active participants in the work we do. There are many ways volunteers can help. You help distribute the Direct Sales Farm Map in late March, represent SSCFLT at public events, serve on a committee, be part of an event team, and more.  Also consider becoming a Board Member. The membership elects the Board of Directors, each serving a three-year term.

Contact:
Community Farm Land Trust
(360) 786-9775
Email
Website

Wolf Haven International

Wolf Haven International
Wolf Haven International is a nationally recognized wolf sanctuary that has rescued and provided a lifetime home for over 300 displaced, captive-born animals since 1982.   Wolf Haven is certified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and participates in two Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs for endangered wolves.  Wolf Haven is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to conserving and protecting wolves and their habitat.

Visit Us
Guided walking visits offer visitors a rare, close-up view of wolves. Visitors can also follow a walking trail through beautiful native Mima Mound prairie and enjoy the native flowers, birds, butterflies that can be found there.  Stop and chat with our docent and learn even more, while also exploring skulls of some of Washington’s wildlife. Advanced reservations are required.

 Educational Programs
Wolf Haven offers a variety of presentations for groups of all ages, preschool through adult. Youth presentations meet Next Generation Science Standards and scout badges – more information available upon request. For information on pricing, programs, or scheduling, please call or e-mail. Advanced reservations are required.

Volunteer & Internship Opportunities
A variety of volunteer opportunities exist, including public visit guide, information table docent, and program presenter.  Animal care is not part of our volunteer positions.

Internship opportunities exist with our Education Department.

Other
We also have 30+ acres of endangered Mima Mound prairie. Visits to the prairie are complimentary on our sanctuary open days. To bring a group to our prairie, please contact us.

Contact:
Wolf Haven International
3111 Offut Lake Rd. SE
Tenino, Washington 98589
Email

Website
Facebook