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U.S. Forest Service

Citizen Scientists

Volunteer and conservation education programs help the Forest Service fulfill its mission to “care for the land and serve people”. The programs promote healthy ecosystems, and increase the public’s knowledge and enjoyment of national forests and grasslands.

The Forest Service’s Conservation Education program helps people of all ages understand and appreciate our country's natural resources and learn how to conserve those resources for future generations. For more information about the program and environmental education learning modules, visit the Conservation Education program website.

Volunteering on National Forests is an educational and rewarding experience. Volunteers assist agency personnel in planning and accomplishing restoration projects and other important types of work. These efforts help the public connect with nature, while building relationships among people who share an appreciation for native plants and other natural resources.

You can join one of the existing Forest Service Volunteer Organizations, or volunteer on your own. Go to the “Volunteering” section in the website of a national forest near you for information about volunteer opportunities or call your local Forest Service office. Volunteer Match is a private non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find rewarding volunteer experiences.

Around the country, organizations such as Friends of the Forest host volunteer events to help people of all ages connect with nature and take care of their National Forests. Groups or agencies sponsoring volunteer events often post notices on the Federal Government’s Volunteer website.

Citizen scientist recording information about plants. Exposure to native plants and other natural resources at an early age can lead to fulfilling careers and hobbies.

A group of adults and children looking at and discussing a plant monitoring plot. Citizen scientists collecting plant monitoring information.

A student volunteer collecting native seed. A student volunteer collecting native seed.

Other Sources of Information About Volunteer Opportunities

three young women planting a seedling in a burned area.

two men, two women, and a child digging holes in an open area. Families around the country often join together and share in their volunteer experiences. Shown here are volunteer families helping to restore native plant communities on the San Bernardino National Forest, California, (top) and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Illinois (bottom).

group of men and women looking at a wetlands habitat having a discussion with a smaller picture overlaid in the lower left corner of a western pond turtle. Volunteers help restore habitat for the western pond turtle.