Volunteer On Your Forest!

Welcome to the Discover Your Forest Volunteer Page. This page provides information on volunteering with the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River Grasslands. Volunteering for the Forest Service can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As a volunteer, you will be helping to manage resources that are increasingly important to our Nation. 

Volunteers are the very heart of the Forest Service. Volunteers maintain trails, serve as Interpretive Rangers and Wilderness Trailhead Stewards, they serve as hosts at campgrounds, teach their communities about conservation education, and perform important administrative needs as well as many other valuable services. Without volunteers, these services would not be performed as well or might not be performed at all. 

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with the Deschutes or Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River Grasslands, complete the volunteer application below and/or contact Stacey Cochran, Community Engagement Director, at stacey.cochran@discovernw.org or 541-383-5530.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer Opportunities - Deschutes NF

Spring/Summer - High Public Contact

Volunteer Interpretive Ranger and Wilderness Stewards
– At Lava Lands Visitor Center
– At Lava River Cave
– At Lava Butte
– Newberry Caldera
– Mt. Bachelor
– Wilderness Trailheads

* Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava Butte *
Interpretive Ranger Hikes and Talks
• Held Daily
• 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM
• Develop and Deliver Interpretive Talk
• Optional Guided Hike
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week
• Lave Butte has informal interaction, no set program

School Field Trips Interpretive Ranger
• Held Daily May and first half of June and in Sept
• 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM
• Deliver Educational Interpretive Talk
• Lead students on nature hike
• Lead Activities
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week

* Lava River Cave *
Ranger Assistant and Bat Education Interpretive Ranger
• Held Daily
• 3:00 PM
• Develop and Deliver Interpretive Talk
• Assist Lead Ranger
• Welcome & Direct Visitors
• Ability to walk on uneven surfaces and comfortable w/dark environments
• Bat White Nose Syndrome Education
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week

Cave School Field Trips Interpretive Ranger
• Held Daily May and first half of June and in Sept
• 10:00 AM and 12:30 PM
• Deliver Educational Interpretive Talk
• Lead students on educational hike
• Lead Activities
• Minimim Commitment: 1 day per week

* Newberry Caldera *
Roving Ranger and Visitor Services
• Open Daily
• Noon –4:00 PM, Flexible but Mid-day is Best
• Patrol Caldera Trails
• Inform Visitors, Answer Questions
• Maybe Some Micro-Trash Pick-up
• Inform Lead About Trail Status
• Minimum Commitment: 4 days per month

* Mt. Bachelor *
Hike with a Ranger
• Weekends for sure, but hopefully daily
• 2:00 PM
• Develop and Lead Visitors on an Interpretive Nature Hike
• Start at Pine Martin Deck
• Inform Visitors, Answer Questions
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week

Patio Talks
• Open Daily
• 11:00 AM & 1:30 PM
• Develop and Deliver Formal Interpretive Talk
• Pine Martin Deck
• Inform Visitors, Answer Questions
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week

* Wilderness Program *
Trailhead Stewards
• Fri -Mon
• 8:00 –4:00
• Greet the public and ensuring they are aware of the NW Forest Pass and Wilderness Permit requirements.
• Provide info on wilderness rules and regulations
• Provide info on Leave No Trace and wilderness ethics to ensure visitors have a successful experience.
• Provide local info about the Deschutes National Forest and recreation opportunities in the area.
• A small mobile office will be on site for shelter and disseminating wilderness information

* Classroom and In-Field Conervation Education*
Conservation Education Assistance
• Almost Daily and Some Weekends
• Deliver Education Programs, Presentations, and Activities for various Conservation Education Programs.
• Can be pre-and post-Monument Visits
• Monitoring and Data Collection
• Help with Activity and Curriculum Planning
• Provide Teacher Support
• Minimum Commitment: 1 day per week

Aquatics –Fish Dissection
• Now –End of May
• Lasts about 1.5 hours per session
• 4-5 Classes per volunteer
• Assist Forest Service Fisheries Biologist with 4thand 5thgrade classes.
• Fish Dissections –hands on activity
• Training will be provided

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
• Elementary Schools throughout Central Oregon
• Dates: April 17th-April 28th(1 hour readings, sign up individually or as a pair)
• Training in early April.
• Read this beloved classic about conservation to Kindergarten-3rdgraders, and help celebrate Earth Day!
• A fun interactive reading as well as a conservation discussion with students
• Encouraged to dress in FS uniform.
• Teachers will be scheduling in April, and we are hoping to read to 1,000 students, please consider sharing this great message!

Forestry Studies
• Obsidian Middle School at SkylinersLodge, TumaloCreek
• Dates: Tues, June 6th, Thurs, June 8th, and Fri, June 9th(times 9:30-1:30)
• Lead stations covering wildlife, trees/plants, or insects.
• Students will engage in hands-on activities.
• On-site training in late May/early June.

Stewardship Studies
• Pilot Butte Middle School at Pilot Butte State Park
• Dates: Mon, May 22nd, Tues, May 23rd, Tues, May 30th, and Thurs, June 1st(times to be determined)
• Lead groups of student in identifying native and invasive plant species found along Pilot Butte (May 22 and May 23).
• Assist in stewardship day, help pull invasive plants with students (May 30 and June 1).
• Training provided mid-May.

* Cascade Lakes Welcome Station *
– 8:00 – 11:00ish shifts
– Mid-week and weekends
– Assist and answer visitor questions
– Help navigate locations for visitors

* Conservation Stewardship Days *
• Outdoor Adventure Day –June
• Free Fish Day –June
• Young Women’s Career Camp -June
• BioBlitz–TBD
• Public Lands Day –Sept
• Batacular! –October
• And, More!

Spring/Summer - Some/Low Public Contact

* Wilderness Program *
Trailhead Permit Box Maintenance
• About 2 Days per week in field and maybe a day/half-day in the office
• Time frame: peak summer, Memorial Day –October 31st
• Drive to wilderness trailheads, stocking blank permits, and collecting completed ones
• It could also be helping us scan permits into the system
• GovtDL course can be offered to use FS Rigs

Wilderness Forest Ranger
• Uniformed volunteer Ranger
• Participate in extended trips into the Wilderness monitoring and attending to visitor needs.
• Higher-level volunteer opportunity
• GovtDL course can be offered to use FS Rigs

* Botany *
Weed pulling (primarily spotted knapweed, but might be some mullein).
• Sites are present along the Deschutes River: Meadow Camp, Slough Camp, Benham Falls Day-Use area, Dillon Falls.
• Site visited at least once between June 1 –August 15
• Visiting/pulling the site twice spaced out over time is preferred, but not mandatory;
• Bags will be needed and provided if the plants are in flower (generally after mid-July).

Monitoring/weed pulling of rock pits.
• Not glamorous but a very important task, to ensure the FS does not transport weeds to new areas.
• The pits are at Deschutes Bridge and at Red Butte.
• These two pits have only had mullein present as of 2016 and are thus relatively weed-free.

Rare Plants
Relocation of known green-tinged paintbrush sites along the 40 road, a few miles west of Sunriver.
• Involves locating the sites with a GPS unit, encircling the sites with flagging, counting the paintbrush at each site, and GPS’ingthe polygon.
• No experience with GPS units is necessary.
• This work would occur in late May through the end of July.

Monitoring of green-tinged paintbrush in two plots west of Pine Mountain.
• The volunteer would assist by helping to locate all paintbrush plants within the plots, then acting as the data recorder as the botanist dictates the information on each tagged paintbrush in the plots.
• This work would occur the last week of July.

Pumice moonwort monitoring
• La Pine/Newberry Caldera Zone
• The volunteer would be working alongside the botanist and other FS employees to find any plants that may be present.
• This work would occur in June –early July.

* Hydrology *
Blue Green Algae Monitoring
• Through the Sisters Ranger District
• Bisualobservation at SuttleLake and Perry South Campground on the MetoliusArm of Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir
• Every Monday.
• May -October
• Based on the observation, it may require water samples to be taken and mailed off to the lab
• 1.5 hour drive from Bend and a 1 hour drive from Sisters
• Getting your GovtDL may be an option

* Trails *
Trail Surveyer
• Cascade Lakes Highway
• July –Late Summer
• 2-4 days per month
• Count the number and general size of the trees that are downed and not logged out
• Passes information to trails groups to let them know what is needed
• Provide info on any other usual info (i.elots of bugs, snow on trail, etc.)
• Training will be provided

Winter - High Public Contact

These opportunities have high contact with the public and require the applicant to provide a thorough description of their experience interacting with the public within the “Experience” field of the Volunteer Application.

Winter Volunteer Interpretive Rangers
Represent the U.S. Forest Service at Mt. Bachelor leading Interpretive snowshoe tours and ski tours. Rangers also needed for Project SNOW, education based snowshoe program for school field-trips to Mt. Bachelor. Duties include helping visitors don snowshoes and/or skis, safely guiding up to 75 people on a 1 mile snowshoe walk, and occasional snow removal. Snowshoe and Ski Rangers are asked to commit to at least 4 hikes a month (or 1 day per week) from mid-December 2016 – March 31, 2017.

Project SNOW Educational Interpretive Rangers
Represent the U.S. Forest Service at Mt. Bachelor leading students on an educational snowshoe hike. Duties include guiding students to learn to snowshoe and discover the winter environment at Mt. Bachelor using a field based and experiential approach in science inquiry to assess nivean environments; using snow tools, animal tracking and seasonal adaptation studies. Project S.N.O.W Rangers are asked to commit to at least 4 hikes a month (or 1 day per week) from early January – March 31, 2017.

Volunteer Opportunities - Ochoco NF

Summer Season

* Lighter projects *
• Surveying enclosure fences to determine
maintenance issues
• Checking maintenance requirements on
• Making sure gates are closed at the end
of the season
• Surveys for aspen
• 6-8 hours in a work day, flexible per
week, month, etc.
• Training on Day 1 in the field
• Use free downloadable Avenza maps for
tracking GPS coordinates and photo &
map sharing

* More Physical projects *
• Lopping juniper
• Fixing fences
• Fixing guzzlers

Range and Wild Horses
* Range *
• Photo point monitoring
• Adopt-an-Exclosure
• Inventory developments
• Escape ramp installation

* Wild Horses *
• Inventory Count (July 19 & 20)
• Individual Photo
• Reconnaissance/Scouting

Rager Ranger Station Host/Caretaker
• Daily site grounds walk to survey location status,
assess any maintenance needs
• Record daily site visitation and general description
of what visitor did. (one on one thorough interaction
not needed)
• Uses hand tools and power tools in making minor
maintenance repairs and maintaining grounds, as
authorized by the Ochoco National Forest, including
but not limited to:
• Mowing lawns up to 20 feet around each
• Painting
• General Cleaning
• Repair work of doors and windows (boarding
• Barbed Wire fence removal and repair
• Maintaining compound fence and removing
interior fences as identified by FS Staff
• Provides assistance to FS staff as necessary.
• Uniform is Volunteer Vest and FS Hat

Human Ecology Mapping Survey Outreach Assistance
* Community Outreach *
• Help FS Staff reach
community members to take
the survey
• Having good communication
skills and are comfortable
meeting new people a plus
• Interview with FS Specialist
• Assist with Summer events to
help people take the survey

* Adopt-A-Scabland *
• Help to protect Scablands from Invasives,
Motorized, soil erosion, livestock, and more
• In the Ochoco mountains east of Prineville
• Minimum of twice per year walk of a scab
to survey
• Complete a monitoring checklist
• Volunteers can do a variety of activities
depending on their skills, interests, and
commitment level.
• Training May 6 and May 13

* Adopt Black Canyon Wilderness *
• Remote Weeding Project
• May take an overnight trip to access
• Treat using manual removal and
• Visited and weeded twice a year
• May be best for a group to take on

For more information about these opportunities please contact Stacey Cochran at 541-383-5530, 541-508-9899 cell, or stacey.cochran@discovernw.org.

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