Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge officials will host a meeting for potential volunteers at 10 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 7 in the refuge auditorium. Topics will cover volunteer opportunities as well as upcoming activities and a tour of the grounds.
BHNWR Outdoor Recreation Planner Tina Watson said that volunteers are not limited to cleaning duties or trail upkeep, although those responsibilities are extremely important. Individuals with good personalities, who like interacting with the public, are also needed to staff the visitor center and help operate the Refuge Store. At the Visitor Center, volunteers typically interact with the public through conversations about the best methods for enjoying the refuge. They explain the difference between guided and self-guided or auto tours and assist visitors with any questions. At the Refuge Store, which was created by the Friends of Bombay Hook to help fund the educational and recreational programs at the refuge, volunteers sell items like t-shirts, books and hats. It is open year-around, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and fall seasons.
Individuals with an interest in education and a gift for working with children are also needed for the various school groups and children who annually visit the refuge. Teaching credentials are not required as training will be provided. However, Watson added that teachers are encouraged to create their own programs as are Boy Scout and Girl Scout troupe leaders. Potential "teaching volunteers" need to simply call the refuge at (302) 653-9345 to sign up for the "Teachers Workshop," which will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11.
Other volunteer opportunities include refuge tours, trail and landscaping maintenance and highway clean up assistance. Active volunteers may also be called upon for special wildlife projects throughout the year. Training is always provided.
"We really would not be able to provide as many activities to the public and to school groups without an active volunteer community," Watson explained. "They're essential for us to be able to fulfill our mission of providing information about habitat and wildlife conservation."
Anyone who cannot attend the informational meeting scheduled for the first Saturday in September can also simply call Watson at the refuge to schedule individualized training.
For more information about the land and wildlife of Bombay Hook, which spans eight miles of bay-front property that covers 16,251 acres and includes tidal salt marshes, mud flats, tidal pools, rivers, streams, forests, driving and walking trails, observation towers, and photography and hunting opportunities, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/Bombay_Hook.