San Antonio Natural Areas Volunteer events & opportunities
Volunteers are a very important part of the City of San Antonio's Natural Areas' management and care. Contact Gabriela Tello by email or by phone (210) 207-2899 for information on ways to contribute to the Natural Area's programs and projects.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Assist with Education programs
Be a field guide for natural history tours
Be program staff at summer ecology day camps
Perform natural history presentations and promote the Natural Areas at community and area events
Teach or assist with classes for adults, children, homeschoolers, scouts
Conduct informal interpretation along the trails
Assist with writing or editing curriculum
Translate education materials and website content into Spanish
Put up bulletin boards in the Natural Areas
Research and develop new programs
Lead preschool classes using the Growing Up Wild Curriculum at Walker Ranch Park
Participate in Volunteer Days
doing natural area maintenance and restoration
Every fourth Saturday at Medina River NA
As scheduled in other Natural Areas: examples include trail maintenance, planting days and invasive species removal.
Assist Park Naturalists
Scientific assessments of vegetation and animal populations such as birds and cave crickets;
Evaluations of land use and condition;
Land management activities such as removal of invasive species, restoration of endangered species habitat and control of selected woody species;
Researching special topics related to land management and biological assessments;
Designing and conducting research projects.
Working under the supervision of a Park Naturalist, some volunteers also organize and conduct their own projects such as a volunteer led invasive plant mapping and eradication team.
Required Forms: Participants must provide signed indemnification forms before attending volunteer events. The forms are available here:
The Natural Areas seek to promote inclusive and transformative relationships between people and natural systems. To accomplish this mission, we have a variety of programs, classes and guided hikes. We always need volunteers to lead out in these activities or to provide support. If you are interested in assisting with education programs in any capacity, please contact Peggy Spring by email or by phone at (210) 564-6402. For Medina River Natural Area and Phil Hardberger Park, contact Susan Campbell by email or by phone at (210) 624-9076.
Physical Requirements: Physical requirements for assisting in education programs vary widely – there is something for everyone! Guided hikes are conducted along the existing trails of varying degrees of difficulty. Some are paved and some are natural and rocky. Please assess your ability accordingly. They occur in all kinds of weather – please be aware of how this could affect your ability to lead a hike.
Some staticprograms are conducted in an air-conditioned classroom; others in open pavilions or picnic areas. Check with the director of the program with which you want to volunteer to see where it will be conducted.
Equipment/clothing: No special equipment is necessary to volunteer with education programs. If you are leading a guided hike, you will be provided with a field bag that has several resources and minimal first aid materials. Dress for the weather remembering that it can change during the hike or program. In the winter, this may mean wearing several layers to protect against the varying temperatures. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are a must for any hike! A hat is highly recommended during sunny weather. Remember to bring sunscreen and insect repellant if desired. At leaast one filled water bottle is needed all year long - the weather here can be very warm even during the winter, and can be hazardous in summer without plenty of water.
Static programs conducted outside require similar clothing. Even for those programs in the air conditioned classroom, we will usually be outside part of the time.
Training: Generally, one or two major Education Volunteer trainings are scheduled annually. Several smaller trainings are conducted for specific programs such as the Wild! Weeks summer camps. Field guide orientations are conducted continually during the year. Please contact Peggy Spring or Susan Campbell for education trainings.
Assist Park Naturalists:
In accordance with the Management Plan for San Antonio's Natural Areas, we conduct biological surveys on all Natural Area Preserves. This information helps us in the management of these lands and protection of the resources. The Park Naturalists publish a monthly stewardship newsletter which lists many of their volunteer opportunities. Let us know if you wish to receive this newsletter via email. The Park Naturalists can also help interested people contact volunteers who are doing their own projects or can place volunteers on teams requiring special skills (such as avian census teams). If you are interested in the newsletter or helping with these activities, contact Jayne Neal at email@example.com or by phone at (210) 207-5319 or Wendy Leonard at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (210) 207-3292.
Physical Requirements: Most of the volunteer work with Park Naturalists requires the ability to hike in rugged terrain and through brush. However, sometimes there are opportunities to work in less rigorous conditions or to do computer research from home.
Equipment/clothing: Most equipment will be provided for you. If you have a GPS instrument and a compass, they can be useful. In some cases, a backpack would be useful to help carry equipment. Be sure to bring plenty of water.
Because we must hike in rugged terrain where there may be poison ivy, mosquitoes and ticks, we recommend folks wear long sleeve lightweight shirts, long pants, a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable hiking shoes or boots. Bring gloves and outerwear appropriate for the weather.
Training: Some of the opportunities require special skills (like being able to identify birds by sight and song). For other activities, the Park Naturalists provide all training and equipment. For the ecological surveys, we may provide training on how to use a GPS, topographical maps, and/or learn more about local vegetation. Check with the park naturalist to see what training is needed for each project.
Volunteer Days & Special Projects
Throughout the year, we have special volunteer projects with partner groups such as Texas Public Radio, church and civic groups, corporations and military groups. Some of our Natural Areas have regularly scheduled workdays such as Medina River Natural Area's"Viva Voluntarios." Contact Gabriela Tello by email or by phone (210) 207-2899. For Medina River events, contact Susan Campbell by email or by phone at (210) 624-9076.
Physical Requirements: The physical requirements for each work project may vary but most will be conducted in the outdoors subject to the elements. Some projects may be conducted in developed Natural Areas while others occur in rugged areas of undeveloped properties. Please note the conditions of each project when it is scheduled and assess your physical abilities accordingly.
Equipment/clothing:Dress for the weather! Remember that it can change throughout the time of the project. In the winter, this may mean wearing several layers to protect against the varying temperatures. Long sleeved shirts and long pants are needed for many projects. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes and work gloves are a must for any project! A hat is highly recommended during sunny weather. Remember to bring sunscreen, insect repellant and snacks if desired. At least one filled water bottle is needed all year long - the weather here can be very warm even during the winter. In the summer, it can be life-threatening to work without water! Check to see if containers for refilling water bottles will be available on site – this is usually the case but there may be exceptions.
For most of our projects, all tools and supplies are provided. In some cases, participants are asked to bring small hand tools if they have them.
Training: Training for most of the workdays will be provided at the beginning of the project. Occasionally a pre-event training will be conducted and this will be announced.