Volunteer

As a safety mitigation measure during COVID-19, Cape Cod National Seashore has scaled back volunteer operations in 2020 and is not taking on new volunteers until further notice. Thank you for your interest, and contact us again in the fall.

Cape Cod National Seashore is fortunate to have several hundred talented and committed volunteers who provide thousands of hours of support to the national seashore each year in the areas of natural resource management, maintenance, planning, and education and visitor services. No matter your passion, there is likely a volunteer opportunity that will appeal to you. Specific opportunities vary from year-to-year. Some positions require significant training, and this will be discussed when you contact the volunteer lead for the program that interests you. Housing is not available for short-term volunteers.

In addition to ongoing volunteer work, there are occasional opportunities for short-term group service projects, including trail work and beach clean-ups. Contact the seashore for more information.

Persons under the age of 18 wishing to volunteer are invited to contact the park to see if there are upcoming service projects or to discuss their qualifications and interests. Note that Cape Cod National Seashore has very few opportunities for individual minor volunteer placements. In lieu of a volunteer position, seashore staff may be able to provide a learning experience for the young person, including meeting to discuss education and career opportunities, or shadowing staff performing work in the young person's field of interest.

For those seeking a greater commitment, such as full-time internships for a few months to six months or longer, the national seashore hosts interns provided by American Conservation Experience http://www.usaconservation.org/ and AmeriCorps Cape Cod https://www.americorpscapecod.org/

Partner organizations, including Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Truro Historical Society, and Nauset Light Preservation Society also utilize volunteers to accomplish their missions in support of the national seashore. Contact them if you are interested in learning more.

If you have specialized skills, or see a need for volunteer work that is not listed here, or have questions about volunteering, please contact the seashore volunteer coordinator, Sue Moynihan.

Download the Volunteer Application
 

Natural Resources

Cut, Pile, and Burn Projects
Number of volunteers needed: Open
Description of work: Work alongside the Cape Cod National Seashore Fire Management Team to assist with resource management goals to reduce wildland fuels, manage the ecological health of open landscapes, and maintain historic vistas. Work involves cutting, piling, and burning brush during the open burn season each winter and spring. Volunteers use hand tools (loppers, clippers and handsaws) to cut vegetation and then build piles from the cut materials to be burned that day or in the future.
Skills or experience required: Ability to follow direction and work as part of a team. Comfortable working with hand tools and working on uneven terrain in field conditions at temperatures between 25 to 65 degrees. Ability to interpret potentially hazardous situations or dangers and report to the on-site work leader.
Equipment to be provided: The park supplies supply all necessary tools, supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, including hard-hat, eye protection, ear protection, leather gloves, and fire-resistant nomex. Nomex must be worn as the outer top layer. Drinking water is available on site.
Equipment not provided, but required of the volunteer: Transportation to and from the worksite; lunch; sturdy shoes (boots preferred) and layered clothing appropriate for the work environment and necessary for predicted weather conditions.
Note: Burn activity has the potential to produce airborne embers. Nylon and polyester clothing may NOT be worn during pile burning. Natural material (cotton, wool) is necessary to prevent injury. Old cotton sweatshirts and jeans work well.
Time Commitment: Tuesdays in late fall and until the close of open burn season on May 1. The time commitment for any volunteer day is three hours, 9 am to noon. There is no obligation to serve for multiple weeks. Even just a one-time service session is greatly appreciated!
Contact: Dave Crary

Water Sampling Volunteer
Number of volunteers needed: 1 person, or a couple
Description of work: Volunteers travel to the national seashore's six swimming beaches from Eastham to Provincetown on Monday mornings to collect water samples and record weather conditions. Volunteers then drop the samples off at seashore headquarters in Wellfleet to be delivered to a laboratory for analysis.
Skills required: This task requires attention to detail and ability to follow basic protocols precisely. A valid driver's license is required. A government vehicle is available for use (pick up in Truro). The work requires wading a few feet into the water to collect samples. Training will be provided.
Time Commitment: Every Monday morning (approximately 3-4 hours per day) from late June through August.
Contact: Steve Smith at stephen_m_smith@nps.gov or 508-487-3262, ext. 0508

 

Shorebird Education and Outreach

Shorebird Protection—Give Them a Break and Much Needed Space
Number of volunteers needed: Open
Description: During the busy summer months, it’s difficult for shorebirds to rest and feed on the beaches and mudflats without human disturbance. Volunteers are positioned in areas where young vulnerable shorebird chicks are feeding or where there are concentrations of migrating/staging shorebirds. Through public engagement and education, volunteers use binoculars and field guides to interact with visitors, discussing the importance of allowing shorebirds to rest and feed on beaches, and suggesting alternative walking routes to reduce disturbance. This is an excellent opportunity to share your passion for nature and give shorebirds a much needed break. This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided).
Skills required: Volunteers may need to walk 1-2 miles in soft sand (to the observation points and back) during the heat of the day. Prefer that volunteers bring their own binoculars. A required training will be held in mid-March/early April. Additional training may be required from park staff on park communication.
Time Commitment: At least one day per week for 4 hours from June-September.
Contact: Jess Whitmore and Carolyn Campbell, email Carolyn Campbell

Be the VOICE & Spread the Word - Shorebirds Need Our Help - Staff a Mobile Information Station
Number of volunteers needed: 2 per day
Description of work: These volunteers communicate with the public, providing education and information services at shorebird nest sites and visitor access points from Eastham to Provincetown. Volunteers staff a portable shorebird display table at beach accesses or temporary closures with activities and handouts, helping visitors understand threatened birds and how they can help. A spotting scope may be set up to view birds. Two people are needed to staff the table each day.
Skills required: Strong interpersonal skills with a helpful and friendly attitude. Although volunteers will be trained by park staff, general knowledge and interest in natural history and shorebirds would be useful. This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided). A required training will be held in mid-March/early April. Additional training may be required from park staff on park communication.
Time Commitment: One day per week for 3-7 hours (a good project for couples), from June-August.
Contact: Jess Whitmore and Carolyn Campbell, email Carolyn Campbell
 

Visitor Services - Interpretation

Volunteer Visitor Center Assistant, Salt Pond Visitor Center, Eastham
Number of volunteers needed: Variable
Description of work: Assist visitors at a busy visitor center. Respond to questions about national seashore activities, resources, and facilities, and help visitors match their interests with things to see and do. This position promotes visitor understanding and protection of national seashore resources, and promotes visitor safety.
Skills or experience required: Strong interpersonal skills with a helpful and friendly attitude. Willingness to learn and apply communications skills that help build public understanding of park resources, issues, and themes. General knowledge of the New England area with more specific knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the Outer Cape. Knowledge of park rules, regulations and safety requirements. Ability to converse with a broad range of people and to work as a member of a team; ability to listen and understand multiple perspectives regarding complex issues; and tact in explaining sensitive issues to the public.This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided). Training includes a formal session in spring and shadowing staff and experienced volunteers.
Time commitment: Year-round, one to two shifts per week, four hours per shift.
Contact: Brent Ellis, Park Ranger, 508-255-3421 x 23, email Brent Ellis

Volunteer Interpreter, Seal Education Team, Eastham and Truro
Number of new volunteers needed in 2020: 6
Description of work: Provide information to visitors who are viewing seals resting at low tide on sandbars in Truro and Eastham. Discuss seal species, natural history, and biology, and the dynamics between seals and sharks. Encourage compliance with Marine Mammal Protection Act guidelines, such as keeping dogs on leashes and not approaching seals. This position promotes visitor understanding of national seashore resources and protection.
Skill or experience required: Interest in, and ability to research and learn about seals and sharks and the marine ecosystem in order to provide accurate information to visitors; prior public contact experience required; ability to converse with a broad range of people and to work as a member of a team; ability to listen and understand multiple perspectives regarding complex issues; and tact in explaining sensitive issues to the public. This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided); ability to walk in soft sand to haul out site (up to 1 mile each way); and ability to stand in the sun in a hot and humid environment for four hours. Eight hours of formal training in spring plus shadowing of experienced volunteers is required.
Time commitment: June through August. A flexible schedule is helpful, as shift times change daily with the tide. Shifts are four to five hours each. Schedules are prepared in advance, and volunteers sign up for shifts according to their availability. A minimum of four shifts per month required. New volunteers accepted through mid-April.
Contact: Sue Moynihan, Chief, Interpretation and Cultural Resources Management, 508-957-0738, email Sue Moynihan

Volunteer Interpreter, Old Harbor Life-Saving Station
Number of new volunteers needed in 2020: 4
Description of work: Engage in conversation with the public visiting the historic Old Harbor Life-Saving Station at Race Point Beach in Provincetown. Old Harbor is the last intact station of the original 13 stations located on Cape Cod to help prevent wrecks and rescue shipwreck victims in the early 1900s. It is a fully furnished museum, including boats, reflecting life in a working station at the turn of the 20th century. Volunteers provide information related to the station's history and the role it played in Cape Cod's maritime past. This position promotes visitor understanding of national seashore history.
Skill or experience required: Interest in, and ability to research and learn about maritime history in order to provide accurate information to visitors; prior public contact experience required; ability to converse with a broad range of people and to work as a member of a team; ability to listen and understand multiple perspectives regarding complex issues; and tact in explaining sensitive issues to the public. This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided). Volunteers also must be able to walk a short distance in soft sand to access the building, climb stairs, and work for 2 hours in a building without air conditioning. This is a public contact position that requires the ability to converse with a broad range of people and to work as a member of a team, to listen and understand multiple perspectives regarding complex issues, and to tactfully explain sensitive issues to the public.. Eight hours of formal training in spring plus shadowing of experienced volunteers is required.
Time commitment: Late May through September; one, two-hour afternoon shift per week. New volunteers accepted through early May.
Contact: Sue Moynihan, Chief, Interpretation and Cultural Resources Management, 508-957-0738, email Sue Moynihan

Volunteer Visitor Center Assistant, Province Lands Visitor Center, Provincetown
Number of new volunteers needed in 2020: 4
Description of work: Assist visitors at a busy visitor center. Respond to questions about national seashore activities, resources, and facilities, and help visitors match their interests with things to see and do. This position promotes visitor understanding and protection of national seashore resources, and promotes visitor safety.
Skill or experience required: Strong interpersonal skills with a helpful and friendly attitude. Willingness to learn and apply communications skills that help build public understanding of park resources, issues, and themes. General knowledge of the New England area with more specific knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the Outer Cape. Knowledge of park rules, regulations and safety requirements. Ability to converse with a broad range of people and to work as a member of a team; ability to listen and understand multiple perspectives regarding complex issues; and tact in explaining sensitive issues to the public.This position requires wearing a volunteer uniform (provided). Training includes a formal session in spring, and shadowing staff and experienced volunteers.
Time commitment: May through October; one 4-hour shift per week. A shorter season may be possible, please inquire.
Contact: Sue Moynihan, Chief, Interpretation and Cultural Resources Management, 508-957-0738, email Sue Moynihan
 

Maintenance

Adopt-A-Trail Volunteer
Number of volunteers needed: Variable
Description of work: Volunteers work in partnership with Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore to perform minor trail maintenance, such as vegetation trimming, and to report trail conditions. Volunteers work on an as-needed, independent basis at their assigned trails. Occasionally volunteers are requested to participate in a group project, such as installing water bars or building up eroded trails. Some Adopt-A-Trail volunteers also help maintain the seashore’s native plant garden at Salt Pond Visitor Center.
Skills or experience required: Trail volunteers walk on uneven surfaces carrying small hand tools. Ability to bend and reach while trimming vegetation is required. Volunteers need to be alert for ticks and poison ivy, both of which are prevalent at many trail locations. Volunteers are expected to follow safety guidelines in tool use, and will wear a uniform shirt (provided).
Time commitment: Trails need to be walked twice monthly from April through October, and once monthly from November through March. Volunteers also attend a start-up meeting in spring.
Contact: Sue Moynihan, Cape Cod National Seashore Liaison to Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, (508) 9570738, email Sue Moynihan
 

Last updated: June 16, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667

Phone:

(508) 255-3421

Contact Us