A volunteer helps three girls paddle a canoe down the Niobrara NSR.
Volunteers skilled in canoeing are always needed for the special events and education programs.

NPS Photo/Kristen Maxfield

Share your love of the Niobrara National Scenic River by volunteering your time with the National Park Service.

A variety of opportunities are available. Right now opportunities are virtual. Opportunities include researching stories from your home or assisting with outreach activities. In the future, opportunities will include people to canoe with school groups to ensure we have two adults with each small group and giving curriculm based education programs via distance learning. Beginning in June, assisting with virtual citizen science projects.

For more information, please contact the park volunteer coordinator at 402-376-1901 to discuss your interests and how they might be matched with park needs.


Current Volunteer Opportunities


Niobrara National Scenic River Volunteer Spotlight

Students gather around teacher. Group of people standing on river bank
Seventh graders reviewing water quality test.

NPS Photo

Valentine Middle School Seventh Graders Water Quality Program

"Making connections between science and our local resources is one way we can assist the National Park Service in caring for the Niobrara National Scenic River.” stated Valentine Middle School teacher Mrs. Perrett. The students began conducting water quality monitoring on the Niobrara River as volunteers for Niobrara National Scenic River last Fall. This project blends real life science with curriculum. The students conduct chemical analysis of the water and learn how to hypothesize changes in the water. The students enjoy leaving the classroom to work at the river but parts of the year, the work is done in the classroom. This project benefits Niobrara National Scenic River by providing scientific data and an opportunity to engage with tomorrow’s stewards of the land.
Close up photo of volunteer Jan
Volunteer Jan Knispel

Jan Knispel

Jan Knispel

Being a National Park volunteer is the experience of a lifetime. I learned how to identify a fossil, viewed a daemonelix burrow, saw a Ghost Shirt once owned by Red Cloud, stood in a house where Chief Red Cloud once stood, searched through history for the Homesteading documents for four branches of my family, learned the tragedy and victories of homesteaders, and seen my local river through the eyes of visitors to the Niobrara, while having the privilege to facilitate writing experiences for teachers and students at three National Parks in the state of Nebraska.
My participation as a National Park volunteer began because of my involvement in the Nebraska Writing Project Board of Directors. A NeWp fellow director, Diana Weis, began a project with the Rangers at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, near Harrison, Nebraska, to enable teachers to access and engage with all aspects of Agate and to use their experience as teachers/writers to pass that engagement on to their students. After several years of work with the Agate staff, Diana Weis and I were asked to extend our volunteer efforts to the Homestead National Monument to use writing activities there to foster use of the park for teacher and student involvement with Homestead’s unique place in the history of Nebraska and the Homestead movement. There we conducted several writing workshops for students and teachers and met Chief Ranger Susan Cook.

When Chief Ranger Cook moved to the Valentine Niobrara National Scenic River from Homestead, she contacted the Nebraska Writing Project Director, Dr. Robert Brooke of the University of Nebraska regarding a writing experience for students on the Niobrara.
To date, Chief Ranger Cook, Ranger Bobbie Roshone, and other rangers, and I have been in deep conversation planning how to make it a river writing experience possible for area students. We are in the process of establishing the details of the river float including the number of writing stops along the river, the number of students and teachers who can be involved, the types of conveyances for the float and all the other details for the event which is planned to occur in September 2020. Students and teachers will launch on the river and stop at a number of locations where they will meet with Rangers and NeWP teacher-writers for unique writing experiences in the beauty of the river where so many unique ecological systems come together.

Being a National Park Volunteer with Agate, Homestead and Niobrara has brought me a great deal of knowledge about our National Parks, the invaluable information that each and every park holds for its visitors, and the opportunities that visiting these national can bring to teachers, students and the general public.

For information on the Niobrara National Scenic River-Nebraska Writing Project writing experience this coming September, contact Chief Ranger Susan Cook at the Niobrara Nation Scenic River office in Valentine, Nebraska.

Last updated: April 16, 2021

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

214 W US Highway 20
Valentine, NE 69201


402 376-1901

Contact Us