Volunteer Programming for Environmental Education Centers
Pfeiff, Miriam T.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The Development of Volunteer Programs for Nature/Environmental Centers Nature centers and environmental education-related facilities are often understaffed and underbudgeted. One method these centers have used to keep up with the demand for their programs is to organize and promote a volunteer program, recruiting community members to supplement the paid staff. Even though the use of volunteers has increased, there is little written material available on volunteers at nature/environmental centers. A 1979 study in New York (Guzewich) showed that 70% of the centers surveyed used volunteers for jobs ranging from teaching to maintenance and clerical work. Of those centers not currently using volunteers, 79% felt a need for a volunteer program. It is assumed that if center directors believe volunteers are important to their program, it would be beneficial for them to know more about how to recruit and retain volunteers. . By collecting information through both a literature review and a questionnaire mailed to nature centers throughout the nation that have volunteer programs, recommendations regarding development of volunteer programs have been made. Suggestions on recruiting, training, motivation, retaining, and evaluating volunteers are included.