Ways to Get Involved

Interested in getting involved with John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge? Opportunities include volunteering, internships, summer employment, and becoming a member of the Friends of Heinz Refuge.

Volunteering Opportunities

From trail maintenance to environmental education to the front desk, there are many opportunities to contribute! Volunteers provide thousands of hours annually to the refuge assisting with programming, resource management, and administrative duties. Their time and dedication are critical to the refuge’s ability to accomplish goals related to our mission and services delivered to the public. In addition to an invitation to the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, volunteers receive training, clothing and a nametag. All prospective volunteers contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Hannah Thompkins, by email to hannah_thompkins@fws.gov.

Paid Summer Internships

High School Students
The refuge partners with MobilizeGreen to assemble crews of high school students in the spring, summer, and fall who have an interest in conservation and nature. Gain experience with trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, garden maintenance, and environmental education at the refuge and in the surrounding communities. Call the Visitor Center (215-365-3118) for more information.

College Students and Recent Graduates
The Alliance for Watershed Education Fellowship is for college students and recent graduates interested in nature and conservation. Educate Southwest Philadelphia residents about the importance of keeping their watershed clean! You must be at least 18 years old by the start of the fellowship. Learn more and apply here. 


Our Partners

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. John Heinz NWR is committed to working collaboratively with national, state, local, and community partners. A few key partners include:

Friends of Heinz Refuge (FOHR)

The Friends of the Heinz Refuge (FOHR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization engaged in a wide diversity of projects, programs, and services which serve to raise awareness of and support for John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, as well as the National Wildlife Refuge System and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. FOHR assists the refuge in meeting their mission in a variety of ways including managing a nature store, hosting special events, providing bus funding for school groups, and much more! To find out how you can get involved, visit https://fohrefuge.org/ or find them on Facebook @FriendsOfHeinz. 

Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River Watershed (AWE)

Get to know your watershed! The Alliance for Watershed Education of the Delaware River Watershed is comprised of 23 environmental education centers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The Delaware River is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, and its watershed stretches all the way into upstate New York, providing clean drinking water for more than 15 million people – that’s nearly 5% of the entire United States’ population! The Delaware River watershed provides important ecological habitats to a multitude of species, and provides recreation for cyclists, hikers, paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Explore. Enjoy. Engage. The 23 education centers in the Alliance share a mission to collectively increase and enhance constituent appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of the Delaware River watershed.

NESt Partnership

The Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Partnership (NESt) between John Heinz NWR and the National Audubon Society collaborates in conservation through hands-on programming in schools, in neighborhoods, and at the refuge. The refuge works with many community partners to educate, engage, and connect Southwest Philadelphia to green spaces. The program includes a native plant propagation program at Fairmount Park, partner schools in Southwest Philadelphia, creating pocket parks, and much more!

Partner Schools

The Philly Nature Kids environmental education program is a partnership between John Heinz NWR and John M. Patterson Elementary School and Penrose School. Refuge staff and classroom teachers work together to provide the entire 4th grade with a full year of inquiry-based and inclusive curriculum that culminates in student-designed environmental action projects.