Squam Lakes Natural Science Center - Nearer To Nature
 
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Volunteer

Volunteer with props on the trail.There are many trails to explore at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center - through woods, up hills, and across the marsh but a different path of adventure awaits those who volunteer. Volunteering at the Science Center presents opportunities to learn something new and meet interesting people while sharing your talents and skills. The Science Center is here for you! Come volunteer with us and share your enthusiasm.

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Carol Raymond for more information or to request an application at 603-968-7194 x 22 or Carol.Raymond@nhnature.org.

See the answers to Frequently Asked Questions or view volunteer opportunities below.

Volunteer opportunities include:

Docent

Docent assisting with Natural AdventureDocents are trained to interpret our exhibit trail and New Hampshire’s natural world and act as a welcoming and informative presence for visitors, using educational props and live animals. Docents are most active on our exhibit trails May through October. They can also be found assisting naturalists with classes, leading tours, and hosting hands-on Discovery Tables at fairs, festivals, and other community events throughout the year. A formal training program is held each year to train new docents. Training is a 40-hour commitment. Docents must be 18 years of age or older.

2014 Docent Training
Monday through Thursday, June 16, 17, 18, 19 from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 21 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cost: $50 (financial aid available)

For more information or to register for Docent Training, contact Carol Raymond, Volunteer Coordinator at 603-968-7194 x 22.

Development and Marketing

Development and Marketing Volunteers work closely with the Development and Communications Director or Marketing Manager on specific fundraising or marketing projects. Volunteers may help with any of the following or similar activities: phone calls or personal visits to request donations or sponsorships, record keeping, and helping to promote and market programs and events. Volunteers are expected to be professional, enthusiastic, and capable of working independently while maintaining a high degree of confidentiality.

College volunteer groupSpecial Events

Volunteers assist with many special events held throughout the year including Clean-Up Day, Kirkwood Gardens Day, Come Play the Wild Animal Way Day, and Halloween Hoot ‘N Howl. Volunteer activities may include planning, registration, games and crafts supervision, set-up and clean-up, and food preparation and service.

Office

Office volunteers help communicate with the public by assisting with mailings, copying, filing, and data entry. Most assignments are in the Welcome Center or the Volunteer Room. Volunteers must maintain confidentiality of information and be respectful of office procedures and co-workers. Volunteers will be on call for assignments. Volunteers working on special projects may be assigned a weekly or bi-weekly schedule, with shifts typically lasting two to four hours.

Kirkwood Gardens

Volunteer at Kirkwood Gardens.Garden volunteers help to maintain beautiful Kirkwood Gardens. Novice gardeners are welcome and will work alongside experienced gardeners and staff. Assignments include gardening, planning and helping with plant sales and garden tours, turning compost, operating light machinery, and moving garden supplies. Work sessions are Thursday mornings, 8:30 a.m.– 11:30 a.m., May through October. Volunteers are welcome to participate without committing to a regular schedule.

Volunteer Instructor

Volunteer Instructors work closely with naturalists to prepare and provide interactive classes for children. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and possess maturity, patience, and skill in working with elementary through high school students. Attendance at a six-hour training session is required to become qualified to independently lead activities. Background checks are required of all Volunteer Instructors. Volunteer Instructors are on-call to assist classes that are one to two hours in length, scheduled between 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday year round.

Educator Assistant

Volunteers in this assignment assist with programs such as Guided Discoveries and Lake Education. To assist with Guided Discoveries, volunteers must be at least 14 years of age and possess the patience, skill, and maturity to work with young children. Duties may include preparation of art projects, reading stories to children, assisting with activities, supervision of bathroom breaks, and helping with snacks. Lake Education volunteers help students use lake monitoring equipment aboard pontoon boats. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, and possess maturity, patience, and skill in working with elementary and high school age students.

Volunteer with pelt on the trail.Greeters

Volunteer Greeters provide a welcoming presence for visitors and school groups. During the fall and spring, volunteers greet arriving school groups, review schedules with them, and help orient them. During the busy summer months, greeters staff an information station at the Trailhead Gallery.

Animal Care

Animal Care volunteer responsibilities include feeding and cleaning the enclosures of turtles, snakes, mealworms, and cockroaches, preparing diets for program mammals, and assisting with other daily chores. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, capable of working independently, and care for animals in a thoughtful and professional manner. Animal Care volunteers must have proof of current tetanus vaccination and health insurance, and are required to sign an assumption of risk and liability waiver. Animal Care volunteers must complete eight hours of training with animal care staff. Animal Care volunteers must commit to at least 40 hours from September to June and may volunteer throughout the year. Volunteers will have a regular two-hour morning shift scheduled on the same day and time each week.

Exhibits and Maintenance

Exhibit volunteers work with the educational, technical, and artistic aspects of exhibit design and construction. A background in engineering, electronics, carpentry, education, or fine arts is helpful, but not required. Docent and first guide with saw-whet owl.Maintenance volunteers assist in maintaining an attractive, healthy, and safe environment for our visitors. Volunteers in this assignment are on-call; regularly scheduled shifts may be available from May through October.

First Guides Program

First Guides is a teen volunteer program based on our adult docent program. During the summer, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 learn how to assist in classrooms, be on the trail with props, and answer questions at a table next to exhibits on the Gephart Exhibit Trail. Funding for this project was provided by the Bea and Woolsey Conover Fund of the Lakes Region/New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

2014 First Guides Training
Monday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 25 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday, June 27 from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 (financial aid available)

For more information or to register for First Guides Training, contact Carol Raymond, Volunteer Coordinator at 603-968-7194 x 22.

Volunteer FAQs

Click on question to see answer.

What is Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, founded in 1966, is a non-profit organization located in rural Holderness, New Hampshire on 200 acres adjacent to beautiful Squam Lake. Our mission is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world. The Science Center’s main attraction is a live animal exhibit trail featuring native wildlife in natural enclosures. Associated with each animal are a series of interactive exhibits that teach about the natural world. Featured attractions also include Science Center Lake Cruises, offering guided excursions on Squam Lake, and beautiful Kirkwood Gardens.

What kind of experience do I need?

We welcome volunteers with all levels of experience with the desire to learn and the willingness to share! Many volunteer opportunities require little prior knowledge, and other areas require training. However, volunteers must be at least 14 years old. We accept 12 and 13-year old volunteers when accompanied by an adult.

What kind of commitment do I have to make?

The amount of time you spend volunteering at the Science Center is up to you. Some volunteer assignments, such as our Docent Program, do have an annual time requirement, but most do not.

Is training provided?

All new volunteers must attend an orientation session with the Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteers receive on-the-job training for all assignments. Some assignments may require completion of a formal training program.

What are the benefits of volunteering?

The greatest rewards of volunteering are unseen, but here are some other benefits we hope you will enjoy:
  • Volunteer newsletter and other publications
  • Use of the Unsworth Library
  • Monthly Volunteer Luncheons — held at a local restaurant or potlucks on site
  • Howling Coyote Gift Shop discount
  • Membership discount
  • Free trail admission on the days you volunteer

How are volunteer efforts recognized?

Volunteers hear many thank yous as they volunteer, not only from staff, but from our visitors as well! Volunteers are recognized in Symbiosis, the volunteer newsletter, and annually at our Volunteer Recognition Dinner, including the presentation of our annual volunteer of the year, the Parsons Award. Volunteers are also recognized with our Volunteer Appreciation Display located in the Trailhead Gallery.
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