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.
See the answers to Frequently Asked Questions or view volunteer opportunities below.
Volunteer opportunities include:
Docents 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, but opportunities are available year-round. They can also be found assisting naturalists with programs, 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.
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.
Volunteers assist with many special events held throughout the year including Clean-Up Day, Kirkwood Gardens 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 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.
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– 11:30 a.m., May through October. Volunteers are welcome to participate without committing to a regular schedule.
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 spring and fall activities, and a two-hour training session in January for an additional winter program on snowshoes. 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.
Volunteers in this assignment assist with programs such as Lake Education, Natural Adventures, and Animal CSI- a school group program. Natural Adventures Assistants volunteer alongside instructors assisting with projects for children and other tasks. Animal CSI assistants help to set up the "crime scene" and assist naturalists with investigative activities for school groups. 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 while interacting with elementary and high school age students.
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 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. 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 be a welcoming and informative presence on the exhibit trail, often demonstrating animal artifacts alongside volunteer docent mentors with live animals. Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year. Funding for this project was provided by the Bea and Woolsey Conover Fund of the Lakes Region/New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
For more information or to register for First Guides Training, contact Carol Raymond, Volunteer Manager at 603-968-7194 x 22.
Click on question to see answer.
What is Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
What kind of experience do I need?
What kind of commitment do I have to make?
Is training provided?
What are the benefits of volunteering?
- 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?