Here at Fish and Game we are often asked, “How can I volunteer? How can I help?”
As the guardian agency of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources, we are tasked with conserving, managing and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitats, informing the public about these resources, and providing opportunities for the public to use and appreciate them. There are many opportunities to help us with this mission.
Our Wildlife Division conducts numerous studies and monitoring efforts throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer. Biologists are frequently asking for help from the public by participating in various wildlife online surveys and reporting what they see, including winter turkey flocks, winter tick-related moose hair loss photos in spring, and turkey broods in the summer.
Additionally, reporting observations of piping plovers on Hampton and Seabrook beaches, reptiles, and bats helps monitor these species. These are easy ways for anyone with an interest in wildlife to get involved and contribute to Fish and Game’s wildlife management programs.
Our Wildlife Education Program offers many opportunities for those interested in working in schools or giving talks to community groups. The Wonders of Wildlife Docents receive training on various wildlife topics to present to children in schools and youth groups. Fish and Wildlife Stewards, on the other hand, are trained to give wildlife presentations to groups of adults.
For the teachers out there, we offer the Watershed Education Program where volunteers help deliver trout eggs to schools raising trout in the classroom, provide presentations to students on aquatic resources, and help support watershed education field trips.
If your interest leans specifically toward fish, during the spring, Fish and Game staff need help monitoring coastal fish ladders to study such species as river herring (including alewives and blueback herring), and American shad. Biologists also conduct a survey of rainbow smelt and ask anglers to submit data on the striped bass they catch.
If you are an angler and would like to teach others about the sport, the Let’s Go Fishing program depends on certified volunteers to instruct classes on fly fishing, ice fishing, saltwater fishing, and/or fly tying. Classes are held around the state.
If your interest centers more around hunting or trapping, certified Hunter Education volunteers are needed to teach courses to help people become safe and ethical hunters or trappers.
If your passion is of the motorized variety, consider becoming an off highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) Safety Instructor by working with our Law Enforcement Division.
For those with an interest in working at a facility, the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center uses volunteers to help with shooting range supervision, trail and grounds maintenance, and other work. On the Seacoast, the Great Bay Discovery Center relies on education program volunteers to conduct programs on cultural and natural history for children and exhibit room volunteers meet and greet guests and handle other tasks.
And if we haven’t managed to entice you to volunteer yet, we work with many partners who depend on volunteers as well. These include New Hampshire Audubon, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Cooperative Extension, and The Nature Conservancy. Or if you want to peruse a longer list that covers all of New England, visit NatureGroupie.org.
So whatever your outdoor interest, there is a group or organization that can use your help keeping New Hampshire beautiful and wild. For more information, visit Fish and Game at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/about/volunteers.html.