You can help conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds and flyways on which they depend by volunteering!
As a volunteer, you’ll develop new skills, meet new friends, have unparalleled opportunities to work with endangered species and earn the satisfaction of helping one of the world’s most threatened families of birds.
Click here to fill out our Volunteer Application. Our staff will review your application and contact you to discuss which opportunities best fit your experience and interests.
Questions? Please contact Paige Hall, Interpretive Programs Coordinator, at 608-356-9462 ext. 108.
To show our appreciation for our amazing volunteers, we offer the following benefits:
- Invitations to special field trips, learning opportunities, behind-the-scenes events and social gatherings.
- A free, one-year membership, which includes our newsletter, The Bugle, and a staff discount on all gift shop purchases.
- The opportunity to work side-by-side with leading conservation professionals and international scientists.
For more than 45 years, our volunteer naturalists have helped to share the story of the world’s 15 crane species and the International Crane Foundation’s unique conservation strategies with over 20,000 annual visitors to our headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. We achieve this goal by interpreting our crane displays, exhibits and restored ecosystems. Although diverse in their backgrounds, our volunteers all have a common appreciation for conservation and a desire to share their knowledge with others. The Volunteer Naturalist program helps increase support for our global conservation efforts and creates a more environmentally conscious and responsible public community.
Who Should Apply: Volunteer naturalists should enjoy working with diverse audiences, have a passion to teach and learn from others, and be comfortable with public speaking.
Training Requirements: Volunteer naturalists must complete a formal training offered by the International Crane Foundation each spring or an equivalent session. During this training, you will meet other Volunteer Naturalists, share your knowledge and expertise, and learn program specifics. Scheduled training sessions will cover:
- Interpretative program development,
- Crane ecology, behavior and identification,
- International Crane Foundation mission, policies and conservation work.
Volunteer Naturalists are also required to attend additional mentoring sessions, through which volunteers are evaluated and observed leading interpretive tours and programs.
Time Commitment: Volunteer Naturalists lead interpretive tours from April 15 until October 31. Volunteer Naturalists are required to lead a minimum of two to four tours each month or volunteer the equivalent time (four to eight hours) assisting as an exhibit docent, helping with special events or other activities.
Additional Requirements: Individuals must be able to lead groups through the International Crane Foundation’s exhibits and nature trails over uneven terrain and in a variety of weather conditions. Our interpretive tours typically cover a distance of a half-mile. Excellent oral English communication skills are necessary.
North America Program Volunteers
North America Program Volunteers help to sow and collect the seeds of our restored prairie, keep invasive plant species under control, count and track cranes, and assist with seasonal prescribed prairie burns at our headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Who Should Apply: Field Ecology Volunteers should enjoy working outdoors and have a passion for teaching and learning from others.
Training Requirements: Volunteers must complete a formal training offered by the International Crane Foundation each spring or equivalent sessions. During this training, you will meet staff members, share your knowledge and expertise, and learn program specifics. Scheduled training sessions include:
- Prairie plant species identification,
- Fire ecology and safety management,
- Crane ecology, behavior and identification,
- International Crane Foundation’s mission, policies and conservation work.
Time Commitment: North America Program Volunteers assist with specific projects from April 15 until October 31. Volunteers are required to volunteer the equivalent time (four to eight hours) each season.
Additional Requirements: Individuals must be able to work outdoors over uneven terrain in a variety of weather conditions. Excellent oral English communication skills are necessary.
Site Management Volunteers
Help maintain the pleasant atmosphere of the International Crane Foundation’s campus by planting and tending flowers, picking up litter and helping staff with a wide variety of maintenance and repair tasks. Appropriate for groups or individuals.
Do you have a special skill or talent you would like to share with us? Let us know and we will work to match it to our varied needs.
What Volunteers Are Saying
“Volunteering at the International Crane Foundation has supplemented my existing interest in, and love of, nature and its preservation. It has also provided me with wonderful opportunities to share this understanding and love with a multitude of people of various ages and from far-flung parts of the world. It is a joy to be part of the International Crane Foundation family.” – Volunteer Naturalist
“The birds and staff at the International Crane Foundation really get into your blood – once you start you are “hooked.” After volunteering for many years, I am still constantly learning new things.” – Crane Conservation Volunteer
“Volunteering for the International Crane Foundation turned our retirement from ordinary to extraordinary…our prairie landscaping is a result of our volunteering – to enjoy every day of our lives.” – North America Program Volunteers