Frequently Asked Questions
How to Volunteer
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates and maintains a system of public lands, including state parks, historic sites, fish hatcheries and wildlife management areas. There are many opportunities for you to get involved with this important work. Annually, volunteers donate more than a half-million hours of service worth more than $17,000,000 to TPWD.
Anyone 16 years old or older or who will be accompanied by a parent or designated guardian at all times may apply to become a volunteer. Each prospective volunteer will be paired with an available opportunity that matches his/her interests, abilities and background
Opportunities may be short- or long-term, from single day special events to year-round training commitments. ALL volunteer tasks are important!
Applicants need to complete a volunteer application and consent to a criminal background check.
What to Expect
We want to make your volunteer experience satisfying and rewarding. You can expect to participate in opportunities to share your passion with youth and adults through education programs, expand your knowledge, and enhance your interests in Texas’ natural resources, parks and wildlife.
What the Program Expects of You
If you choose to volunteer one day per week, per month, or per year, you are welcomed and appreciated for what you can give.
Upon completion of an opportunity, we require you to submit your hours. Also, you are encouraged to comment on your experiences with TPWD. If there is something that could be done better, please let your coordinator know.
To introduce you to our agency and to explain some of our policies and procedures we have created a Volunteer Handbook (PDF). Specific projects/events may provide further requirements or guidelines. The program coordinator will inform you of any such requirements prior to your volunteering.
What do volunteers do for TPWD?
Volunteers help out with projects and programs ranging from office-related work to field surveys to public information and youth education. To obtain a better idea of the scope and range of opportunities for Texas Parks and Wildlife volunteers, view our Volunteer Opportunities and check out what is available in your part of the state.
How do I become a volunteer?
Sign Up on our website.
How long is my commitment? How much time do I have to contribute?
Time commitment varies depending on the type of volunteer opportunity. You will know before participating in a project how much time will be involved. We only ask that you do your best to honor your commitment to your program coordinator.
Short-time and long-term opportunities are available. At one-time, special events, volunteers may only work 2-4 hours; State Park hosts may volunteer as much as 20-30 hours per week; citizen science and educational program commitments may range from 20 to 100+ hours per year. Program coordinators will work with you to make the most of the time you have available. TPWD appreciates all volunteers for the time they can give.
I don’t know anything about wildlife or parks. Can I still help?
Absolutely! All you need is a desire to help - volunteers come to us with from a diversity of backgrounds, skills, and interests. Some opportunities do require specialized skills and knowledge, but there are many others for which you probably already have the basic skills. We can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need. to participate in the programs that interest you. If you have special skills that would benefit your program of interest, please let your coordinator know.
I want to work for TPWD someday. Will volunteering help me get a job?
Volunteering at TPWD is a great way to gain new skills and experience. It is a very valid reason for volunteering, here or anywhere else. It is always good to show your relevant volunteer time on job applicationsand resumes. Although all applicants for jobs with TPWD must follow the state of Texas employment process, hiring supervisors will look at volunteer time shown on applications for employment. However, volunteering with TPWD does not guarantee employment.
I love animals. Will I be able to do hands-on work with them?
Some programs provide opportunities for you to assist in managing fish and wildlife populations and habitats. Many volunteer projects involve wildlife habitat enhancement or providing information to the public about Texas' natural resources and wildlife.
How can I learn about volunteer projects now?
Go to Volunteer Opportunities and read all about them!
Are there any volunteer opportunities for youth-service organizations?
Some events and sites may have opportunities for youth groups to volunteer. Age restrictions may apply and adult supervision must be provided. Contact the site or program coordinator for more information.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
To volunteer with the TPWD as an individual, you must be at least 16 years of age or have the signed permission of a parent or guardian. Minors will not be permitted to do certain work in accordance with Working Rules for Minors, both Federal and State.
What happens if I am injured while working as a volunteer?
Volunteers engaged in approved volunteer activities or traveling to these activities in a personal vehicle are covered by volunteer accident and liability policies. These policies provide excess coverage for expenses not covered by the volunteer’s own insurance. There is no insurance coverage for a volunteer injury or liability resulting from a volunteer operating a state vehicle or boat.
Volunteer insurance claims are coordinated through TPWD legal staff. Please notify your volunteer coordinator immediately if you are injured or involved in an accident while performing volunteer duties for TPWD.
Volunteers (or their parents or guardians, if the volunteers are minors) are required to sign a TPWD liability waiver.
Do I keep track of how much time I spend working for TPWD? Why is that important? What does the agency do with the information?
Knowing how much time you spend volunteering for TPWD is very important to us for several reasons. Each program reports the value of volunteer efforts on behalf of TPWD. Volunteer hours can be used as “matching” funds for certain types of grants and other funding that supports the work of the agency. Also, many programs formally recognize volunteers who make substantial contributions of time and service.
I have a degree in a natural resources-related field. What can I do to help?
Volunteers with backgrounds in a natural or cultural resource-related field, recreation and parks, interpretation and other academic training that relate to the mission of the agency are particularly welcomed and appreciated. Whether you want to learn new skills, hone old ones, or just give back to your profession or passion, we hope you will find just the right opportunity through our many volunteer programs.
I have a regular job during the week. Can I volunteer on weekends?
Yes. There are a number of programs that need volunteers on weekends as well as during the week. Your program coordinator will work with you on opportunities that fit your schedule.
Looking for an Unpaid Internship?
Application Requirements for TPWD Internships: Undergraduate OR graduate college student enrolled in an accredited college or university at time of application; Minimum of 12 completed semester credit hours from an accredited college or university on transcripts; Must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 grade point scale OR "Pass" on a Pass/Fail system; Must attach official transcripts or unofficial transcripts to on-line application. Degree plans will NOT be accepted; Must apply on-line. For unpaid positions, this starts at http://ec.volunteernow.com/custom/1353/ ; Signatures will be obtained at time of acceptance; Please e-mail transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org and put 'Unpaid Internship Transcript - your last name, your first name, name of accredited college/university you attend at time of application' in subject line. Failure to follow these instructions may render your application ineligible.