Thank you for your interest in volunteering to protect our waters! You can make a difference in our community by getting involved with education and outreach, debris removal, habitat restoration, water quality monitoring, and more. Explore some of the regularly scheduled volunteer opportunities offered by our program and partners below. Stay in the loop by checking out our events calendar and subscribing to our mailing list for one day events and new volunteer opportunities.
Trash Free Waters Project
Water-borne trash is a global issue, with far reaching consequences and impacts; however, the problem starts in local waterways, parking lots and roads. Trash-clogged creeks and streams aren’t just ugly, they pose serious health and safety risks. Help us identify and mediate potential sources and contributors of water-borne trash in three creeks of the Pensacola Bay System: Jones Creek in Escambia County, Carpenter Creek in the City of Pensacola and Pond Creek in northern Santa Rosa County. Assist with clean-ups as well as monitoring and collecting data from trash capture devices starting in 2021. E-mail Emerson Cheney for more information.
Ocean Hour hosts weekly coastal cleanups at various locations on a rotating schedule. For more information visit Ocean Hour’s Website.
Keep Pensacola Beautiful
Join Keep Pensacola Beautiful (KPB) for a beach or community clean-up across the Pensacola area. Find out more information on KPB’s website.
Diamondback Terrapin Surveys
Help UF IFAS Extension/U.S. Geological Survey Panhandle Terrapin Project track the elusive Diamondback Terrapin at locations across the bay area. Transects are surveyed once a week from April – September and training is provided in March. Some locations may require a paddle craft for access. Contact Rick O'Connor for more information.
Great Scallop Search
Fins up! Grab your snorkel gear and get ready to survey Big Lagoon for scallops. The annual survey is conducted once between April – July by the UF IFAS Extension. Training is provided in March. For more information, contact Rick O’Connor for Escambia County and Chris Verlinde for Santa Rosa County.
Horseshoe Crab Hunt
Find your lucky horseshoe (crab) during UF IFAS Extension's annual Horseshoe Crab Hunt! Surveys are conducted during daylight spring high tides in the spring and fall. Trainings are provided in March and September. Contact Rick O’Connor for more information.
Boopable Snoot Sightings Needed! Don't actually boop that snoot though, just report it! UF IFAS Extension, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the Pensacola-Perdido Bay Estuary Program are working together to track manatees in our watersheds. Report your manatee sightings to Rick O'Connor or the Manatee Sighting Network.
Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge
The Refuge offers volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas including animal rescue, animal care, fundraising, education, and public relations – just to name a few. Find out more information on their website.
Escambia County Sea Turtle Conservation Program
Calling all turtle nest patrollers and ambassadors! Help monitor sea turtle nesting sites from May 1st – October 31st or engage and educate the public in sea turtle conservation efforts and work closely with area businesses to promote sea turtle friendly practices. Visit Escambia County’s website for more information.
Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center
Volunteer opportunities include: Gift Shop, First Impressions Team, Animal Care (Non-Sea Turtle), Special Events, Outreach (Advocacy and Education), Trash-Bash (citizen science program), and Administration. Find out more on their website.
Francis M. Weston Audubon Society
Calling all birders! Explore the volunteer opportunities for members at Audubon’s website.
Search for seagrasses in Big Lagoon (Little Sabine sites coming soon!) every month from April – September with UF IFAS Extension and UWF. Training is provided in March. For more information, contact Rick O’Connor for Escambia County and Chris Verlinde for Santa Rosa County.
Mangroves on the move! Grab a paddleboard and get ready to search for mangroves during an annual, one time survey between April – July with UF IFAS Extension. Training is provided in March. For more information, contact Rick O’Connor for Escambia County and Chris Verlinde for Santa Rosa County.
Living Shoreline Monitoring
Are you a property owner with a living shoreline? Monitor your site annually in June to provide data to UF IFAS Extension. Contact Rick O’Connor for more information.
Do you have a dock in Pensacola Bay or have an interest in collecting data on oysters? The Bream Fishermen’s Association (BFA) is deploying oyster cages on private docks throughout the smaller bayous within the Pensacola Bay System. Interested homeowners, individuals, or people wishing to sponsor a class or student must attend a 3-hour workshop. Oysters will be grown out in cages for 9-12 months and returned for measurements. Adult oysters will be measured and weighed before being installed in a living shoreline project within the same water body. Visit the BFA’s website for more information.
Florida State Parks
Explore volunteer opportunities at a Florida State Park. Opportunities are diverse – volunteers greet visitors, conduct tours, special events, remove exotic plants or maintain a beach, waterway or trail. Visit their website for more information.
Gulf State Park
Explore volunteer opportunities at Gulf State Park’s website.
FDEP Saltmarsh Nursery
The nursery facility serves as a staging area for the oyster restoration program and the seagrass restoration program. Volunteers aid in the propagation and distribution of stock of plants through day-to-day tasks such as plant care and general upkeep of the nursery on a small scale, but they also are essential when the nursery is ready to complete a project outside of daily operations on a larger scale. The DEP nursery provides internship opportunities for college students interested in an environmental career. Students have the opportunity to be involved in nursery operations as well as plantings and collections to witness, full cycle, work that is done to restore salt marsh habitat. For more information, contact Beth Fugate.
UF IFAS Lakewatch
Cast off the lines and sample for science! Boaters are needed to monitor water quality once a month, year round. Training is provided throughout the year. Volunteers are needed at locations in Escambia Bay, Pensacola Bay, Bayou Texar, Bayou Chico, Bayou Grande, Big Lagoon, and Lower Perdido Bay. For more information, contact Rick O’Connor for Escambia County and Chris Verlinde for Santa Rosa County.
Don’t be salty, just measure it. Volunteers are needed at a variety of locations to conduct weekly salinity surveys, year round. Contact Rick O’Connor for more information.
Baldwin County Master Environmental Educators
Are you looking to make an impact on our youth? Master Environmental Educators teach nine environmental lessons in schools and to community groups from September through May. Contact the Baldwin County Extension Office (251) 937-7176) for more information.
Storm Drain Marking
Help us deploy storm drain medallions and paint drains to spread awareness that A Clean Drain = A Clean Bay. Contact Emerson Cheney for more information.
Alabama Coastal Foundation Bay Buddy Program
Join the Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) to teach basic conservation concepts to students in grades 1 - 3! Find out more at ACF's website.