Community Science and Education Volunteer Program

The enthusiasm, commitment and collaboration of volunteers are vital to the mission of the North Inlet-Winyah Bay Reserve. Community support and engagement is essential to achieving our goals of understanding and protecting coastal ecosystems. We believe that inviting community members to participate in research, monitoring, and education programs at the Reserve will build a stronger coalition of support for the conservation of our coastal ecosystems. 

1. Review some of our current volunteer opportunities

The reserve engages in activities to preserve, protect, enhance and restore natural ecosystems and our coastal community. These activities are usually one-day or short term events that are open to all who want to participate and do not require training in advance. Examples would include marsh and highway litter clean-ups, and bioblitz species surveys.

Volunteer stewardship activities are advertised through our website, the Reserve e-newsletter,
through our Facebook page, or you can sign up to receive email notifications of volunteer and training opportunities.

You can sign up for these activities through our upcoming events registration page.

Assist Reserve staff with leading public programs. For more information, view the Volunteer Duties Public Programs for each program.

The National Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) is a community-based network of volunteers monitoring marine phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms (HABs). Volunteers collect water samples on a bi-weekly basis from North Inlet and surrounding areas and meet at the Baruch Marine Field lab to examine the samples for the presence of harmful algae. Results are reported to the National PMN. This data creates a comprehensive list of harmful algal species inhabiting coastal marine waters and helps to identify general trends where harmful algal blooms are more likely to occur. Training on phytoplankton identification, sample collection, and lab equipment use is provided by reserve staff.

NIWB PMN Volunteer Page

Saltmarsh Seasons is a long-term community science project to document changes in the estuarine ecosystem that are occurring over time with climate change. Project participants conduct weekly observations of plant phenology and wildlife activity for selected species at designated monitoring sites. Following a written protocol, the phenological stages (e.g. leaf break, flower buds) are recorded for marked plants within the site. Volunteers also listen and watch for selected bird species and conduct a visual inspection for insect species.

Saltmarsh Seasons Volunteer Page

More information on this project coming soon.

Help to survey backyard biodiversity throughout the 3rd largest watershed on the east coast!

Find out more about the project and tips and tutorials in the Wiyah Wildlife blog on the Winyah Wildlife Project Page

See the species tally and help identify fellow project participants finds on the iNaturalist Project Page

South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream (SC AAS) creates a network of watershed stewardship, engagement, and education through involvement. SC AAS volunteers can play an important role in monitoring and tracking water quality while sharing information about local water resources with their communities. The Reserve is partnering with the SC AAS program to serve as a training and volunteer hub for AAS volunteers.

Learn more about the SC AAS program.

2. Fill out a volunteer interest form

Volunteer Interest

3. View training and resources for volunteers

  • Volunteer Handbook
  • Volunteer Newsletter
  • Annual Report
  • Liability Waiver
»Volunteer Orientation Training Videos

Upcoming Stewardship Program Events

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Find out what’s going on at the Reserve with our monthly e-news letter.