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Late start looking for winter options


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I've been off the road for a while now while I created a business. Recently sold out, finishing up some renovation on my RV and ready to get back to it. But I could use some advice. Ideas are appreciated. Where do I look with:

 

35' 5th wheel and 2 wheel drive Dodge 3500 diesel dually

Solo traveler

September - ? in 2-3 month chunks preferably

Preferably above freezing at night, but I can deal with intermittent chill

Prefer science, interpretive, intellectually stimulated tasks over hosting

Wi-Fi is a big plus

Verizon cell service

Laundry available on-site preferred

 

Thanks for your suggestions. Coming from Wisconsin. Don't mind long drive initially but would prefer not to ping pong back and forth across country unnecessarily.

 

 

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I have two suggestions on places to find leads. My favorite agency to volunteer with is the US Fish & Wildlife Service and suggest their volunteer pages to find some good leads. The other place that I'd suggest you look at now is the federal volunteer clearing site at volunteer.gov which is the only place to find volunteer positions with several federal agencies while others like the FWS and also the NPS have sites of their own as well as the main one. The NPS has one called Volunteers in Parks, or VIP's. This late in the year it might be beneficial to go to the Volunteer.gov site first because it is usually kept updated to only show positions that are currently open and you can search by state across several agencies.

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If you prefer above freezing at night and would rather not camp host, I would suggest looking at National Wildlife Refuges in southern parts of Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Those refuges are fairly popular as winter volunteering sites, but you shouldn't have any trouble finding something.

 

The links that Kirk has provided are a great start for locating refuges and seeing what types of positions they have. You can apply online, but I've had more luck just calling a refuge directly if I am interested and asking to speak to the Volunteer Coordinator. Go right to the source!!

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You might want to try the Army Corp of Engineers at Table Rock Lake. I believe she recently posted an opening on Volunteer.gov

 

I too am from WI. I have some trouble finding solo opportunities where I might want to be but always seem to find one somewhere. Some do require a 4 month commitment but there are openings too when someone leaves early.

 

I will be a Yellowstone beginning in Aug for a couple of months and then in the Redwoods for a couple of months.

 

Best of luck

 

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  • 2 months later...

Realized I was remiss in thanking those that provided feedback. I have been looking in those locations, so glad I was on track. Probably because I've been getting advice from Kirk for almost a decade now. Had too many unknowns to commit so I may end up sitting this winter out. Glad to be heading south to TX in a couple weeks. Never too soon to stay warm! Hope to see some of you on the road.

 

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Had too many unknowns to commit so I may end up sitting this winter out.

I think that you should still look to the TX state parks volunteer site and also the one for the USFWS as both have numerous winter volunteer positions and quite likely they are not all filled. For whatever reason, volunteer positions have been more difficult to fill recently. I am in contact with several of our previous volunteer coordinators and have heard this from them. I'd suggest that if you contact the wildlife refuges that line the TX gulf coast you will be able to locate a spot and probably more than one. I'd pick one closest to where you wish to winter and start with it, then work out from there. Start by looking at the listing of Volunteer Resident Opportunities listing and you will find links to 9 different TX refuges to check with. I would then contact the refuge directly as there could be openings which they have not advertised well on the volunteer.gov site. Not on the list are San Bernard and Brazoria NWR which I know were still using volunteers in recent times so try them as well. Check also with this listing of openings with the Texas State Parks volunteer programs.

 

It is not too late! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

Remember that in many cases you can design and make your own volunteer assignment.

 

If you have a skill set that matches the needs of the agency in many cases you can set up your dream "job".

 

For example, on my National Forest one individual was doing an inventory and collection of butterflies on the forest. Another was just doing campground maintenance. He liked fixing things, but did not want to clean toilets. So he got to visit every campground on the Ranger District and fix things.

 

Good luck.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm enjoying my 2nd volunteering gig at Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico. It's a very busy Refuge with nearly 20 onsite RV volunteers in the winter season, but that also makes it a great place to get your feet wet and try out NWR volunteering surrounded by plenty of other friendly, helpful (and often quite experienced) folks. Temps here have been quite manageable this winter with daytime highs in the 50s/60's and lows in the 20's/30's. Excellent Verizon, a big lounge building with laundry, kitchen, big screen TV, etc, and town is less than 20 miles away with Walmart, grocery, and all.

As much as I love it here, though, this thread is giving me lots of ideas on other NWRs and places to volunteer at in the future-- thanks!

 

Lynne

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