Volunteer opportunities available in Southern Utah national parks, forests

Photos courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

SOUTHERN UTAH — As part of the National Park Service centennial, the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors program, established in 2015, will be expanding to over 100 ambassadors during the 2016-17 season in an effort to connect people of all ages to their national parks and public lands. Multiple volunteer opportunities are available at national parks, national recreation areas and national forests in Southern Utah.

The Centennial Volunteer Ambassador program is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Student Conservation Association. The program was launched last year on a pilot run involving 70 interns — including college and high school graduates and veterans.

Its expansion in 2016-17 will further support the Department of the Interior’s Play, Learn, Serve and Work Youth Initiative to expand educational, volunteer and career opportunities for millions of young people and veterans on the nation’s public lands.

“Even as we celebrate the National Park Service’s first one hundred years, we are focused on the next one hundred and the next generation of conservation leaders,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said. “These Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors will share their passion for national parks and inspire people to develop their own connections to the great outdoors all across America.”

In Southern Utah, the following volunteer opportunities are currently available:

  • Bullfrog Visitor Center and roving volunteer | Glen Canyon National Recreation Area | More information here
  • Kolob Canyons wilderness volunteer | Zion National Park | More information here
  • Interpretation/Visitor Center volunteer | Bryce Canyon National Park | More information here
  • Red Canyon Visitor Center operations | Dixie National Forest | More information here
  • Camp host | Snow Canyon State Park | More information here
  • Volunteer trail crew | Dixie National Forest | More information here
  • Campground host | Fishlake National Forest | More information here
  • Duck Creek Visitor Center operations | Dixie National Forest | More information here
  • Camp host | Sand Hollow State Park | More information here
  • Camp host | Escalante State Park | More information here

For a complete list of volunteer opportunities in Utah, visit the Volunteer.gov website.

As part of the Centennial Volunteer Ambassadors programs, interns will initiate or expand local community partnerships in support of volunteer service projects. Volunteers will also be responsible for recruiting, coordinating and managing volunteer work groups throughout the year, with a special emphasis on national service dates such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Earth Day, National Public Lands Day and Veterans Day.

My experiences in national parks have changed the way I see the outdoors, even the way I see myself,” Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Ayomide Sekiteri said. “I want to show others that national parks belong to everyone, and it is our responsibility to care for them.”

Student Conservation Association President and CEO Jaime Berman Matyas said national parks can be powerful catalysts in youth development, and the centennial ambassadors play an important role in the Student Conservation Association’s leadership curriculum.

“Experiences like these are truly transformative. They instill life skills and character traits that build on one another, strengthen over time, and foster optimal advancement,” Matyas said. “SCA and NPS are partnering to create a workforce for the second century of national parks.”

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Twitter: @STGnews

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