After you sign up as a volunteer, you will get email notifications when we have volunteer activities available. We have many opportunities throughout the year.  We also post volunteer opportunities in our e-newsletters, which you will also receive.

Descriptions of our volunteer activities are here.

FAQs

Do you have kid-friendly volunteer opportunities?

We sure do. Our River Roundups, Stonefly Search, Adopt-a-Stormdrain, and river cleanups are all family friendly! Of course kids excel at different types of activities. Make sure to read more about each event before signing up to see if it’s a good match for your kiddo.

Do I need my own gear?

Nope! HRWC provides all specialized equipment and gear for all volunteer activities. Some volunteers prefer their own, but it’s not necessary. It is best to dress appropriately to be in the field and to check out weather conditions before heading out. Bring water, snacks, and insect repellent if you need it.

Will I need a car?

Not necessarily. Nearly all HRWC activities occur in the field. Getting to the field sites requires a vehicle, but we’re typically able to find another volunteer who can give you a ride. At our office, we have bike racks if you want to bike to meet up with your team.

Do I need to be a scientist?

Not at all, especially since everyone is a budding scientist! And we’re more than happy to help you learn about science. No previous experience is necessary for most of our volunteer events. That said, if you are a scientist, come out and have fun with us. We find that scientists who spend a lot of time indoors love getting outside for field work. We have many retired scientists who help out too.

What do I need to know about working in the field?

Our volunteer work varies both on the land and in/on the water. We will always include information about physical requirements, gear we use, and destination details for each volunteer job so you can plan for opportunities that are a good match for you. We are also big fans of safety.  Check out our Field Safety page for important information before you head out to be safe.

It’s also good to know about ways to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species. We will provide decontamination kits to volunteers. We also created a video and field kit for field workers and volunteers.

What if I don’t want to do field work?

No problem. We have office related tasks too.

How will I hear about volunteer opportunities?

The best way to tune into volunteer opportunities is signing up for our email updates with this Volunteer Sign up form. We post opportunities to our website and Facebook too.

What are my Rights and Responsibilities as a volunteer?

Welcome to the Huron River Watershed Council! The staff and fellow volunteers welcome you. We believe each volunteer contributes directly to our success, and we hope you will take pride in being a volunteer. 

This document outlines guiding policies and principles for volunteers at HRWC to ensure that all volunteers have a good experience and are provided the best opportunity to make a meaningful contribution. All volunteers are responsible for ensuring their behavior and activity is consistent with these guidelinesIt takes all of us to ensure HRWC is a fun, safe, productive, and welcoming place to be. As such, HRWC staff want to be transparent about what we expect of you and what you should expect from us. HRWC encourages any questions, suggestions and feedback from volunteers to improve our efforts to uphold these rights and responsibilities. 

Volunteer Rights 

As a volunteer with the Huron River Watershed Council, you have the right to:  

  • Be given meaningful assignments, involvement and participation.
  • Be treated fairly and respectfully 
  • Feel valued and have your time used effectively. 
  • Receive effective supervision, training, and support.  
  • Say “no” to any activity.  
  • Receive recognition for work done. 
  • Reevaluate your time commitment. 
  • A safe working environment.  

Volunteers are also protected under the federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 [42 U.S.C. § 14501]. This law provides non-profit volunteers with protection from liability for acts performed.  

Volunteer Responsibilities 

Volunteers for the Huron River Watershed Council are expected to: 

  • Serve as representatives of HRWC while serving in your volunteer capacity.  
  • Conduct themselves in a professional, positive and ethical manner. 
  • Treat other volunteers, HRWC staff, and organizational property with respect. 
  • Exercise care and follow all operation instructions, safety standards, and guidelines while using HRWC equipment and property. 
  • Carry out the volunteer responsibilities as instructed. 
  • Be reliable and punctual for volunteer obligations. 
  • When possible, notify the program supervisors of absence or tardiness.  
  • Ask for assistance when needed, but also support other team members when able. 
  • Encourage participation of and respect for individuals of diverse backgrounds, abilities, identities, cultures, and perspectives. 

Dress Expectations 

HRWC volunteers are expected to dress within reason and wear clothing that is neat, clean and suitable for the assigned tasks. Overly revealing clothing or clothing with inappropriate language do not represent HRWC well. Volunteers are also expected to abide by any specific dress requirements provided by program supervisors. In cases where no dress/attire expectations are communicatedvolunteers, especially those participating in fieldwork, are strongly encouraged to dress appropriately to minimize exposure to hazards. 

Picture Taking 

HRWC welcomes photography during events to capture the joy and importance of volunteer contributions. However, volunteers should be mindful when taking photos or videos of others, including members of the public and other volunteers. Ask for permission to take and/or post photos and videos and be respectful of others’ wishes. 

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking 

Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drug use as well as smoking of any kind (including e-cigarettes) are prohibited while on HRWC premises or while conducting HRWC-related volunteer activities off HRWC premises. HRWC volunteers are not permitted to use, possess, or volunteer under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances. 

Sexual and Other Harassment 

HRWC is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all volunteers and prohibits sexual, verbal, and physical harassment of any kind. Volunteers are expected to treat all individuals they encounter during their volunteer work, including fellow volunteers, HRWC staff, and members of the public, with respect regardless of identity or ability. Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, or any other characteristic will not be tolerated. Any volunteer who wants to report an incident of harassment should promptly report the matter to the program supervisor or any HRWC staff.  HRWC will investigate the report in a confidential manner 

Harassment includes, but is not limited to: 
  • Unwanted touching, including repeated hugs, pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposeful brushing up against another person.   
  • Comments or compliments on another’s appearance or attractiveness 
  • Display of inappropriate gestures, emails, notes, pictures or videos.  
  • Leaving unwanted gifts of a romantic or sexual nature.  
  • Using racist or offensive slang, phrases, or nicknames. 
  • Making negative or derogatory comments, insults or jokes about someone or their beliefs.  

Safety and Insurance  

  • Volunteers are required to wear appropriate issued protective gear.  
  • Only operate equipment or conduct procedures to which you have received prior training.  
  • If you suffer an injury or accident while volunteering, please report it at your earliest convenience to the program supervisor. No matter how minor an injury may appear, it is important to report it immediately. 
  • Accident and automobile insurance coverage are the responsibility of the volunteer. Volunteers are encouraged to consult with their insurance agent regarding personal insurance coverage relative to community volunteer work. 

Criminal History and Background Check 

HRWC conducts criminal history background checks for all volunteers who may have leadership responsibilities, work without supervision, or work directly with children or persons with disabilities. However, HRWC recognizes that a criminal record alone is not an indication of the value volunteers offer, and the results of background checkwill not necessarily prohibit prospective volunteers from working with HRWC. When reviewing criminal records, HRWC also considers: 

  • The safety of our staff and volunteers 
  • The nature and gravity of the offense(s) 
  • The time that has passed since the conviction and/or sentence 
  • The nature of the volunteer work for which the applicant is requesting to volunteer 
  • The positive impact the individual has had within the community since the offense 

Whistleblower Policy 

If a volunteer reasonably believes that some policy, practice, or activity of HRWC is in violation of law, a complaint may be filed with the Executive Director and/or the Board of Directors. HRWC will not retaliate against a volunteer who, in good faith, has made a protest or raised a complaint against some practice of HRWC or of another individual or entity with whom HRWC had a business relationship, on the basis of a reasonable belief that the practice is in violation of law or a clear mandate of public policy. HRWC will not retaliate against a volunteer who discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or a public body any activity, policy, or practice of HRWC that the volunteer reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule, or regulation mandated pursuant to law or is in violation of a clear mandate or public policy concerning health, safety, welfare, or protection of the environment.