Since the Forest Society was founded in 1901, volunteer involvement has been a cornerstone to our success as one of the leading conservation organizations in the Northeast. Volunteers regularly contribute more than 6,000 hours a year to the Forest Society!
Our land protection and forestry mission would simply not be possible without the dedication of this cadre of volunteers working in both long-term recurrent roles and on shorter-term, episodic projects.
Listed below are some of the opportunities available to volunteers. Formal training is provided for some positions, and commitment levels vary according to each opportunity. Many of our volunteer opportunities are based out of our headquarters in Concord, at our Creek Farm property in Portsmouth, or at our Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, NH. Other positions may involve activity at field locations across the state. We are always interested in finding new ways to utilize volunteers, so if you have a particular skill or idea about how you might help the Forest Society, please let us know.
- Contact Laurel Swope-Brush to ask questions about any of the volunteer opportunites below.
- Click HERE to fill out our VOLUNTEER INTEREST FORM
- Click HERE to sign up for our MONTHLY VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS NEWSLETTER.
VTOP - Volunteer Trailhead Outreach Program (Mt Major - Alton, NH)
The Forest Society is proud to continue meaningful visitor outreach efforts at Mt Major by piloting a new volunteer program in the spring of 2022. The Volunteer Trailhead Outreach Program (VTOP) is modeled after the highly successful Trailhead Stewards Program in the White Mountain National Forest and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Trailhead Stewardship Program. We are seeking a dozen volunteers to engage and share information with visitors at the Mt Major trailhead parking area under our new pavilion. Online/hybrid training sessions will be held over the winter with on-the-job training and volunteer shifts to begin in late April. Volunteers will recieve training in visitor engagement, Leave-No-Trace etiquette, and share the message of HikeSafe & Recreate Responsibly.
Skills/Qualifications: Enjoy working with public, including children, families, and dog-owners; interest/skills in environmental education a plus; willingness to learn new information and stick to organizational messaging
Location: Mt Major Trailhead (Rt11, Alton Bay, NH)
Training required: Volunteers will recieve training in visitor engagement, Leave-No-Trace etiquette, and share the message of HikeSafe & Recreate Responsibly both in online sessions as well as on-the-job. Led/supervised by the Stewardship Projects Manager
Commitment/Hours: This is a new program and we are asking volunteers to commit to a full season. Days/hours vary depending on volunteer availability - you pick your own schedule based on open shifts. Volunteer shifts of 2-3 hours will be available from April-October. VTOP shifts will occur on high-visitor-use days e.g. weekends, holidays, school vacation weeks, and foliage season as well as mid-week to coincide with other Mt Major programming.
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush if interested in this opportunity - or to join the VTOP community follow this link
For more details and info - click here to view the recording of the public info session held January 13th, 2020
Creek Farm Education/Events Help (Portsmouth, NH)
The Forest Society has been working to plan and implement educational and recreation programs at our Creek Farm Reservation in Portsmouth, NH. Events are typically run Spring through Fall, and may include outings for families, school or camp group programs, natural history programs, or fun recreational outings to explore the property. We are looking for a few relatively local volunteers to assist with these events, helping to register attendees, assisting with set up and signage, assiting with program delivery (if interested), and just being an extra set of hands for our Creek Farm Education Coordinator.
Skills/Qualifications: Enjoy working with public, including children and families; interest/skills in environmental education; ability to hike ~2 miles over relatively flat terrain in variable environmental conditions
Location: Creek Farm Reservation (Little Harbor Road, Portsmouth, NH)
Training required: On the job training; events will be led/supervised by Creek Farm Education Coordinator
Commitment/Hours: Variable depending on event dates, but approximately 4-10 hours/month from June-December. Events could be on any day of the week, but volunteers will get advance notice so they can let us know if they are/are not available to help at specific events.
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush if interested in this opportunity.
Volunteer Land Steward (various locations)
Volunteer Land Stewards receive comprehensive training to help steward one of our Forest Reservations. Land Stewards act as caretakers of our properties, maintaining trails, removing litter, posting signage, etc. They also monitor signs of use and boundary lines, and act as liaisons to the community. Becoming a Land Steward requires comprehensive training. For more information about the Land Steward Program, visit our Land Steward page.
Skills/Qualifications: Must be willing and able to walk/navigate on a forest reservation (on and off-trail) and perform basic stewardship tasks. Access to computer for our online training and online monitoring report system is required, email correspondence is preferred. Some knowledge of conservation, land stewardship, and forestry helpful but not entirely necessary. Must live within 20 miles of a Forest Society reservation that is in need of a steward, and be willing to complete a mandatory online-hybrid training.
Training: * New online-hybrid training sessions are currently being developed for the Land Steward Program and will be available in Spring of 2024 *
Location: In the field, at a Forest Reservation - CLICK HERE to view up-to-date Forest Reservations in need of stewardship
Commitment/Hours: A good faith commitment to steward a property for 2+ years, suggested 4 visits per year.
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush to learn about volunteer openings and training opportunities
Forest Society Conservation Corps - (various locations)
Join staff and volunteer land stewards on group workdays at Forest Society reservations around the state. Projects vary but may include trail construction and/or maintenance, building drainages or footbridges, picking up trash and dumped items, improving habitat, opening views, clearing field edges, or maintaining infrastructure like gates and signs.
Skills/Qualifications: Ability to work outside in a range of terrain and environmental conditions, use hand tools. Previous trail maintenance experience welcome but not necessary. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian.
Location: Various field locations across New Hampshire. Some worksites are miles from the trailhead, others are just a few steps away.
Training: On site on-the-job via Forest Society staff or land steward workday leader. We provide you the tools and techniques needed to get the job done.
Commitment/Hours: Informal/Occasional - those interested in Conservation Corps will be put on email workday list to be notified about upcoming workdays. Participation is always optional, and only if your schedule allows. Typical workdays are 5-8 hours.
Groups looking to volunteer: With advanced notice, our staff can typically find something for your group to accomplish together. We offer a handful of annual scheduled volunteer events such as Earth Day Clean-up @ Mount Major in the spring and Monadnock Trails Week in July. These are welcome opportunities for your group or co-workers to get out into the forests to volunteer for a day.
Invasive Plant Volunteer Pilot Program - Name TBD (Central & Southern NH) *FULL
We are preparing to pilot a new volunteer project in central and southern NH this spring and summer 2023, a strategic invasive plant team. Working as a group, these volunteers will visit selected Forest Society properties with known (but hopefully light) invasive plant infestations. Volunteers will survey the property, mapping invasive plants (and removing them by hand if manageable) using a smartphone app called EDDMaps. This is not an effort to eradicate invasive species everywhere, but instead an attempt to control them in areas where a reasonable amount of effort could prevent them from gaining a foothold.
Invasive plants are a problem in many areas of our country, including the here in the Northeast. However, we still have relatively intact native plant communities in many of New Hampshire's forests, and that is something we'd like to maintain! Read this account from the Forest Society's former VP of Land Protection Paul Doscher about the threat of plant invaders in NH's woods.
Skills/Qualifications: Ability to "bushwhack" off trail and handle different types of terrain is definitely required, knowledge of local plants also helpful!
Location: Various Forest Society properties in the Central & Southern NH regions.
Training required: Volunteers will recieve training for invasive plant identification and active mechanical management techniques. Led by a Forest Society Forester and other staff.
Commitment/Hours: This is a new program and we are asking volunteers to commit to a full season. Days/hours vary depending on location and amount of invasive plants.
If you are interested in learning more, please email Laurel Swope-Brush and we'll be in touch as the project develops.
Outreach/Event assistants (various locations)
The Forest Society often needs extra “feet on the street” to help educate the public on local land conservation efforts, and assist with running special events and field trips. Tasks are varied but could include: posting flyers, contacting local officials to promote programs in their area, coordinating event logistics, assisting with set-up and tear-down, registering event attendees, attending field trips and helping with group management, and updating information on the web site.
Skills/Qualifications: Strong communication and organization skills, ability to act as a knowledgeable representative of the Forest Society, comfortable speaking to groups of people, creativity, or familiarity with the Internet.
Training: Varies depending on duties, but usually on-the-job
Location: Variable, locations across state.
Commitment/Hours: Occasional/As Needed. Event assistants will be contacted in advance of an event to see if they are available and willing to help.
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush to get on our events volunteer list.
Event Photographer (various locations)
If you have a camera (digital SLR or even a smartphone) and like taking photographs and/or video, we could use your help documenting events and programs happening throughout the year on Forest Society properties. It's often hard for staff to take photos while also coordinating events like group trail workdays, school tours of forest properties, fundraising events for land protection campaigns, field trips and hikes, and other activities. If you are willing to take photos and send them to us, consider offering your services as an Event Photographer. All photographs submitted to us will become the property of the Forest Society, but full credit will be given to you when we use them in media like our e-newsletter, website, social media and Forest Notes magazine.
Skills/Qualifications: Own digital camera (smartphone fine), ability to take nice photographs of people and surroundings at events.
Training: No training required, but staff will have suggestions about what to photograph
Location: Variable, locations across state.
Commitment/Hours: Occasional/As Needed. Event Photographers will be contacted in advance of an event to see if they are available and willing to help.
Contact Anna Berry at email@example.com to get on our event photographer list.
Conservation Center Volunteer Grounds Crew (Concord, NH weekdays/flexible times)
We are looking to build a small crew of volunteers to assist with maintaining the beautiful forested grounds around the Conservation Center in Concord. The goal is to create an inviting outdoor space with a mix of maintained landscaping and naturally occurring vegetation. Duties include:
- Regular maintenance of planting beds to include weeding, edging, mulching and watering if needed.
- Tend to plants including pruning when appropriate, deadheading, and planting and removal.
- Maintaining the treed areas around the immediate vicinity of the buildings and parking areas.
- Composting yard waste
Skills/Qualifications: Gardening/plant knowledge helpful, but not necessary. Willingness to get your hands dirty and work outside a must.
Location: Conservation Center, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord, NH
Training required: Volunteers will be oriented and given instruction in landscaping/gardening tasks before working on their own.
Commitment/Hours: Flexible, ideally weekly or every other week for a few hours at a time. Must be during hours that the Conservation Center is open, M-F 8:30-5:30. Spring, Summer and Fall only.
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush to sign up or for more information.
Indoor Plant Caretaker Volunteer (Conservation Center, Concord)
We are looking for a reliable volunteer with a green thumb to come in weekly and give some TLC to our lovely indoor houseplants at the Conservation Center. Our building is a beautiful light-filled space and the indoor plants certainly enjoy it here, but they need watering, pruning and fertilizing on a regular basis.
Skills/Qualifications: Knowledge of houseplants and their care, able to lift a watering can (~15 lbs) and move about the building caring for plants. Available for 1-2 hours weekly (your choice) sometime during our business hours M-F 8:30am-5pm.
Location: Conservation Center, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord NH
Training: We will show you where the plant care equipment is stored and give you a walk through of all the plants by way of training.
Commitment/Hours: about 1-2 hours/week, year round. Volunteer can choose own schedule but it must be during our open business hours (M-F 8:30am-5pm).
Contact Laurel Swope-Brush if interested in this opportunity!
More than 350 people volunteer their time each year to the Forest Society. We hope you consider becoming one of them! Fill out the volunteer application and let us know which position interests you. Watch here for updates and new opportunities as they become available.