Want to become a wildlife partner? There are opportunities all across the state for you to become involved with scientific research, such as surveys and monitoring, data management, and even habitat management for wildlife. Many projects are specific to local areas of the state. If you don’t see a species or location listed here that interests you, contact one of our regional supervisors for more information.
State-wide Amphibian Survey
If you are familiar with frog calls, you can volunteer for a route with the Calling Amphibian Survey Program. This is a night survey where you listen for frog calls. The program requires being able to identify frogs by sound, but training sessions are available. To find out more, visit N.C. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation or contact Jeff Hall for more information or to choose a route.
Peregrine falcons nest on cliffs in western North Carolina. Volunteers can help by monitoring cliff sites to document nesting attempts and whether mated pairs produce offspring. Contact Christine Kelly for more information.
The Wildlife Diversity Program monitors songbird populations throughout the year using various methods, including aural surveys and bird banding. There are also numerous opportunities for people across the country to engage in other citizen science programs, including the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Project FeederWatch, the Great Backyard Bird Count, eBird and many others through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Contact Jon Carpenter (eastern), Christine Kelly (western) or Scott Anderson (statewide) for more information about these and other opportunities.
U.S. Nightjar Survey Network
The Wildlife Diversity Program collaborates with the Center for Conservation Biology’s United States Nightjar Survey Network to monitor populations of whip-poor-will, chuck-wills-widow, and common nighthawk. To find out more go to the US Nightjar Survey Network website or for routes in the mountain region, contact Christine Kelly.
Track Reptile and Amphibian Populations
Help NCWRC biologists track reptile and amphibian populations by registering with the HerpMapper project and reporting your observations.
Sea Turtle Projects
There are 22 active sea turtle beach projects along North Carolina’s coastline that monitor sea turtle nesting and stranding in partnership with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. For information about sea turtle volunteering opportunities at a specific beach or island, contact Matt Godfrey.
Monitoring Projects for Amphibians
Western North Carolina is home to an incredible diversity of amphibians. In addition to numerous statewide monitoring projects for amphibians, the Wildlife Diversity Program conducts targeted surveys and monitoring for numerous species including green salamander, hellbender, mudpuppy, and mountain chorus frog. Help NCWRC biologists track reptile and amphibian populations by registering with the HerpMapper project and reporting your observations.
Coastal Waterbird Projects
Coastal North Carolina is home to many species of marsh-, shore-, sea-, and wading birds. To keep these species common along our coast, and to monitor rare species closely, the Wildlife Diversity Program conducts seasonal surveys and research, and protects important habitat. If you are interested in assisting with surveys of Piping Plovers, American Oystercatchers, colonial-nesting waterbirds, or other species; ongoing research projects; or habitat protection activities, contact Carmen Johnson for more information.
Jordan Eagle Observation Area
Folks in the Chatham County area can volunteer to be stewards of the Jordan Lake eagle observation area off Martha’s Chapel Road. We need people willing to help pick up trash, develop educational signs, maintain trails, and monitor the area. Interested parties can get in touch with the New Hope Audubon Society (Bo Howes).
Monitor Bat Populations
The Wildlife Diversity Program has several efforts underway to monitor North Carolina’s bats (most in the mountains of N.C.), including winter surveys of hibernating bats, surveillance for White Nose Syndrome (a deadly bat disease), long term monitoring at summer habitats, and bat acoustic surveys (NC BAMP – Bat Acoustic Monitoring Program). Contact Katherine Etchison to find out about volunteer opportunities with bats.