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The Grand Bay NERR always need a few extra hands here and there, both with field work and public programming. Check out these volunteer opportunities, and let us know which ones interests you. Anyone ages 16 and older can volunteer at Grand Bay NERR.

Volunteer-led Monitoring


Eastern Bluebird Boxes

We need help revitalizing our bluebird boxes for the upcoming nesting season! Last winter, volunteers from Master Naturalists and University of South Alabama Marine Science Student Association helped us clean out boxes and build guards. This time we need similar help, but if you’re handy with construction and would like to help us reconfigure the boxes to attach the guards, we need you!

USA Phenology Network

With some staff changes, we are in need of a volunteer to lead efforts to continue monitoring our phenology trail, right behind our building! The commitment is once a week for about 20 minutes of data collection. After training with a staff member, you’ll be able to collect data independently. Check out more on the project here: Gulf Coast Phenology Trail


As an observer, you can contribute to our ever-expanding lists of species observed! With the iNaturalist app on your phone, snap a few photos of something interesting you see when you’re onsite. Each observation helps us improve our species lists for our site profile. 

Phytoplankton Monitoring Network

The Phytoplankton Monitoring Network slowed down a little in the last year, and we’re hoping to pick it back up at Grand Bay NERR. This is a citizen science program that is both field and lab-based. With enough interested volunteers, we’ll host a training session and several practice runs before the monitoring is self-sustained. For more information on the program, check it out here:


Field Assistance (Staff-led)

Basal Area Surveys

With staff, you’ll travel to remote sites to assist in measuring different classes of tree density. Basal area surveying uses a forestry prism to gauge distance of certain trees from a center point in the plot – and then we measure the diameter of those trees at breast height. That data can be broken down by species, sizes classes, etc. to give an idea of how much timber is in a given habitat, in order to make management and restoration decisions.

Public Programming (Staff-led)

Star Party

Star Party- December 10, 2022

It’s back! Our annual Star Party in December is gearing up for the planning process, and we’re starting to recruit for volunteers to help out with this fun event! Themed around the Geminid Meteor Shower, we’ll have NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors to guide the stargazing and presentations. Of course, we’ll have some festive activities too, and volunteers are encouraged to wear tacky sweaters. As a Star Party volunteer, you may be helping with with some activities around the building, assisting with stargazing, or helping out with tours on the boardwalk looking for screech owls. In total, we need about 10-15 volunteers.

Celebrate the Gulf Marine Education Festival- April 1, 2023

Save the date! We’ll need volunteers to help with the Celebrate the Gulf festival on the first Saturday in April. This festival is in conjunction with Art in the Pass in Pass Christian, MS. 

Meet the Staff

Sandra Bilbo is the Special Programs & Communications Manager.
She can help connect you to the right staff for volunteering.