The Mount St. Helens Institute has started recruiting volunteers for the upcoming season of sharing the natural wonders of Mount St. Helens.
The institute provides a number of different educational and recreational programs in the spring, summer and early fall. They include guided hikes, school field trip programs, visitor center support and community events.
These programs are possible only through the support of volunteers, said Allison Watson, the institute’s volunteer coordinator.
“For over 20 years, institute volunteers have helped visitors from throughout the region explore and learn about Mount St. Helens,” Watson said. “They build the connection between person and place by engaging and teaching people of all ages.”
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The institute is looking for people willing to become involved in a variety of roles. Among the opportunities are providing information to guests at visitor centers such as Johnston Ridge Observatory, Ape Cave and Cascade Peaks Visitor Portal. Mountain stewards can be found hiking around and climbing the volcano. Members of the conservation corps help on a variety of projects, including trail maintenance, invasive weed removal, building upkeep and habitat restoration. People volunteering with the education program help by assisting and leading guided educational hikes, teaching in-class activities and supporting overnight programs.
Since its founding in 1996, the institute has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, by offering seasonal education and recreation programs and assisting monument staff.
Last year was a record year as 342 volunteers donated 15,255 hours of their time, valued at more than $442,000. During the season, they talked with almost 65,000 visitors, educated 1,975 students and hiked 1,800 miles.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
You can learn more about current volunteer opportunities and requirements online and should complete a volunteer application at mshinstitute.org/volunteer or contact Allison Watson, volunteer director, at email@example.com or 360-891-5199.