Special Alert: Point Blue Conservation Science's Petaluma Headquarters and Palomarin Field Station in Bolinas will be closed to the public starting March 13th until further notice due to COVID-19 out of concern for the health and safety of our staff as well as the public. These closures and other safety precautions around COVID-19 affect some of our volunteer opportunities as noted below.
We wish you all well during these challenging times and encourage you to stay abreast of the latest developments while also taking breaks in nature to observe birds and other wildlife, appreciate plants, and stay connected and grounded.
Skilled volunteers make it possible for Point Blue to learn about the habitat needs of shorebirds, grow plants for our climate-smart habitat restorations, and put on events that engage partners and supporters of our conservation work.
Our volunteer positions require some skill or experience, but most provide additional training in skills needed to perform the citizen scientist or volunteer role. Explore options we offer below for volunteer and citizen science involvement in our work.
If you possess a skill or have an interest that you think could contribute to the work we do outside of what we've listed, feel free to contact us and let us know what you have in mind.
Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey
Make Shorebirds Count! Volunteer as a shorebird counter between November 15th and December 15th every year in several locations.
Migratory Shorebird Project
Be part of Connecting Communities Across the Americas and team up with us and the PFSS (above) or one of our international conservation partners to count shorebirds or help with outreach.
Grow Shared Knowledge
There are several ways that you can contribute to the vast data sets scientists need to address big issues like climate change. Add your observations of the natural world to help conserve our ecosystems:
A real-time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.
From hikers to hunters, birders to beachcombers, the world is filled with naturalists, and many of us record what we find. What if all those observations could be shared online? You might discover someone who finds beautiful wildflowers at your favorite birding spot, or learn about the birds you see on the way to work. If enough people recorded their observations, it would be like a living record of life on Earth that scientists and land managers could use to monitor changes in biodiversity, and that
anyone could use to learn more about nature. That’s the vision behind iNaturalist.org. So if you like recording your findings from the outdoors, or if you just like learning about life, join iNaturalist!
Report a Bird Band
Visit USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Lab web page to report a bird with a federal band or color marker. This helps us track movement and survival of bird populations, learn about the health of the environment, and give recommendations for conservation management.
Report a Bird Band
Whale Alert-West Coast
Join other nature lovers, fishers, and mariners to help reduce ship strikes to whales using your smartphone! Download the app on the Whale Alert- West Coast webpage. (photo: Sophie Webb)
Among the many threats faced by whales today are ship strikes, which occur more and more in busy shipping lanes. A collaboration of government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit conservation groups and private sector companies have developed Whale Alert, an app that helps reduce the chance of fatal ship strikes by large vessels.
The app can be used by anyone out on the water to report presence of cetaceans. It displays active whale management areas, required reporting areas, recommended routes, areas to be avoided and near real-time warnings in shipping lanes along the east and west coasts of the United States and Canada. This information allows vessel operators to avoid collision with whales by slowing down and heightening their visual awareness.
Point Blue Lab
This volunteer opportunity is paused for the time being.
At our headquarters in Petaluma, California, we have an amazing wet lab stocked with microscopes, beakers, Petri dishes, and even a ventilation hood. We don’t usually wear lab coats though… sorry to shatter the stereotype. If you like treasure hunts and tiny details, you might want to consider volunteering in our lab. We do really cool things like dissecting seabird pellets (which consist of regurgitated indigestible material), in search of magical fish ear bones called otoliths. Well, they are not actually magical, but they tell us a lot of information about what seabirds are eating and what is going on in the marine food web!
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