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Volunteer event dates and updates

A group of volunteers at work in Waterton Lakes National Park
Volunteering in Waterton Lakes National Park © Parks Canada

Check back for updates on dates and locations or add your name to our volunteer events and updates email list.

To register as a volunteer for any of the following projects or events, phone 403 859-2224 or fill in the form indicating the name of the project you are interested in within the message box of the form.

Event dates 2016 

Campground Hosts

May 12 to September 30, Belly River Campground (primitive facilities).

Volunteer for at least two weeks at a time starting on a Thursday. Start dates: May 12 and 26, June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21, August 4 and 18, and September 1 and 15. No campground hosts in 2016 at Crandell Mountain Campground.

More information

Adopt-a-Patch

Saturday May 28, early afternoon (first orientation and work event). Then ongoing through September.

Adopt and be known for your very own patch of the park. Once orientation and training is completed, work at your patch as your time permits through to September. Another orientation event will be held later in June or early July, depending on interest. 

More information

Native Plant Gardens

Saturday May 28, early afternoon (first orientation and work event). Then ongoing through September.

Once orientation and training is completed, work as your time permits through the growing season.

More information

Group Volunteer Projects

June to September.

There are a variety of volunteer activities that can be pre-planned and booked by organized groups and family reunions looking for rewarding outings. These include two-hour long projects assisting park staff in the restoration of park environments. 

More information

Grasses and Flowering Plants Planting

Weekdays, June through early October. Dates to be announced.

Interested? Be sure to sign up through the main volunteer form in order to receive dates and times. 

More information

Tree Monitoring - Limber Pine / Whitebark Pine

Weekdays, June through August, dates to be announced.

Interested? Be sure to sign up through the main volunteer form in order to receive dates and times.

More information

Wildflower and Native Grasses Seed Collection

Weekdays, June through August. Dates to be announced.

Interested? Be sure to sign up through the main volunteer form in order to receive dates and times. 

More information

23rd Annual Knapweed Rodeo

Saturday, July 23, Blakiston Fan.

FREE BBQ beef-on-a-bun and vegi-wrap lunch included. RSVP through the main volunteer form.

More information

Science and History Day, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Tuesday, July 26 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Learn about what the scientists and historians have been up to in the parks and hear the latest research results.

2016 Science and History Day Agenda 

Shoreline cleanup

Saturday, August 27, 9:30 a.m. to noon

Part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This season we will scour Emerald Bay through Bosporus Straight and Driftwood Beach along the ever-scenic Waterton Lakes for litter. Divers coordinated by Awesome Adventures will pull litter from Emerald Bay for counting and bagging by the on-shore volunteers.

More information

Alpine Aquatic Insect Bioblitz - Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Thursday, August 25 to Saturday, August 27 (do one or more days). 

Help scientists determine the distribution of rare, cold-water-dependent insect species along high-elevation streams. This is for the more able-bodied and adventurous volunteers. This is also one of Glacier National Park’s centennial events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the USA National Park Service. 

More information

Salamander By-Way Maintenance

During Waterton Wildlife Weekend, Sunday, September 25.

More information

Tree Planting - Limber Pine / Whitebark Pine

September and October, dates to be announced.

Interested volunteers can sign up earlier through the main volunteer form for training and to be on a contact list, because there often is only a few days’ notice for the actual planting dates due to various factors, including weather.

More information

Christmas Bird Count

One day, mid-December, date to be announced.

Self-service materials (record sheets, maps) to conduct the count will be posted at the Waterton Fire Hall by 4.30 p.m. the day before. Saturday at 2 p.m. gathering to meet fellow volunteers and share sightings. Organized by the Crowsnest Conservation Society in collaboration with Waterton Lakes National Park. 

More information

Updates and news

Patches renewed and new ones claimed

May 28, 2016

Seven volunteers were out to participate in the Adopt-a-Patch orientation and adopt or renew their piece of the park. We worked on one of the patches in the ever-scenic Blakiston Fan and revelled in the wildflowers and the chance to see soaring birds of prey while pulling spotted knapweed.

We worked towards the Waterton River from the 300-meter-wide swath along the park access road where the restoration crew recently sprayed individual spotted knapweed plants as part of the work to contain this invasive weed.

Also available for adoption are patches along the Chief Mountain Highway extending south from the Belly River Campground, each consisting of the roadside for a 1 km. Lois has retired from her patch there, which she maintained for the past six years. It was adopted by another volunteer, bringing our 2016 Adopt-a-Patch team thus far to eight volunteers.

Native plant gardening in full swing

May 28, 2016

The park’s lead volunteer gardener, Lois and return gardener, Gina hosted an orientation for new volunteers. Together, the volunteers are well on the way through the spring clean-up and getting the International Peace Park Garden ready for the Waterton Wildflower Festival, June 19-24.

They also installed a dozen new plant labels with the scientific name and the French and English common names. We still have room for a few more garden volunteers in 2016 at Parks Canada’s only native plant demonstration garden. The garden is located between the park administration building and the marina parking area, near the peace park monument.

New and long-timers meet at Volunteer Kick-Off

May 28, 2016

For our 400-plus volunteers, this year’s volunteer season officially kicked-off with an informal lunch get-together at the Waterton Community Hall. Lunch included a short audio-visual presentation giving an overview of progress made by volunteers last year and of this year’s projects. New volunteers, long-time volunteers and those from near and further away (Calgary being the furthest) had a grand time meeting each other and sharing stories.

Although some volunteer projects have already been completed this year, the majority of the volunteer activity is late May through September. For many, the Volunteer Kick-Off is one of only two organized chances to meet other volunteers due to their differing volunteer projects through the seasons. Volunteers will have another opportunity to meet others at the volunteer appreciation luncheon in early October.

Shoreline cleanup

April 30, 2016

Spring cleaning has never been more scenic or so much fun, thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers. Offshore divers organized by Awesome Adventures and 35 shoreline volunteers combed 5 km of beaches and offshore waters for litter and all that has fallen overboard through the years. Their clean-sweep of popular Waterton Lakes shores retrieved 184 kgs as a part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Waterlogged shoes, a mop and a large piece of tubing were the most unusual items. Pieces of foam and cigarette butts were the most common.

Leopard Frog Exclosure Project

April 20, 2016

On short notice, 5 volunteers leaped into action to help create 15 new northern leopard frog egg mass exclosures. Using materials such as pool noodles, hardware cloth, buckets and mosquito netting, our volunteers helped to build these devices that will aid in the reintroduction of northern leopard frogs to Waterton Lakes National Park.

The northern leopard frog was last observed in Waterton Lakes National Park in 1980. Parks Canada staff will relocate northern leopard frog egg masses from thriving populations to sites within WLNP this spring, in an effort to establish self-sustaining populations of this species at risk. These exclosures will protect the eggs and hatchlings from predators, before they’re released. Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in this event and to the Parks Canada staff who lent their expertise. We wouldn’t have been able to make this many exclosures on such short notice without you!

Salamander Byway Maintenance

March 11, 2016

Our thirteen volunteers spent the morning getting the salamander byway ready for the upcoming migration. Every spring, long-toed salamanders make the journey from Salamander Hill down across the Waterton village access road to Linnet Lake to breed. This infrastructure consists of low fencing directing the salamanders (and other amphibians and reptiles) to four specially-constructed underpasses so they can pass safely under the road to the lake. Volunteers worked diligently along the fences and around the tunnel entrances to make sure that there were no gaps or holes through which the migrating amphibians could slip and wind up on the road. By noon the byway structure was salamander tight and ready for the coming migration.

A big thank you to all the hard-working volunteers and to Kim Pearson for lending her expertise. We will do the same again in fall in preparation for the salamanders' reverse migration to winter on Salamander Hill.

Christmas Bird Count

December 15, 2015

There were some unusual sightings indeed due to unseasonably warm weather leading up to count day and thanks to the great work of the 19 volunteers. There was also a special thank you at the Saturday gathering. There had been no snow that stayed on the ground until two days before Dec. 15th, and the lakes and streams were still open. There were five "rare" winter observations: Killdeer, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Flicker, Northern Shrike (very rare here all seasons), and Song Sparrow. For the count week (three days before and three days after the count day) there were two additional species that are "very rare" winter observations: Trumpeter Swan and Common Merganser. For the count day, there was a normal number of species recorded; 26 in all. An additional six species were recorded for the count week.

Teresa Dolman of the Lethbridge Naturalist Society was awarded a Parks Canada volunteer service pin for her 24 years as coordinator of the Waterton Christmas Bird Count and other volunteer work in the park. Husband Doug Dolman also received a pin for his many volunteer hours. Thank you Teresa and Doug! Thanks also to the Crowsnest Conservation Society and count compiler Pat Lucas who has stepped into Teresa’s role upon Teresa’s retirement from the Christmas count.