Volunteer at Devil’s Lake State Park!

Volunteer at Devil’s Lake State Park!

Devil’s Lake State Park needs YOU!! With over 2.5 million visitors each year, the park is in need of volunteers to help in all sorts of ways!! Help with special events, teach kids to fish, help support group hikes, be a nature center helper, help with kayak tours, parking assistants, help with trail maintenance… whatever you can do, there’s something for you!

Click here to download an application.  Once you’ve filled it out please return it to Sue Johansen (Park Naturalist). You can drop it off at the Nature Center, email it to; SusanA.Johansen@wisconsin.gov or by mail to Devil’s Lake State Park, S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo, WI 53913.

How many ways can you help?  Let us list the ways….

Trail Maintenance – With 2.5 million visitors each year, the park is in need to volunteers to help maintain the trails here at the park. Duties would include helping to remove brush from the trail and trail sides. Helping with trail maintenance (helping with repair of stone stairways, repairing asphalt trails, etc.). Helping with liter pick up throughout the park. Helping stop non-designated trails visitors create.

Invasives Removal – Invasive plants are a huge problem in the park. Duties would include helping to remove garlic mustard along the trails and forested areas and cutting buckthorn and honey suckle.

Special Events – The Park holds several events throughout the year and need volunteers to help with the set-up, take-down, and help during the events. Duties could include helping pass out snowshoes, watching the outdoor fire, passing out s’mores or hot chocolate, helping set up tables or light torches, talking with visitors, selling cookies. The special typically happen on Saturdays with the majority of them happening in the evening, although some do happen during the day.

Learn to Fish – Once a month, during the summer, the Nature Center holds a “Learn to Fish” program on Thursday mornings from 9 am – 11 am. Duties would include helping children and adults learn how to cast, tie knots, bait a hook, and then help with catching a fish. Volunteers would assist the staff during these programs. All of the equipment and bait for the programs is provided by the park.

Learn to Ice Fish – In January of each year, we offer Learn to Ice Fish, during Free Fishing Weekend. Duties would include drilling holes, setting up tip ups, teaching children and adults how to set up their poles, how to bait their hook, ice safety, and helping them catch a fish. All of the equipment and bait for the program is provided by the park. If we have enough volunteer interest, we would consider adding more of these programs throughout the winter.

Hike Helper – We often get a large number of participants (50 – 70 people) on our hikes and could use extra help during these hikes. Duties would include helping keep the group together, staying in the back to make sure everyone stays together, and possibly taking part of the group to assist the naturalist. Training and park background would be provided to volunteers.

Summer Bat Watches – Every Friday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day the Nature Center gathers visitors at the bat condo (north shore) to watch the bats emerge for the evenings. These are popular programs with 50 – 80 people attending each Friday. Duties would include walking throughout the crowd with our iPad Bat Detectors and to show the visitors. Helping with the kids activities. Answering visitors’ questions about bats. Training and information will be provided to volunteers. Program times vary a bit from week to week as we need to adjust for sunset – the bats emerge about 10 minutes after sunset each night.

High –Tech Bat Hikes – Throughout the summer, the Nature Center will hold bat hikes where visitors will hike around the lake to look for bats. Duties will include being in charge of one of the iPad bat detectors throughout the hike and answering visitors’ questions about bats. The naturalist will be the main leader of these hikes. Training and information will be provided to volunteers.

Kayak Tours and Programs – Throughout the summer the Nature Center provides a variety of kayak programs (kayak tours, learn to kayak, and night kayak tours). Duties would include supporting staff with maintaining group cohesiveness, such as preventing individual paddlers from wondering off and coaching/assisting straggling participants and assist staff with group management during an emergency situation. Volunteers must have their own kayak and need to maneuver their kayak using forward, backward, turning, and draw strokes. Volunteers must also maintain groups cohesiveness and impart paddling techniques to verbally assist participants in maintaining group cohesiveness. It is requested that volunteers participate in a spring training provided by nature center staff. During this training volunteers will practice their paddling and rescue skills. 

Drop-ins at the Beach – From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Nature Center takes programs down to the north shore beach. These programs all visitors to “drop in” and find out about the animals found throughout the park. Duties would include helping move tables and material to the beach area and back again and helping assist the naturalist during the drop-in (helping with kid’s activities, interacting with the public on the topic). These programs happen on Saturday and Sundays from 1 – 3 pm. Volunteers would need to help at least a half an hour before the program and a half an hour after. Information on the different topic will be provided to volunteers.

Saturday Nature Center Helper – Saturday mornings in the summer can be a busy time at the Nature Center! We need help inside and outside the Nature Center on these mornings from 10 am – 12:30 pm. Duties include helping with the program happening outside the nature center, helping with crowd control during animal feeding, and helping keep track of visitors participating in programs. Volunteers can help as little as once a month, every weekend, or be on call. Let us know what will work best for your schedule.

School Program Hike Helper – Throughout the spring and fall the Nature Center works with a variety of schools and grades to teach them about the geology and natural world at Devil’s Lake. Duties would include assisting the naturalist with group cohesiveness, helping students with our new technology component (using iPads in a variety of ways), helping answer students questions. The naturalist would be the main leader of the group. Training and park background information would be provided.

Visitor Center Helper – in the spring, summer, and fall the Visitor Center staff needs help working at the drive-up window on the north shore and at the contact station on the south shore selling vehicle admission stickers and giving park information and directions to arriving visitors. You’d be handling money, so there would be a bit more of a background check for this volunteer position.

Parking Assistant – Throughout the summer and fall we need volunteers to help both on the north and south shore with parking. Volunteers would help monitor parking availability, keep visitors from parking trailer parking, handicap areas, help direct people to the overflow areas, etc.

1 comment

  1. Mark Wertz

    Work at UW, love hiking and cycling at devils lake and would love to volunteer. I especially love winter at devils lake

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