Get involved and have fun too! Volunteer for the Yolo Basin Foundation. You’ll meet new people, increase your knowledge of natural habitats and local wildlife, and help support environmental stewardship in our community.
Volunteers can get involved in a variety of ways and times that suit the volunteer’s own schedule. There are no set weekly time commitments. We value the time and energy volunteers contribute to our mission, and we want volunteers to enjoy what they are doing.
Throughout the year Yolo Basin Foundation offers volunteer-only field trips, ongoing education, and parties including our Annual Volunteer Picnic and Winter Potluck.
What are you waiting for?
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES INCLUDE:
Bat Talk and Walk Volunteer
Yolo Basin Foundation offers its Bat Talk and Walk programs from June through September, and you can get involved as a volunteer, viewing the bats several times throughout your summer! This year, the program is in a hybrid format with a virtual Bat Talk followed by a visit to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to view the 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats flyout from under the Yolo Causeway at sunset. There are various volunteer positions available to you, and there are trainings to prepare you.
A Moderator receives questions from the public during a virtual Zoom-based Bat Talk through the chat feature. At the end of the Talk, the Moderator relays the questions to our staff bat expert, who is leading the talk. The Moderator also assists participants with any technical issues and difficulties. These are hour and a half volunteer shifts.
Bat Walk Program Assistants assist with set-up, greet guests at their cars, open and close gates in a lead car or tail car, and answer questions. Program Assistants will assist with one or more of the following during the program as well: selling t-shirts, crowd control, answering questions, and showing live rescue bats that are on display in enclosures. Three assistants are needed at each walk, and these are two-hour volunteer shifts. There is an option to be a Driver and a Program Assistant. As a Driver, the volunteer is the tail car to ensure all guests are staying within the caravan group and to lock gates behind the group.
Route Checkers drive the various routes in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area about two hours before a Bat Walk to check accessibility and safety, and inform program staff which route can be used with participants when caravanning out to the bat flyout. This volunteer also checks that the ground markings that mark where pods of people may stand are visible. If the markings are not visible, this volunteer repaints those markings to make it easy for participants to know where to stand to watch the flyout.
Bat Volunteer Trainings occur in the end of May and early June.
Discover the Flyway Docent
If you have a passion for conservation, an enthusiasm for sharing this with kindergarten through 12th-grade students, and a desire to learn more about local wetlands, then become a docent with Discover the Flyway! Docents lead hands-on learning stations, assist with field supplies, help develop program tools, and team up with staff to co-lead and assist with Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area tours and nature walks.
Volunteer shifts are weekdays throughout the school year from approximately 8 to 11:30 a.m. for activity stations and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Wildlife Area tours. Docents commit to lead, assist or shadow a minimum of three times a month.
Discover the Flyway docents participate in a comprehensive training that provides an introduction to wetlands and how to lead each of the learning stations.
Wetlands Wagon School Program Volunteer
If you are interested in bringing the outdoors indoors to local schools who cannot travel to the wetlands, then become a volunteer with Wetlands Wagon. Volunteers travel with a Yolo Basin Foundation staff member to a local school to assist with one hour to one and half hour wetland and environmental-themed classes for 1st through 12th graders. Volunteers assist with gathering supplies, set-up, and clean up at the school site. Volunteers help students to participate, keeping them on track and answering questions. Volunteers for this program must complete a Live Scan fingerprinting background check to enter school sites.
Wetlands Tour Docent – Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and City of Davis Wetlands
Help educate the public about our local wetlands by leading and assisting with monthly tours of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the City of Davis Wetlands. Learn and share fascinating facts about the Wildlife Area, the Davis Wetlands and the Yolo Bypass as well as promote the Yolo Basin Foundation to tour participants.
Docents should have an interest in public speaking, the natural history of wetland and riparian species, and conservation. Certification in first aid and CPR is desirable, but not required. Binoculars and a spotting scope, in addition to trip log and first-aid kit, are provided for the tours. A personal bird identification guide and binoculars or scope are recommended. All docents must carry a cell phone on tours in the case of an emergency.
Wetlands Tour Docents become experts on local birds and the natural history of these unique and multi-functional ecosystems. Davis Wetlands tours occur the first Saturday of every month. YBWA tours are the 2nd Saturday of the month, October to June.
Wetlands Tour Docents participate in a multi-day training. Training covers the establishment, significance and management of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the Davis Wetlands, role of the Yolo Basin Foundation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the City of Davis, how to lead or assist on a tour, basic interpretation techniques, and an introduction to wetland habitats and common birds. A tour of each location is part of the training. Docents commit to lead or assist with a minimum of two tours a year. A background check through the City of Davis Police Department is required for all Davis Wetlands docents.
Special Events and Projects
Throughout the year, Yolo Basin Foundation organizes special events such as Bucks for Ducks and California Duck Days. Our volunteers are our number one resource for making these events a success. Both Bucks for Ducks, our annual gala fundraising event, and California Duck Days, a fun wetlands and wildlife festival, require at least 100 volunteers!
Additionally, volunteers are needed for several other special events, programs and projects such as mailings, tule harvesting, summer camps, data-entry, and clean-up days.
Episodic volunteering is a fantastic way for busy individuals to support Yolo Basin Foundation in a way that fits their schedule.