Volunteers are the lifeline of the nature center. Take a look at some of the positions below, and let us know if you would like to help.

Download Volunteer Application


Volunteer Naturalist

 Naturalists work on weekday mornings with school groups after attending a six-part training. The training emphasizes methods and techniques rather than facts and names. Our goal is to send students and visitors home with a good experience in the outdoors, to pique their interest and curiosity, and to encourage them to continue to learn on their own. In the course of the training, you will see a variety of teaching styles and will become familiar with the trail system. 

Visitor Center Host

Visitor Center Hosts are stationed at the Interpretive Building. Sitting at the front desk or staying near the front door and phone, they are the hospitality experts who make each person who visits Oxley Nature Center feel welcome. They greet visitors, hand out trail maps, suggest hiking routes if asked, answer the phone, keep a visitor tally, handle gift shop sales, and may even tackle clerical or custodial chores during any lulls. Most of the training is on-the-job; the first time you work a shift, the first half-hour will cover front-desk routines and procedures. We will also set up a time to learn how to handle gift shop sales. 


This crew focuses on maintaining trails, clearing brush to establish firebreaks, helping with controlled burns, picking up litter, painting, and other work projects. Look in the volunteer newsletter to see what's scheduled each month, or arrange your own solo projects with us for a season. You can also choose to "Adopt-a-Trail", walking a chosen trail on a regular basis and reporting on its status. Trail walkers may also choose to maintain their trails if they wish, picking up trash, clipping, weed-whacking, etc. Trail improvements or major repairs should be cleared with our natural resources coordinator Vinnie Robinson first, since some of that work is promised to Eagle Scouts. Trail work crew members set up their own schedules, sending in a weekly report of the hours worked each day, until their season ends in February. 


Promote Oxley Nature Center and Redbud Valley Nature Preserve’s events and work to increase the number of drop-in visitors. At the very least, some of the work could be done from home, entering data on community calendars. We hope to see new team members for this fledgling group meeting to decide on goals and a working schedule.


There is always miscellaneous work, like weeding the new gardens, counting butterflies, updating brochures, removing invasive alien species… What skills do you have to share over the next six months?

Volunteer and Oxley staff, families, and friends celebrated 2019 with an awards luncheon December 7. We gathered together to honor all our volunteer staff and share a meal of barbecue and potluck dishes (complements of Mary K. Oxley Nature Center -- ONCA). We look forward to this time together to visit with one another and celebrate.

The following volunteers reached significant milestones:

Claire Harkness and Judi Lotter --
2019 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year

Mike Ayling and Dick Sherry – 35 years or 70 seasons

Kim Bebee, Rusty Grimpe, Jacquie Young –
20 years or 40 seasons

Jane Knoten – 15-years or 30 seasons

Don Gardner, Karen Harris, Helen Hickey, Mack Hickey, Donna Horton, Barbara Hudnall, Mary Seabourn –
5 years or 10 seasons

Glen Smith – 3 years or 6 seasons

Our volunteer staff serves Oxley Nature Center in many capacities, meeting the needs of the public and the resource with dedication and enthusiasm. We could not do this without them!


Thank you!