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Volunteering at the Great Bay Discovery Center

Education Volunteer Katie Arey giving a demonstration.
Volunteer Katie Arey giving a demonstration.
Courtesy of GBNERR

The Great Bay Discovery Center relies on its volunteers to help implement the Estuary Exploration School Programs and summer Ambassador Programs, staff the Exhibit Room, work on events, and keep the grounds and gardens looking great. Volunteers range in age from teens to folks in their 80's and come with varied backgrounds and interests.

  • Educator Volunteers:
    • School Programs: Volunteers lead groups of school children to various stops inside the buildings and on the grounds. At each stop, the educator facilitates activities and lessons on cultural history (fall) and natural history (spring). All school programs are mornings only.
    • BayWalks Programs (formerly Ambassador Programs): Volunteers assist in leading summer programs shorter in length than the spring and fall field trip programs, but which follow a similar format of the school programs' structured activities.
    • There is one day of required training, as well as shadowing the program two or three times before taking a group out on one's own. There is no set number of programs a volunteer must lead; volunteers choose and sign up for days and times that are convenient with their existing schedules. For more information on the programs and lessons, visit the Education and Outreach page.
  • Exhibit Room Volunteers: Inside the Great Bay Discovery Center, visitors are treated to interpretive exhibits about the Great Bay Estuary and the amazing creatures that call it home. Children can get their hands wet in an estuarine touch tank as they learn about lobsters, horseshoe crabs, mud snails and more! Interactive displays about salt marsh farming, salmon migration, plankton, tides and research on the Bay, allow children and adults alike to learn about the Estuary.
    The Exhibit Room volunteers meet and greet these visitors, monitor the touch tank, answer the phone, take care of the small store, and help the staff open and close the building. New volunteers are paired with more experienced volunteers or staff to learn about the Exhibit Room. There is a brief training offered as well to orient new volunteers with the exhibits and touch tank and to inform them of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Grounds Volunteers: Grounds volunteers assist in maintaining the grounds of the Discovery Center. There are several specific gardens located on the grounds, including: edible "pizza" garden, moonshade garden, annuals garden around the flagpole, butterfly garden, and xeriscape or water-less garden. These volunteers would help with weeding, trimming, and watering, and would be notified of various planting work parties at the Center or at nearby projects.
    • If you're interested in volunteering doing groundswork or other outdoor projects, please check out the volunteer opportunities at the new Community Wildlife Garden in Stratham! Volunteers are needed as "Work Day Wonders" and "Wild Side Gardeners" to help create a beautiful local retreat for community members to enjoy. This garden will also serve as an educational site, featuring some "green" landscaping practices that benefit wildlife.
  • Special Projects & Work Days: Special projects and work days include things such as planting projects, invasive special removal, staining a viewing platform, fixing up wood planks on our boardwalk trail, data entry, and much more!  We rely on small and large groups to help out with these one-time projects. If you are interested, please contact Melissa to be added to a 'Special Projects' contact list! Also, we have some projects that need to be completed, but are flexible and not date specific-please see our calendar of events page and scroll to the bottom to see our 'help needed' section!

The Center honors its volunteers with a recognition dinner in the fall, a summer cookout with kayak trip, and small gifts of our appreciation. All our programs and events, including most workshops, are open to our volunteers.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, please contact Melissa Brogle at 603-778-0015 or

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Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department