Volcano Volunteers

“I love learning new things about the mountain and sharing with visitors about how Mount St. Helens changes sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.”

- Volcano Volunteer Jim Hill

Our Volcano Volunteers are one of the Institute’s best resources. We’re proud of and grateful for our volunteers who, since 2005, have logged thousands of hours helping out at Mount St. Helens. Our Volcano Volunteers lead hikes, guide school groups, and share information with the public at the Monument’s visitor centers and other tourist sites. They greatly enhance visitors’ experiences at the volcano by explaining scientific information, monument rules, and travel and safety tips.

If you’d like to join this wonderful group of outdoors-oriented folks, consider becoming a Volcano Volunteer. You’ll be rewarded with new knowledge, stronger communication skills, and a chance to spend time in the blast zone. We’re looking for individuals with good speaking skills and an ability to lead groups. A science background is helpful, but not required.

This is a unique opportunity to volunteer in a meaningful way, assisting the public and the forest by providing information, direction, interpretation, sales and maintenance of the grounds. 


Locations: Johnston Ridge Observatory, Science and Learning Center, Pine Creek Information Station, Cascade Peaks, Ape Cave

Major Responsibilities:

  • Work with diverse groups of individuals, organizations, and partners to provide  quality visitor information/orientation and customer service to the visiting public. 
  • Rove trails and visitor areas while educating visitors about the Institute’s and Monument’s missions.
  • Assist with resource protection, education and monitoring.
  • Informally educate the public about the extraordinary features of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Help the staff of the Institute and Monument as needed.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Willingness to learn and share knowledge with a diverse audience
  • Background or interest in science and natural processes
  • Ability to communicate well with others
  • Skill in providing quality customer service
  • Availability to participate in mandatory training sessions
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Certification in First Aid and CPR

Time Commitment:

A minimum of 12 days in any combination over a period of 4 months. Options can vary!


  1.  One to two days per week for at least 3 months (= approx 12+ days)

  2.  Two (or more) days every other week for at least 3 months ( = approx 12+ days)

  3.  Four or five days in a row at least once per month for 3 months (= approx 12+ days)

Ability to volunteer on weekends is highly desirable!!

Benefits Provided:

  • Receive a week-long intensive training in interpretation, ecology, and geology.
  • Stay in government-provided housing or enjoy a unique camping experience, depending upon location.
  • Uniforms and some weather gear provided at no cost.
  • Opportunity to attend any MSHI field seminars at no cost as ongoing training/enrichment.

For more information, contact Allison Watson, Volunteer Programs Manager, at 360.891.5199 or by email awatson@mshinstitute.org.