We are pleased that you have decided to inquire about volunteering with Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Center. We are thankful for those who contribute to strengthening our community.

A Great Place to Volunteer in Northern Ontario

Our mission is to offer a unique environmental opportunity by providing a bird observatory for research and education that serves school groups, the general public, birders, and researchers.

We are a recognized not-for-profit organization, fully supported by membership fees, educational sponsorships, corporate donations, and foundation/ government grants.

Without kind volunteers like you, we would be unable to provide the exceptional experiences that we do. We are an inclusive community and welcome everyone to join us as a Marsh Member.

We hope to be able to find you a volunteering position that best suits your abilities and availability. Most roles will offer you opportunities to meet experts and slowly learn more about birding, bird banding and general ecology.

We can’t wait to see you at Hilliardton Marsh!

Assistant Bander banding a Hairy Woodpecker and removed a band from the sequence to place upon the leg.
Photo by Marsh Member Chris Pritchard.

Migration Monitoring Volunteers

Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Center currently offers long-term volunteer opportunities for up to 5 people each spring and fall migration season. These volunteers are asked to stay for a minimum of three weeks, and most volunteers will stay for the whole season. Our standard season period for the spring season runs from May 1st to the second weekend of June, and our fall season is from August 1st to the end of October. Primarily volunteers will be asked to contribute to four tasks, bird identification (daily census), scribing (recording daily data for the bander), net extraction and even banding. During their time at HMREC, volunteers can expect to graduate through our gradual training program. Long-term volunteers can expect to be trained by a team of experienced naturalists. They will get the opportunity to participate in a unique educational experience in the discipline of ornithology. Long-term volunteers are provided with on-site accommodations and introductory provisions. All volunteers are expected to help with daily activities such as public education, facility maintenance and clerical work. We encourage you to explore the beautiful Timiskaming District while you are here. We promote the interests of individuals who may want to concentrate on plants, reptiles, amphibians, art or photography.

Additionally, if you have previous experience as a Bander, we regularly have paid contracts for both the spring and fall seasons. This is a unique opportunity to be a part of a great team with an incredible diversity of boreal birds. Good luck!

Contact [email protected] for more information about volunteering for a season of migration monitoring.

We also welcome short-term volunteers – if the space is available, you are welcome. Short-term volunteers or funded researchers hoping to utilize our facilities are expected to pay a daily fee for accommodation space and training. We encourage you to reach out to discuss your stay.

Contact [email protected] for more information about visiting for a short duration.

Regional Occasional Volunteers

We always welcome volunteers, especially members living regionally.

Marsh Members may only be able to volunteer outside of their work schedule or school schedule. Those interested in volunteering should contact [email protected] to discuss their availability schedule, strengths and dislikes, interests and commitments. If you cannot commit to visiting more than a few times a month, you may want to consider becoming a volunteer gardener, volunteer scriber or volunteer greeter. Contact [email protected] for more information on what these roles entail.

If you can commit to visiting once a week. We can begin to include you in our migration monitoring efforts. This provides training in four tasks, bird identification (daily census), scribing (recording daily data for the bander), net extraction and possibly even banding.

This is an excellent opportunity for students to collect volunteer hours and develop their resumes for a career in biology, ornithology or ecology. We can work with students to achieve their individual goals. Contact [email protected] for more information on unique volunteer opportunities for students.

We require you to visit Hilliardton Marsh Research and Education Center and complete three training days before handling a bird in any meaningful capacity.

Volunteers must purchase a Marsh Membership as not only does it help fund our research, but it is also required by our insurance policy.