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Group and Individual Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer at Craft Table Rich Federrici painting a fence at Buck Garden Trail Maintenance

Become A Volunteer

Individual Volunteer Opportunities

Opportunities exist for volunteers to participate in many facets of the Somerset County Park Commission's operation. We try to match individual volunteers with jobs that fulfill both interests and skills. Individuals interested in volunteering may complete the application listed here or may call the Park Commission for additional information.

Find out more... volunteer today: Brochure/application form (PDF)

Group Volunteer Opportunities

The Somerset County Park Commission offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Many citizens and local business leaders loyally serve in this capacity, as individuals committed to offering their time and expertise to enhance the quality of life of Somerset County. Some of the volunteer opportunities, however, are projects which cannot be achieved without the concerted efforts that a group can provide. These include conservation efforts, land management projects, park beautification, and assistance at special events. Group volunteer efforts benefit the Park Commission, and just as importantly, benefit the corporate group. There is a comradery experienced when viewing the efforts of a successful day’s work, and a heightened sense of teamwork, knowing that the project was fulfilled due to the achievements of you and your co-workers.

Call us to arrange a project to meet your company’s needs.

Click here for our Group Volunteer Opportunities booklet.


Gardens, Grounds, Management , and Facilities
Garden Docent
Come share your knowledge and love of flowers and plants with others. Docents are guides who are trained to lead tours of the Leonard J. Buck Garden in Far Hills. Training is provided by Buck Garden staff to aquaint docents with the history of the garden, horticultural practices, and plant information. Guided tours for groups are most frequently requested in May and June.
Department: Horticulture
Location: Leonard J. Buck Garden, Far Hills
Date: Spring and fall
Qualifications: Gardening knowledge; successful completion of training; public speaking skills

Horticultural Assistant
Volunteers who enjoy gardening can help maintain various garden areas within the Somerset County parks. Working with the Horticulture Department staff, volunteers will help with all of the tasks required to keep the gardens in excellent condition. Planting, watering, weeding, mulching, pruning, and deadheading flowers are some of the included tasks.
Department: Horticulture and Environmental Science
Location: Buck Garden, Colonial Park, and Environmental Education Center
Date: Varies
Qualifications: Must be at least 16 years of age; must be available to work daytime hours Monday through Friday.

Stable Assistants
Individuals with experience handling, grooming, and tacking up horses are invited to bring their skills and enthusiasm to Lord Stirling Stable.  Assist the staff with regular daily barn and horse care. It’s a great opportunity to channel your love of horses, enjoy the benefits of fresh air and exercise, and make a valuable contribution to a unique park.
Department: Lord Stirling Stable
Location: Lord Stirling Park
Date: Year round, days and evenings
Qualifications: Must have completed horse care workshops, summer workshop, or have equivalent experience; feel at ease around horses; minimum age 14 years; qualify with stable supervisor; follow all safety practices; interact with customers on a professional level.

Class Assistants
Experienced riders understand how very large horses appear to be when mounting up for those first few lessons.  That’s why we ask for volunteers to help novice riders get acclimated to the “horse world.” Class assistants help new students choose properly fitting helmets and footwear when they meet in the office before class; maintain safe spacing between horses on the way to the ring; and act as an extra pair of hands for instructors during the lesson.  This may include setting saddles, tightening girths, adjusting stirrups, and generally providing moral support.  If you would like to share your love of riding with newcomers to the sport, please give us a call!  
Department: Lord Stirling Stable
Location: Lord Stirling Park
Date: Year round, days and evenings
Qualifications: Must be experienced English saddle rider; minimum age 14 years; follow all safety practices.


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Group Volunteer Projects
The Somerset County Park Commission offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Some of the volunteer opportunities however, are projects which can not be achieved without the concerted efforts a group can provide. These include conservation efforts, land management projects, park beautification, and assistance at special events. Group volunteer efforts benefit the Park Commission, and just as importantly, benefit the corporate group. There is a comradery experienced when viewing the efforts of a successful day's work, and a heightened sense of teamwork, knowing that the project was fulfilled due to the achievements of you and your co-workers. Listed are 10 projects which can only be achieved by the continued time and talent offered by the local businesses and corporate communities. We invite you to examine them, and thank in advance, the individuals committed to offering their time and expertise to enhance the quality of life of Somerset County.

The Turkey Trot
Lace up your sneakers to make things run (pardon the pun) more smoothly on the day of this annual 5K and 1-mile fun run, held in Colonial Park in Franklin Township. Volunteers can assist with runner registration, water stops, and with race-route marshalling. Join us for some fun and fitness in the park.

10 to 20 sure-footed adults needed
Morning of a Saturday in November
Staff Contact: Karren Newman 908 722-1200 ext. 226

The Horsey Set
The benefits are great for both the volunteer and participant in the T.R.A.I.L.S. therapeutic horseback riding program. Help guide children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities through the paces in both beginner and advanced classes. Volunteers will function as lead and sidewalkers, as well as assistants to riders when mounting and dismounting a horse. Equestrian experience is not necessary.

15 - 20 pace setting adults needed; 16 & 17 year olds with equestrian experience considered.
Two hours on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings for ten weeks
Fall and spring seasons
Staff Contact: Lee Shahay 908 722-1200 ext. 233

Come Horse Around with Us
Put on your faded blue jeans, roll up your sleeves, and help us give a face lift to the many buildings, fences, and rails at Lord Stirling Stable. Volunteers can choose from a wide variety of painting jobs. With lessons, clinics, horse shows, and other special events occurring year round, improvements will always be noticed and appreciated!

10 - 20 adult painters needed
Spring or fall
Staff Contact: Nancy Meola 908 766-5955 ext. 28

Out in Green Pastures
Our equestrian trails get a lot of hoof traffic during the course of a year and sometimes need a little more TLC than our maintenance staff can provide. Trimming bushes and branches, removing rocks and stones from the pastures and trails, repainting the identification numbers on remounting blocks, and cleaning branches and logs out of the streams are some of the tasks that may be needed to keep them “the Cadillac of horse trails”. Bring your clippers and enjoy the great outdoors!

10 - 20 adults
Spring, summer or fall
Staff Contact: Nancy Meola  908 766-5955 ext. 28

Bluebirds of Happiness
The eastern bluebird, a threatened species in New Jersey, can be seen in any of our parks year round. The parks provide the proper habitat, giving park visitors a chance to view the bluebird in its natural setting. Volunteers can work together to keep the bluebirds in the parks by building and installing bluebird boxes at both Washington Valley Park and Sourlands Mountain Preserve. Help the eastern bluebird's chances of being taken off the state's threatened list!

5 to 10 nestbuilders needed; adults and children ages 16 or older
Late winter
Staff Contact: Dave Dendler 908 231-0802 ext. 22

Happy Trails
Thousands of people enjoy the many trails located within the park system's 10,000 acres. Since our trails are "multi-use", hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders explore them together, especially in the Sourland Mountain Preserve (Hillsborough and Montgomery) and Washington Valley Park (Bridgewater). Increased usage has caused the soil on trails to be compacted, exposing tree roots and increasing trail erosion. To help reduce these concerns, trails may need to be closed, rerouted, or erosion controlled. Bridges and boardwalks may also need to be built. Volunteers are needed to ensure the beauty of one of New Jersey's great trail systems.

10 to 30 budding conservationists needed; adults and teenage children
Spring, summer, and fall
Staff Contact: Dave Dendler 908 231-0802 ext. 22

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Instructional Skills
Athletic Skills Assistant
Calling all sports enthusiasts! If you missed the Olympics, here's your chance to assist children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities to sharpen their athletic skills in a variety of sports including softball, basketball, golf, soccer, t-ball, tennis, etc.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: Varies
Qualifications:Interest in working with individuals with developmental disabilities; a basic knowledge of sports

Culinary/Crafts Assistant
If you have an interest in crafts or cooking, then consider sharing your talents with others. Assist children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities as they create a variety of culinary treats or crafts.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: Varies
Qualifications: Desire to work with individuals with developmental disabilities; an interest in cooking or crafts

Dance/Creative Movement Assistant
Are you a dance enthusiast? If so, join us in assisting teens and adults with developmental disabilities, as they explore the world of dance or creative movement.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: Varies
Qualifications: Interest in working with teens and adults with developmental disabilities; enthusiastic approach to the assigned tasks

Fitness
Hey all you fitness buffs, lace up your sneakers and jog on over to the TR Activity Center where you can assist adults with developmental disabilities to achieve a greater level of fitness.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: Varies
Qualifications: An interest in working with individuals with developmental disabilities; an enthusiastic approach to exercise and fitness

Horticulture
Put on your gardening gloves and dig right in assisting adults with developmental disabilities plant a beautiful garden filled with a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location:
North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: varies
Qualification: An interest in working with individuals with developmental disabilities; a basic knowledge of gardening

Naturalist Assistant
Attention all kid-loving environmental enthusiasts! Assist with public environmental education programs conducted by the Naturalists. An extra set of eyes, ears, and helpful hands are frequently needed.
Department: Environmental Science
Location: Lord Stirling Park, Environmental Education Center
Date: Varies
Qualifications: an interest in working with people

T.R.A.I.L.S. Assistant
If you enjoy horses and working with children and adults with developmental disabilities, then you may combine the best of two worlds to help with the T.R.A.I.L.S program (Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Instruction at Lord Stirling). Sidewalkers accompany students while holding and interacting with them. Leaders guide the horses as per directions from the instructor. Come join the team!
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: Lord Stirling Park, Lord Stirling Stable
Date: 1 or 2 hours Tuesday or Wednesday evenings - from March to June and September to November
Qualifications: Experienced horse rider 18 years and older. (16 and 17 year olds considered on a special case basis if qualified); ability to commit to 1 or 2 night hours per week; desire to work with people with developmental disabilities and horses; ability to follow directions

Model Airplane Check Pilot
Calling all model airplane enthusiasts! We're looking for a few good pilots with equally good flight and people skills to serve as check pilots for novice flyers. The checks take place at the North Branch Park Flying Field on an "as arranged" basis with individuals wishing to obtain a flying field permit.
Department: Recreation
Location: North Branch Park
Date: Varies
Qualifications: Proficiency in flying; certification by a current check pilot

Tennis Lesson Assistant
Get into the swing by helping with children's tennis lessons. You don't have to be a pro, but you must have enthusiasm, have good people skills, and a love of the game!
Department: Recreation
Location: Green Knoll Tennis Center
Date: Summer weekday mornings
Qualifications: An interest in tennis

Yoga
Relax and take time out of your busy day while assisting adults with developmental disabilities to learn the basic techniques of this ancient form of relaxation.
Department: Therapeutic Recreation
Location: North Branch Park, TR Activity Center, Bridgewater
Date: Varies
Qualification: An interest in assisting individuals with developmental disabilities, and an interest in yoga
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National Trails Day - Washington Valley Park
Since 1993, National Trails Day has been celebrated annually in June . National Trails Day is focused on specific goals; raising awareness of trails and Trails for All Americans, building partnerships and alliances that work together beyond National Trails Day, and broadening the constituency for trails. This annual event has grown from a handful of grassroots events in 1993 to over 3,000 events across the country.

The unifying idea of National Trails Day is Trails for All Americans, a plan to establish a nationwide network of trails that comes within 15 minutes of every American. These pathways would link together as part of the nation’s infrastructure of greenways, like the interstate highway system. Through National Trails Day local trail clubs, the outdoor business community, and local, state, and federal government agencies are joining together to make this plan a reality.

The Somerset County Park Commission will be taking part in the celebration in an attempt to improve and maintain our many miles of trails, as well as, to educate people about hiking, biking, and the trails that surround them. In recognition of National Trails Day, the Park Commission’s Park Ranger Division will be hosting a trail maintenance project at Washington Valley Park in Bridgewater. Click here for date and time. Due to the types of tools that will be used at the site, we request that you bring a pair of work gloves, and sturdy boots.

For further information please contact the Park Rangers at 908 231-0802 ext.21.
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Special Events

Special Events at the Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Rd., Basking Ridge NJ
Need a "helping hand." Some of these events include:

1770s Festival- Assist with setting up craft stations and overseeing these stations by helping the visitors with activities, such as quill writing, colonial games, hay rides and "Dress the Part". These activities are typical to the period. Assist with breakdown of stations.  Must be 15 years or older. Must be 15 years or older.

By The Light of the Moon-Assist Naturalist on the trails during a night hike and helping with set up and breakdown of indoor activities. Must be 14 years or older

Festival of Trees - Assist Naturalist in set up and breakdown of indoor display of trees. 


Entertainer
Calling all musical performers, clowns, and storytellers. Throughout the year, the Park Commission offers a variety of special events for children of all ages and their families. Opportunities are available for those with musical experience and other creative talents to assist in providing quality entertainment at events including the Fourth of July Family Festival, the 1770's Festival, the Antique Car Show, and Family Fun Day.
Department: Environmental Science, Recreation, Lord Stirling Stable
Location: Varies
Date: all seasons
Qualifications: Experience at the craft and enthusiasm in working with the public

Face Painter
If you can doodle and draw animals, flowers, balloons, and other designs, then we need your help to color faces beautiful. Face painters are needed each year at Project E.A.R.T.H., Family Fun Day, the Fourth of July Festival, and the By the Light of the Moon. With a combined annual attendance of over 13,000, face painting is one of the most popular activities. Face painters are welcome to bring their own designs or use some of ours.
Department: Recreation, Lord Stirling Stable, Environmental Science
Location: North Branch Park, Lord Stirling Park
Date: Two (2) Sundays in April, July 4, and a late-October weekend
Qualifications: Ability to work with children; ability to paint designs quickly

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Wildlife and Resource Conservation Project
Bird Box Builder
The eastern bluebird, a threatened species in New Jersey, can be seen in all parks year round. People are needed to assess site locations, build, install, and maintain bird boxes. Help enhance the bluebirds' habitat.
Department: Park Rangers
Location: Varies
Date: All seasons
Qualifications: Experience with hand tools and woodworking is helpful; willingness to provide some "elbow grease"

Park Beautifier
Some of our park visitors are more environmentally conscious than others. Litter left behind can be found just about anywhere. Trash can be as small as gum wrappers or as large as car tires. Caring people are needed to pick up the litter and to help keep the parks looking beautiful for all to enjoy.
Department: Park Rangers
Location: Varies
Date: all seasons
Qualifications: Individual must not be afraid of getting dirty; some heavy lifting

Self Interpretive Trail Builder
Nature enthusiasts are needed to help develop and install new self-interpretive trails. A self- interpretive trail can educate park visitors about the park's natural gifts at those times when Park Rangers and Naturalists are unavailable. The trails will be located in undeveloped natural areas and measure approximately 1/2 mile in length.
Department: Park Rangers
Location: Colonial Park
Date: Spring-fall
Qualifications: Some knowledge of local flora and fauna; experience with hand tools is helpful

Trail Constructor
Multi-use trails are visited by thousands of recreationists each year, and need constant attention to help remedy wear and tear. Trails may need to be closed, rerouted, or erosion controlled. Your help is needed to ensure the beauty of one of New Jersey's great trail systems.
Department: Park Rangers
Location: Washington Valley Park and Sourland Mountain Preserve
Date: Spring, summer, fall
Qualifications: Energetic individuals with the ability to use handtools; should be comfortable outdoors and not afraid of becoming dirty

Volunteer Trail Patrol
Help us help park visitors! Due to increasing parkland and visitor usage we need your help on our trails so that more visitors can receive answers to their questions. You will be introduced to the trail system as well as provided first aid, CPR, and interpretive training.
Department: Park Rangers
Location: Washington Valley Park and Sourland Mountain Preserve
Date: Year-round
Qualifications: Must be at least 18 years old; successfully complete orientation and training
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Volunteer Opportunities

Gardens, Grounds Management and Facilities
Group Volunteer Projects
Instructional Skills
National Trails Day
Special Events
Volunteer Park Patrol
Wildlife and Resource Conservation Projects

Find out more... volunteer today:

Brochure/application form (PDF)

Group Volunteer Booklet
Group Volunteer Booklet

 E-mail the Volunteer Department
with any questions or comments.

Group Volunteer Booklet