Volunteer Opportunities

Whether you are drawn to people or nature, to the indoors or outdoors, there is a volunteer niche for you at Upper Newport Bay!

We have opportunities for those who just want to help out for a couple hours and those interested in committing on a regular basis. NBC Naturalists and Associates have contributed over 130,000 hours of documented volunteer service conducting water and walking tours, school and scout programs, hands-on restoration and cleanups, and a myriad of other activities. We couldn’t accomplish anywhere near as much as we do without our volunteers! Check out our 3 levels of volunteering below to see where you fit.



Individuals, families, and groups are all welcome to volunteer at the Bay with our ongoing restoration and cleanup efforts. These are great opportunities to fulfill service hours!

Many volunteers get their feet wet, so to speak, at Coastal Cleanup Day held on the third Saturday of September. Each year about 1,000 people spend the morning picking up trash at UNB. Over 20,000 lbs. of trash and recyclables are collected.

Between September through February we also host additional cleanup events two Sundays per month. Check back in the fall for links to more information and how to sign up.

Restoration of natural habitat has been an important part of our work since 1990. Throughout the year, you are welcome to participate in community-based restoration programs. For any restoration activity you will want to dress for the weather, be prepared to get dirty, and bring water and sun protection. Closed-toed shoes are essential. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended.



If you have the time and energy to commit to volunteering on a more regular basis, become an Associate Volunteer! Associates staff the Interpretive Center front desk, conduct outreach, help organize special events, assist with water and walking tours and other education programs, perform stewardship activities, and provide administrative, fundraising and community relations support. A time commitment of at least 4 hours per month for twelve months or equivalent is expected.

Associate Volunteers must complete a one-day Orientation/Training. These trainings, held at the Muth Interpretive Center, make you eligible to volunteer in any OC Parks space and are the site-specific training for the Upper Newport Bay. 2023 Orientations are scheduled for the following Saturdays from 8:00am-3:30pm: Apr 29th, May 27th, and Aug 26th. You can RSVP for any of these dates at NBCOCPtraining.eventbrite.com. Hope to see you there!



Since 1990, Newport Bay Conservancy has sponsored a Naturalist Training Class, a prestigious course taught by experts in each field, which provides in-depth knowledge about the natural history and ecology of the Bay and prepares volunteers to share this knowledge with the public as the leaders of our programs. Newly expanded in 2022 to better support leadership development, the course now consists of a fall knowledge-acquisition component and a spring skills-building and practice component. Prior life sciences education at a high school or college level is not needed. Enthusiasm and a desire to share that enthusiasm with an elementary school, high school, adult or family audience are far more important! The only prerequisite for this program is the above mentioned Associate Training. Registration for the 2022-23 training is now closed, but you can still read the full details about the program at: newportbay.org/naturalist-training.

All are welcome to join us for Thursday Naturalist Night lectures. These lectures are a component of the Naturalist Training course that are FREE and open to all. Covering a wide range of topics related to the Bay’s ecology, wildlife, and history, attending one or more of these lectures is a great way to begin building your knowledge. The schedule and registration page will be posted in August.


For more information on any of the above volunteering opportunities or Naturalist Training, please contact Community Programs Administrator, Hilary Cunningham, at hilary.cunningham@newportbay.org or 949-923-2269.