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 want to help out for a couple hours a year and those interested in committing on a regular basis. NBC Naturalists and Associates have contributed over 250,000 hours of volunteer service since 1990 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 the three 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.

No orientation or training required. These are great opportunities to fulfill service hours!

Many volunteers get their feet wet, so to speak, at Coastal Cleanup Day typically held on the third Saturday of September – this year being Saturday, September 21, 2024. 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. In addition to the one-time orientation/training listed below, Associate Volunteers are required to go through a county background check every 2 years and maintain up-to-date CPR/First Aid certification (training provided!).

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. 2024 Orientations will be: Mar 23rd, Jun 1st, and Aug 24th. To register to attend, go to: NBCOCPtraining.eventbrite.com. Hope to meet 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 becoming an Associate Volunteer, as laid out above. Registration for the 2024-25 training will be posted in the summer. In the meantime, learn more about the program at: newportbay.org/naturalist-training.

Want to Learn more about the natural landscape of the Bay? Previously recorded Naturalist Nights and other educational lectures about the Bay and its environments can be found on NBC’s YouTube Channel.

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.