Join us at DPNC as a volunteer!

Volunteers are vital to our mission at DPNC. By volunteering, you share your love of nature with others, learn about the amazing world around us, gain new skills, share your abilities, spend time outside and forge new friendships with like-minded people.

At the Nature Center, we have a variety of areas where you can focus your volunteer efforts. Scroll down to learn more about all of our volunteer opportunities. Take your first step to becoming a part of an amazing group of people while helping the Nature Center, Coogan Farm and the environment–fill out an application today!

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center welcomes groups to spend time volunteering for a morning, afternoon or even a full day! Contact our Volunteer Coordinator to book a day and a project for your work party.

Animal Care

Interested in working with our resident animals? In animal care, you can work with a diverse cross section of species, from insects to birds of prey!

This area has two concentrations: Indoor and Outdoor animal care. Indoor Care focuses on maintaining our reptile and amphibian collection (including Nature Center exhibits), indoor bird species and small mammals. The Outdoor Care concentration is specifically caring for our resident birds of prey.

Please note: Animal Care requires a year-round, weekly commitment of time. Volunteers in Animal Care are required to shadow staff and/or experienced volunteers in order to become familiar with the care routine as well as the animals.


  • Minimum age: 18
  • Comfortable working around a variety of animal species, including reptiles
  • Comfortable feeding predators
  • Able to lift a minimum of 10 pounds
  • Able to stay calm and think independently around animals
  • Available 1x/quarter for heavy cleaning work (power washing, exhibit deep clean, re-perching, etc.)

Conservation & Habitat Restoration Corps

Do you love getting outside and making improvements to the land around you? In this area, volunteers work in teams to help restore native plants and eradicate invasive plant species at both the Nature Center and Coogan Farm. In addition to restoration, this volunteer concentration helps maintain trails around the greenway.

Work may include brush clearing, sawing, re-painting trail marks, clearing brush and debris, spreading mulch and planting new plants. Training will include the use of various tools and identification of invasive and native plant species.


  • Minimum age: 18
  • Must be able to take instructions and work independently
  • Must be able to lift at least 10 pounds
  • Must be able to use basic hand tools (shovels, rakes, hand saws, etc.)
  • Knowledge of invasive and native plant species a plus

Craig Floyd Giving Garden

Do you love working in the garden? Consider helping out at our weekly harvest or other shifts in the Craig Floyd Giving Garden!

Volunteers in this area focus on the Craig Floyd Giving Garden at Coogan Farm. The Craig Floyd Giving Garden educates the public about earth friendly, regenerative gardening practices while growing produce for the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center. Thousands of pounds of fresh produce is donated to families in need across New London County. This area doesn’t require a volunteer application, just sign up for shifts as often as you want, your help is needed as frequently as you can give it.

Giving Garden Shifts

The Craig Floyd Giving Garden needs volunteer help nearly every day from April through October, thank you for your help!

Special Events

Want to to get involved with DPNC but can’t devote time every week? Consider becoming a special events volunteer! Our events include (but are not limited to); Woodland Egg Hunt (spring), Green-Tie Celebration (September), Wild Mushroom Festival (October), Spooky Nature Trails (October) and Luminaria (December).

Special events volunteers can help with planning and prepping, event day duties such as supervising art projects or manning a food or ticket table, photography, video and content creation, costume wearing duties and more!


  • Minimum age: 14
  • Enthusiastic and able to work independently
  • Strong people skills

If you are interested in being a special event volunteer, please email us to join the list of on-call events volunteers!

Volunteering at DPNC

  • Enjoy lifelong nature experiences and sharing your love of nature with others
  • On-the-job training in our fun, friendly work environment
  • Opportunities to meet other people who share your passion
  • More opportunities to hang out with the Nature Center resident animals!

More information about specific volunteer opportunities is below.

To get started, please fill out an online volunteer application.

To get started, please fill out an online volunteer application.

If you have any questions, contact us at [email protected] or call 860-536-1216. Thank you for your interest in becoming a Nature Center volunteer!

Volunteer Opportunities

Are you fascinated by reptiles and looking to be more hands-on? Our Reptile and Amphibian Feeding Volunteers are responsible for feeding our resident reptiles and amphibians, as well as spot cleaning enclosures. Our reptile/amphibian residents include aquatic turtles, box turtles, snakes, frogs, and toads. The shift for this volunteer opportunity is an hour long.

Are birds of prey your favorite here at DPNC? We are looking for volunteers to serve as Birds of Prey Feeding Volunteers. In this role volunteers will be responsible for feeding all of our birds, including birds of prey, and spot cleaning enclosures. Volunteers serving in this role must be comfortable thawing and preparing frozen mice for feeding. Birds of prey can be intimidating and territorial, so volunteers with a calm personality are preferred. Birds of prey include owls, falcons, hawks, and a variety of other birds. The shifts for this volunteer opportunity are two hours. Minimum Age: 18

** Each Animal Care volunteer must go through a period of shadowing before they work on their own, and may be assigned additional miscellaneous tasks such as invertebrate feeding/tank maintenance, feeding/cage maintenance of our resident rabbit, thorough cleaning of snake enclosures, thorough cleaning of birds of prey enclosures, exhibit cleaning, giving turtle baths, moss collecting, and laundry.

Looking for a great way to support DPNC, but prefer to stay in the climate-controlled area of the offices? Want to strengthen your office skills, help out behind the scenes and see the many areas that make the Nature Center tick? We’re looking for help with all sorts of office work and projects from mailings to data entry. Minimum Age: 15


  • General office work (labeling, sorting, filing, copying, etc.)


  • Computer skills (Microsoft office experience is helpful)
  • Strong customer service skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Phone skills

Do you enjoy the great outdoors, working with your hands and helping to blaze a trail? The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is looking for both experienced trail volunteers and those looking to learn more about trail work to help maintain the various hiking trails around the Nature Center and Coogan Farm. Tasks for trail volunteers will involve one or more of the following: brush clearing, pruning, sawing, re-painting tree blazes, clearing culverts of debris, invasive species removal and litter pickup depending upon the time of year. For example, brush cutting is done yearly around July and November, spring cleanup in April, and invasive species removal at certain intervals.

Would you like to use your love of the outdoors to help give back to the community? If so, the DPNC Giving Garden is the place for you. We are looking for at least 10 people per day to assist us with our garden at the Coogan Farm Nature & Heritage Center growing produce for donation to the Gemma E. Moran United Way Labor Food Center, which distributes food across New London County. Giving Garden volunteers help with planting, weeding, watering and compost building. We will teach you everything you need to know. We supply the tools, and good company. A regular commitment is not required, do what you can when you can – though repeat volunteers are greatly appreciated!

The Giving Garden is now open for the 2022 season. We currently have volunteer opportunities seven days a week, for two hour shifts from 8 am to 2 pm. If you are a teen looking to volunteer in the Giving Garden, we will have opportunities on Saturday mornings from 8 – 10am, and 10am – 12 pm.

Working in the Giving Garden has many benefits; a heartwarming feeling from knowing you are helping neighbors who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, a chance to meet new people from a wide variety of backgrounds, a good work out and fresh air.

Volunteers in our Summer Nature Camp program assist with daily activities like hiking, pond dipping, exploring, art projects, animal encounters, sharing stories and playing games. We have half-day and full-day volunteer opportunities within this program. Must be 13 years of age or older.

Special Events

Are you an outgoing and enthusiastic person who enjoys working with people of all ages? We are looking for volunteers to assist with special events throughout the year that can range from family events to fundraisers, assisting with crafts, parking, games, and a variety of other duties. Event time frames vary, but include the Woodland Egg Hunt on Good Friday, Green-Tie Celebration fundraiser in September, Mushroom Festival and Spooky Nature Trail in October.

Minimum Age: 16

Community Service Hours

If you would like to volunteer with us to fulfill a requirement of service hours for school or for any other organization and/or reason, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected] to determine what opportunities are available.