The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is a unique not-for-profit organization where scientists, educators, students, visitors, and volunteers work and learn together.

  • Our scientists study environmental issues that shape the quality of the world we live in, from freshwater health to air quality.
  • Institute educators communicate our research to students of all ages, to teachers, and to the general public.
  • School groups experience hands on learning during Ecology Field Programs.

Interested in one of our volunteer opportunities? Please e-mail our Volunteer Coordinator or contact Patricia Jones at 845 677-7600 x109.

Volunteers help our staff in the following areas:

Research Library

Library Volunteer Needed

Ongoing. 1-5 hours per week.

Do you love wandering around in libraries or book stores? We are looking for a volunteer to help out in our research library. Duties may include filing books and putting other materials in proper order. Some familiarity with a library classification system is preferred, but not required. Also, you must be able to push and pull carts, stoop, bend, and reach above your head. You must have solid computer skills and be comfortable with spreadsheets to assist with higher level duties.

The volunteer will usually work in a solitary environment.  Hours are flexible, but must be completed during business hours.

Volunteer Supervisor - Amy Schuler


Citizen Science

Submerged Vegetation Researchers Needed

Mid-June to early autumn as needed - ongoing

Do you enjoy being on the Hudson River? Are you interested in collecting data for critical research? Are you able to maneuver in small boats, i.e., kayaks, canoes? If so, this opportunity may be for you. Volunteer Monitors are needed for mapping submerged aquatic vegetation. All participants will be required to attend a one day training workshop on procedures and safety protocols.

Volunteer Supervisor - Stuart Findlay

Native Plant Observers Needed

Ongoing, from March to November

The Cary Institute’s two-acre Fern Glen features native plant communities, a boardwalk, a pond, and an observation deck overlooking Wappinger Creek. We're seeking volunteer observers to help monitor marked plants growing along the Fern Glen’s trails. Volunteers will be expected to visit the Fern Glen regularly during the growing season and upload their observations to the National Phenology Network website. Training will be provided.

Volunteer Supervisor - Vicky Kelly


Volunteer Educators Needed

Make a difference, have fun, and explore the grounds. Become a Volunteer Educator and help lead elementary school children through an active learning program about ecology, the scientific process, and the natural world. If you are capable of understanding and conveying basic ecological principles to children, if you can apply inquiry-based teaching methods; if you can help manage a group of up to 30 children and move freely in the natural landscape in seasonal weather conditions, please inquire about this opportunity. Education programs are held on our 2,000 acre campus as well as in local schoolyards

Volunteer Supervisor – Michelle Forster



Development Office Clerical and Special Events Volunteer

The Development Office seeks a volunteer approximately 1-2 days per month to assist with clerical duties, membership mailings, and occasional assistance with special events.

Volunteer Supervisor - Vicki Doyle

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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