Volunteer in our Parks and Preserves


  • Michelle Leahy, Volunteer Coordinator
  • (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035
  • Email Us

You really can make a difference! By volunteering in the preserves, you will make a positive impact on the environment. Volunteers help preserve the homes of native plants and animals, re-establishing much needed habitat. The work completed by volunteers will also help to secure the land for the enjoyment of future generations.

Projects can be adapted for any age range or group size, too. Each opportunity is more than just service work - volunteers learn about Florida's ecosystems while working to help preserve them.

For groups

If you have a group that would like to complete a project at one of our preserves, please contact us directly! Whether you're working with a scout troop, school group, professional organization, or club our Volunteer Coordinator, Michelle Leahy, can help create an opportunity for you! Call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035 for more information.

For individuals

If you are an individual looking for a volunteer workday or short-term opportunity there is no need to fill out an application!  Check out our upcoming volunteer opportunities calendar below or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Michelle Leahy, directly at (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035 for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities Calendar

Volunteer Opportunities 

  • 9/4, Keep Manatee Beautiful: First Saturday Clean Up, SR 64 Boat Ramp 

  • 9/17, Creek Clean-up, G.T. Bray Park 

  • 9/18, International Coastal Clean-up, Coquina Beach and Leffis Key 

  • 9/25, National Public Lands Day BioBlitz, Rye Preserve 

  • 9/30, Duette Butterfly Count, Duette Preserve 

  • Ongoing/As Needed, RIP Squad Volunteer Days, Location Chosen Based on Need 


Saturday Sep 4th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Keep Manatee Beautiful: First Saturday Cleanup - This year, Keep Manatee Beautiful will be hosting a cleanup event on the first Saturday of each month. Come out and help us Keep Manatee Beautiful by cleaning up the State Road 64 Boat Ramp! Volunteer opportunity suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.manateebeautiful.com/event-details/64-boat-ramp-1st-saturday-cleanup. For more information please contact keep@manateebeautiful.comSR 64 Boat Ramp 


Friday Sep 17th, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Creek Cleanup at GT Bray Park - Bring your wellies or wading boots for an adventurous afternoon cleaning the creek! This freshwater stream empties into Portosueno Park and Palma Sola Bay and is home to many creatures, including turtles, ducks, and fish. After the service project, we will look closely and examine the invertebrates that call this creek home! Program suitable for volunteers ten and older. Participants must be sixteen or older to volunteer without a guardian present. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6035.  GT Bray Park - 51st Street, North Entrance 


Saturday Sep 18th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - International Coastal Cleanup - Volunteers all over the world are coming together to protect their waterways, and we are inviting you to join us! Get your feet wet and help clean Coquina Beach and Leffis Key. We will be collecting trash and recording our findings for a global impact report. Bring your water shoes and sense of adventure! Suitable for volunteers of all ages Program sponsored by Ocean Conservancy in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167325959449. For more information please visit https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/Coquina Beach and Leffis Key - Bayside entrance, near south boat ramp. 


Saturday Sep 25th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - National Public Lands Day BioBlitz - In celebration of National Public Lands Day, join us for a morning of exploration and learning as we hike to a seldom-visited area of Rye Preserve to document plants and animals using the iNaturalist app. Our submissions will contribute to the Sarasota-Manatee Ecoflora Project, a citizen science initiative that engages Floridians in protecting native species while collecting observations to better inform policy decisions. Suitable for volunteers of all ages. Experience with plant or animal identification is useful, but not required.  Participants should bring a cell phone with a camera. Program sponsored by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167521833313. For more information on the EcoFlora Project please visit https://selby.org/dsc/youth-family-programs/sarasota-manatee-ecoflora-project/. Rye Preserve - Pavilion 


Thursday Sep 30th, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Duette Butterfly Count - Moths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for the sixth annual Duette Butterfly Count and volunteer to keep track of butterfly biodiversity at our largest preserve. Bring your camera, guide books, and sense of adventure for a day out in the wild blue yonder studying these fascinating fliers. Start your very own butterfly checklist while learning how to identify native species. Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by the Wings Over Florida Butterfly Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6035. Duette Preserve 


ONGOING/AS NEEDED: RIP SQUAD VOLUNTEER WORKDAY - Join this group that works directly with County natural areas land managers on various wildlife habitat improvement projects. Email announcements are sent out a few days in advance of each event that detail the purpose, goals, and meeting information for each upcoming event. Program suitable for volunteers age 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email elias.ferrell@mymanatee.org. Location and time TBA - chosen based on need. 


Please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org if you have any questions regarding our programs. 

Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

All individuals who are interested in becoming an ongoing volunteer are welcome to apply to our volunteer program (application below) - we have many different opportunities available!  We need many hands to restore native habitats and keep our preserves beautiful.  Please fill out the volunteer application below or sign up via Volgistics if you are interested in a long-term volunteer commitment.

Current volunteers should log-in to report their hours and sign up for shifts here:

Sign in to Volgistics

Volunteer Application Form