Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas! Being a Heard volunteer has numerous perks and plays a vital role in the museum’s success. Volunteer opportunities are always available and training is provided.
How do I get started?
- Heard volunteer positions can either be long or short in duration. If you wish to volunteer at the Heard on a regular basis, please see the categories in the "Long-term Volunteer" category. If you wish to complete a certain number of service hours, whether required or voluntary, please refer to the "Required Service Hours" category.
- If you are a student who must complete volunteer hours for an organization, see the section below titled "Student Service Volunteer."
- To organize a project for your group that would like to volunteer at the Heard, please see the section below titled "Group Projects."
- If you must complete court mandated community service hours, please see section titled "Court Appointed Volunteer."
- If you'd like to see examples of the kinds of volunteer positions that the Heard frequently needs filled, please see these sample descriptions.
Long-term Volunteer Categories
Potential Adult/General Volunteer
Category description: Adults (or persons age 16 and older) who are interested in volunteering their time and services to The Heard Museum in a volunteer position.
You will need to complete the Volunteer Application Form, along with the Background Authorization Form.
(Please note that you will need to include a copy of the Volunteer Release Forms & Background Authorization. You may scan this form once completed and upload into the online General Volunteer Application Form.)
Prefer to apply by mail? Send a completed General Volunteer Application along with a $7.50 check or money order to: Heard Museum, 1 Nature Place, McKinney, Texas 75069 Attn: Volunteer Coordinator
After processing your paperwork, we will contact you for an informational orientation. At that time, we will work together to determine the best place at the Heard for you to volunteer. Volunteer Coordinator: Laura Ragan firstname.lastname@example.org
Category description: youth (ages 15 and younger) who are interested in volunteering their time and services to the Heard Museum in a volunteer position (rather than a certain number of hours/service project). For service project information, please see "Student Service Volunteer" below.
A youth volunteer must be at least 10 years of age and be accompanied by a parent/guardian until 16 years of age. You will need to complete the Volunteer Application Form, along with the release forms. Adult volunteers must complete the (above).
(Please note that you will need to include a copy of the Youth Volunteer Releases. You may scan this form once completed and upload into the online General Volunteer Application Form.)
Prefer to apply by mail? Mail a completed Youth Volunteer Application to: Heard Museum, 1 Nature Place, McKinney, Texas 75069 Attn: Volunteer Coordinator (Please note that volunteers age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.)
After processing your paperwork, we will contact you to schedule an informational orientation. At that time, we will work together to determine the best place at the Heard for you to volunteer.
Required Service Hours Categories
Student Service Volunteer
Category description: students (up to age 18) seeking an opportunity to fulfill service hour requirements for an organization (including, but not limited to, NHS, NJHS, Green Cord) should complete the Voluntary Student service form, save a copy, and email the completed form to:
Prior to showing up for volunteer service, please wait for email confirmation that you have been added to the schedule. Student service volunteers must be at least 10 years of age and be accompanied by a parent/guardian until 16 years of age. Bring a printed copy of the email confirmation you will receive and a completed Volunteer Release with you. Request to be on the schedule must be submitted by the Tuesday evening (8:00 p.m.) of the week prior to your request. Please note that shifts are limited. We will do our best to accommodate all requests when possible.
Category description: Churches, organizations, businesses, other community service organizations often work with the Heard to provide meaningful team volunteer activities for their group. If you are interested in coordinating a service project for your group, please fill out this form.
Court Mandated Service
Category description: a person who must complete court mandated volunteer hour requirements (no felonies). These are often short term projects. Participants must be 18 years of age. We reserve the right to accept participants ages 15-17, as needed, but they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Please read all of the information below, including the links, before arriving.
Community Service Expectations and Guidelines
Community Service Release Form
Thank you for your interest in our court-mandated community service program! Community Service volunteers are taken on an as-needed basis. Volunteers are taken in the order they arrive each day. We do not take reservations. Arrive at the museum at 8 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, or 1:00 pm, Wednesday and Thursday with your picture ID. If the gate is not yet open, please do not park in front of the driveway of the house by the gate or blocking the gate. Do not park in the spaces close to the museum; leave them for museum visitors.
You must wear long pants, closed toed shoes and a shirt with sleeves and no graphics. Tattoos and piercings must be covered. Smoking is not allowed. The work we need done varies from day to day, as do the number of hours for which we need people. Much of the work is outdoors.
Please do not call the museum front desk as they do not have any additional information. If you would like to hear a recording of this information, please call 972-562-5566 extension 300.
Here are examples of positions that are often available year round.
Badge Workshop Leaders
Lead fun and interactive nature activities for Scouting Flying Wild Teachers groups on Saturdays. The Heard is looking for individuals who interact well with children and adults, are comfortable as group leaders and are excited about nature.
Bird Banding Team
Help collect critical research data from migrating birds.
Volunteer as a Museum Docent at the Heard. Docents are special volunteers who represent The Heard and serve the public while answering questions on site, giving tours, helping with children's groups and serving as ambassadors in other ways. Docents are needed seven days a week, but especially Thursday – Sunday, to guide visitors and youth through the exhibit and answer questions.
Field Trip Facilitator
The Heard is seeking volunteers to greet visitors, answer onsite questions, and make recommendations for self-guided field trips, primarily on weekdays. Training is provided including a general knowledge of the trails and current exhibits.
Native Plant Garden
Help with the care and maintenance of our two-acre Native Plant Garden.
Nature Sanctuary Restoration
Help the Heard Staff maintain the trails, prairies and forests in the sanctuary.
Nature Store/Front Desk
The Nature Store is a great place to be if you enjoy meeting people and have an interest in retail sales. This is a busy area, especially during events.
Computer data entry and general office projects are available Monday- Friday.
Ropes Course Volunteer
Perfect for outdoor adventure enthusiasts! Help groups learn about trust, communication, teamwork and more! Volunteers must enjoy working with kids and adults. No experience necessary.
Events require many volunteers throughout the year.
Trail guides are needed throughout the year to lead groups and individuals on nature trails. No experience is required; training is provided.
Live Animal Caregiver
An Animal Care Attendant will assist Animal Curation staff in daily animal care. The responsibilities vary with current needs of Curation staff and the season of the year. The primary purpose of the position is to provide for the care and basic needs of animals that are being housed in the Animals of the World Exhibit and the indoor exhibit/education animals. This is not a position in the Education Department. Strict compliance with all rules and regulations regarding permits and licensing required by USDA/Aphis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife is mandatory.
Responsibilities include daily food preparation and delivery, as well as observation of animal appearance and activity for general physical condition. Thorough cleaning and sanitizing of animal living quarters and other areas of the exhibit are required as often as necessary. Cleaning of work area (sweeping, mopping and counter sanitation), in addition to maintenance and storage of all equipment and tools used in job assignments is also expected.
The Heard Natural Science Museum is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit corporation. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please see your tax advisor for all applicable rules.