Even though the big animals like elk, moose, bear, and mountain lion get most of the media attention, it’s birds that dominate our ecosystems (493 species of birds live in Colorado). Just ask the Audubon Society of Greater Denver, which has studied and protected Colorado’s bird population for 43 years. Better yet, become an Audubon Naturalist. Naturalists teach school programs and lead hikes and programs at the Audubon Nature Center at Chatfield State Park. They also lead events like Walk the Wetlands (a free family bird walk), Little Fledglings (birding for ages three to six), and Wildlife and Wine (we like this one already).

Naturalists must complete 70 hours of training, so it’s a commitment. But in return, you get training taught by experts in their fields. If you took these classes at a college level, you’d shell out big bucks. But if you sign on for 40 hours of volunteer work with ASGD, the entire series of classes is just $350 (plus, you’ll get a $100 rebate once the hours are completed).

Training starts January 16 and runs through April 6, with classes once a week and one day every other weekend. At the end, you’ll be a bona fide Audubon Naturalist.

Other volunteer positions (that don’t require as much of a time investment) include gardening, office positions, fundraising, and maintenance. Contact Emily Hertz at ehertz@denveraudubon.org or call 303-973-9530 for more information.

Get Involved: Find out more about how you can help here.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock