FIELD VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, BEGINNING NOVEMBER 15, 2022!
Come defend the buffalo by joining us on the frontlines. You can be part of an elite group of buffalo defenders! We are proud to have facilitated the participation of over 6,000 volunteers from across the Unites States and around the world. Each has joined us on the frontlines and actively helped to save the last wild herds of buffalo.
We accept volunteers year-round and have active projects every year from November through August. The months most crucial to buffalo protection and when we need the most help are February, March, and April.
All volunteers will be provided with free housing, meals, and any necessary gear.
During our Field Season (November-June) we conduct daily patrols to monitor the buffalo migration corridors, collect data, and publicize any threats to the population.
During our Summer Season (June-August) we focus on public outreach and tabling; setting up and running information booths, inside Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area.
Buffalo Field Campaign is the only buffalo protection group living and working in the Yellowstone Ecosystem full time. We are on patrols every single day during our field season. Our patrols are defending the buffalo in their critical, native, migratory habitat in Montana. BFC documents every threat to our national mammal.
Every potential volunteer must understand that Buffalo Field Campaign is an indigenous founded and indigenous led organization. We recognize and support tribal treaty law and treaty-reserved rights, especially in regards to the buffalo. Promoting and strengthening indigenous voices’ is a central pillar of our organization’s philosophy. Only through indigenous leadership can we hope to rehabilitate our ecosystems and improve biodiversity.
Due to the amount of training and experience for volunteers to have a comprehensive understanding of Buffalo Field Campaign projects, we require a minimum commitment of 2 weeks with preference to additional time.
YOU MUST CONTACT US BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR PLANS TO VOLUNTEER
Consider joining history and become a BFC Volunteer. The future of the last continuously wild buffalo population in the United States depends on you!
Field Season (November 2022 - June 2023)
Field Volunteers Needed Beginning November 15, 2022!
Defend the buffalo by joining us on the frontlines. You can be part of an exceptional team of buffalo defenders! We are proud to have facilitated the participation of over 6,000 volunteers from across the United States and around the world. Come to our beautiful basecamp in West Yellowstone, Montana to join our essential field volunteers!
Some of the activities you will be participating in during the Field Season
- Field Patrols : Driving, hiking, and cross-country skiing to monitor buffalo migration. We collect data and document activity to provide the public with updates on the ground
- Office Work : Answer phone calls, supporter relations, data entry, and miscellaneous office tasks
- Maintenance : Assist in structure, vehicle, and facility maintenance projects
- General : Clearing snow, cutting wood, cooking, cleaning, inventory management, and other season duties
Volunteers should be comfortable with circumstances including but not limited to; extended wilderness outings, possible wildlife interactions, intense cold weather, and communal living. While we suggest applicants have decent physical fitness, we are willing to accommodate physical disabilities or any other condition that may limit your participation as a volunteer.
While it may get cold here in the winter, that shouldn’t deter you from joining us! We will provide you with all of the gear you need to stay warm on patrols. Plus, there’s always our cozy log cabin kept warm by wood stoves to come back to.
The opportunities for cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and plenty of other winter activities are among the best in the world! We patrol every day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun too!
Please click the links below to complete our volunteer documents online:
- Click here to fill out the BFC Camp Volunteer Application
- Click here to fill out the BFC Volunteer Agreement
Or print our volunteer documents and either:
- Mail them back to us at:
Buffalo Field Campaign, Volunteer
PO Box 957
West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
- Click here to download the BFC Camp Volunteer Application (PDF)
- Click here to download the BFC Volunteer Agreement (PDF)
Have any questions about volunteering? Please contact us:
- Address: PO Box 957, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758
- Phone: 406-646-0070
All volunteers are provided room, board, external cold/wet-weather gear, and appropriate training. We respect vegan and vegetarian diets, but not everyone on the team eats this way. We are located in a rustic log cabin by beautiful Hebgen Lake, just a few miles outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. If you are flying or taking a bus into Bozeman in winter or spring, and will need a ride to camp, please plan to arrive on a Thursday when we make our weekly supply runs. Travel logistics should be discussed directly with BFC’s volunteer coordinator
(Directions to Base Camp, PDF)
Again: You must contact us before you make your plans to volunteer. When you arrive, you will be greeted by our volunteer coordinator who will help get you settled in. There is a required orientation session and training period to familiarize you with camp and allow us to assess your abilities and determine how your skills can be used to most effectively help protect the buffalo. There are many jobs to be done: patrols, cabin projects, public education projects; we have a long list. Patrols are done from cars, skis, or snowshoes. If you do not know how to ski or snowshoe, do not fret. We will teach you.
ABOUT LIVING AT CAMP - CABIN LIFE
BFC volunteers live in the cabin here in West Yellowstone and are provided with meals. The log cabin is warm and cozy with plenty of sleeping lofts and floor space if it’s really crowded. The view from any direction is incredible—to the front is Hebgen Lake and the Madison Range of the Rocky Mountains.
The cabin backs up to beautiful Gallatin National Forest, where ravens, elk, and coyotes (to name but a few of our neighbors) abound. It is a magnificent place to call home (and explore!).
Volunteers are encouraged to solicit food donations from their communities and to bring food to the Campaign. We provide vegetarian and vegan cooking, and wild game when available for meat eaters.
There are many activities besides going on patrol that make BFC run. There’s always something to do that will fit your skills and talent. When you’ve got down time, there are plenty of books, decks of cards, and games...and outdoors there are endless opportunities for wildlife watching, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
A DAY-IN-THE-LIFE OF CAMP VOLUNTEERS
Camp life begins about an hour before sunrise to give volunteers time to wake up, get ready, and be in position in the field with the buffalo by first light.
Morning patrol volunteers arise during the dark of the morning, enjoy breakfast and then head out to stand with the buffalo until mid-day. At that point, shift-change takes place, and afternoon patrols take over the posts standing watch over the buffalo.
Afternoon patrols stay out until dark. When they get home, a hot yummy dinner awaits the entire camp.
Once everyone is gathered together, we share a meal and have our nightly meeting. These meetings allow us to review the day’s events and set up the next day’s patrols.
ABOUT FIELD PATROLS
Volunteers are asked to go on an average of five to six patrols a week, depending on how many buffalo are out of the park, how many volunteers we have in camp, and how many patrols we have in the field.
Each patrol is equipped with a two-way radio and a video camera. If Montana’s Department of Livestock (DOL) comes to kill or harass buffalo, we are in position and ready to document their every action. One of our goals is to help people around the world to see for themselves what really goes on out here: animal cruelty, wasted tax money, and an unabashed bias toward the livestock industry.
During the day while patrols are out, other volunteers remain behind to help with clean-up, cooking, radios, office work, buffalo advocacy and art, splitting wood, mending gear, video editing, vehicle maintenance, writing, and countless other tasks that benefit the buffalo. Everyone shares in the daily chores.
Despite the cold weather and our serious focus: It all works out incredibly well most of the time, and we are glad to say that BFC volunteers end up forming bonds that will never be broken. The buffalo bring us together and keep us together. It is for them that we are here, and it is through them that we gain our strength to carry on the crucial work of their defense. BFC is committed to nonviolent principles and does not support or condone violence of any sort; the atmosphere in our camp and our long-term coordinators all reflect this. In support of this overarching policy, all volunteers must agree to and sign our Behavioral Policy document (PDF).
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
If you are from a warmer area (you probably are) and are not equipped to dress for one of the coldest spots in the country, don't fret, we have equipment that you can borrow while you are here. Please remember that out here while you’re on patrol: COTTON KILLS! We strongly advise you to bring wool, wool, and more wool clothing. Synthetic fibers also work well. You can bring cotton for when you’re hanging out in the cabin if that’s what you’re comfortable wearing.
A partial list of gear you’ll need:
- Sleeping bag
- Long underwear: tops and bottoms. Again: no cotton!!! Bring polypropylene or wool long underwear!
- Wool (socks, sweaters, pants, etc.)
- Boots (water-proof), with a liner is best
- A day pack (for snacks, water, and gear)
- Warm hat and gloves or mittens
- Polar fleece or insulated ski pants (wool pants work just as well and are cheaper)
- Personal first aid kit (if you can)
- Flash light or headlamp
- MOST IMPORTANT: desire to save the buffalo!!
If you are not able to bring all of these things, please don't let that stop you from coming here to protect buffalo. We have a lot of gear that is available for you to borrow during your stay.
BEFORE YOU COME
You can begin to help the buffalo before you leave your hometown!
There might be stores in your area that would like to donate to the Campaign. It always helps when we have more food, winter gear, cross country skis etc. We are a nonprofit and their donations are tax deductible.
We sometimes require volunteers to stay a minimum of two weeks because it takes so long to get you integrated into the campaign—and it takes us time to properly train you, and for you to become acclimated.
BFC has a No New Dog Policy. Because of past problems and conflicts, as well as respecting the wildlife that lives near us, we cannot let new volunteers bring dogs. We love dogs and have no personal problems with them, but we have no choice. This cabin is the only home we have and if we lose it, we have no place to go. If you come here with your dog you will be required to leave.
HOW TO GET HERE: click here for information on how to get to camp (PDF).
If you plan on coming, let us know ahead of time so we’re ready for your arrival—and remember that we must have all three documents listed above on file for you (along with your state-issued identification) before you can become active.
We can’t wait to meet you. The buffalo await your help; see you soon!
More Volunteering Opportunites:
Summer Season In Yellowstone National Park
Education and Outreach in Your Neighborhood
CAN’T COME TO CAMP? WHY NOT ADOPT A BFC VOLUNTEER and help someone else protect buffalo?!
It costs us about $25 per person to feed and house a volunteer for a week.
Please make your donation at least this amount to keep our patrols fed and housed and in the field!