Shenandoah’s volunteer program is a powerful force that provides vital support and creates enthusiastic advocates for the park’s mission. Each year, approximately 700 volunteers donate more than 42,000 hours of their time to the park – an effort worth an astonishing $1.2 million in services and a priceless investment in building community connections. Volunteers perform backcountry patrols, wildlife surveys, astronomy and other interpretive programs, geologic research, and archaeological work. Our funding helps cover the cost of supplies, housing, uniforms, and vehicles, as well as the staff integral to coordinating this key program. 

Project Title: Volunteer and Youth Project Lead

Project Purpose: to provide knowledgeable, hands-on support to volunteer conservation crews, corporate groups, youth groups, and large volunteer organizations.

Project Goals:

  • to enable the volunteer program to increase its capacity to establish new partnerships and initiatives by leveraging youth crews, interns, and other community resources
  • to plan and coordinate volunteer events, including Show Your Love for Shenandoah
  • to coordinate the Artist-in-Residence program, Shenandoah Youth Corps, Groundwork RVA, Art 180, SoulTrak, and other groups.

Project Impact: The Volunteer and Youth Project Lead will amplify efforts in conservation, inclusivity, and collaboration. Projects, groups, and crews coordinated and lead by the Volunteer and Youth Lead will contribute many thousands of hours of conservation work, 51,000 hours in 2023, to preserve and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the park. The Lead will continue to collaborate and build new relationships with groups to welcome youth from historically underrepresented groups in the park for education, recreation, and service events. They will emphasize involvement from all members of groups, encouraging individuals to bring their full selves to the parkThe Lead will encourage communication and collaboration with many groups who contribute to the conservation of Shenandoah National Park including the Appalachian Conservation Corps (ACC) and Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). These collaborations permit expertise exchange, efficiently utilize resources, and welcome many new perspectives to the park 

Project Funding: $101,243 in FY25 and $106,171 in FY26

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Help us keep bears wild!

Keeping bears wild starts with keeping them away from human food sources. The most effective way to do that is through bear-proof storage lockers, or “bear boxes.” Right now, only 63% of the park’s campsites have a bear box at the site, leaving nearly 140 campsites without safe food storage. The Trust has committed to making that 100% by funding the purchase and installation of these boxes at every single campsite in Shenandoah National Park. 

A black bear peeks around a tree.   

Each box comes with a $2,000 price tag, and the Trust has set a goal of raising $280,000 to purchase and install the remaining 138 boxes, ensuring that visitors stay safe, and bears stay wild.