tanglewood nature center and museum

Update Oct. 20th 2020.
The Nature Center is close to the public, due to the increase in COVID19 cases in Chemung County.
When the nature center is closed, we cannot bring volunteers in.
We hope to welcome new volunteers when it is safe to do so!

Please feel welcome to email the volunteer coordinator with any questions.



Get involved by volunteering your time and energy at Tanglewood Nature Center! We have a variety of options for volunteers, from education to cleaning, from animal care to committee work. 

Our current volunteer needs include: 

  • translation! We would like to have information accessible to visitors who read languages other than English. If you're fluent in another language (Spanish, Braille, Italian, Japanese and more!) we would love your help to translate a guide for self-directed learning through our exhibit hall. 
  • gift shop help! We need gift shop greeters on Saturdays (shifts run from 10am-1pm and 1pm-3pm) to answer phones, greet guests, and ring up a few stuffed animal sales. 
  • trail stewards! We need volunteers to hike the trails, report back on conditions, remove fallen limbs, re-paint trail blazes, and help collect litter. This can be done any time of year, any day or time! 

Once the COVID19 situation allows, we always have a need for:

  • community event volunteers! We get invited to hundreds of events a year but can only attend the ones that our volunteers can make it to - we need you to take flyers, kids' activities, and animals and hit the road! These events are mainly on weekends. 
  • education volunteers! We most need help March through June, Tuesday-Friday between 9-11:30am. 

Our volunteer process is:
  1. Submit your volunteering application via email or by mailing a paper copy to Bridget, our Community Relations Manager.
  2. We do a Sex Offender Registry Search on every prospective volunteer to keep our museum visitors safe. This can take between 5-10 business days. Once we receive the results, our volunteer coordinator will review your application to see what your schedule is like, what your interests and skills are, and what you want to get out of volunteering here.
  3. Bridget will get in contact with you to schedule an orientation and get you trained and ready to volunteer!

Youth volunteering: 

We accept volunteers of all ages! Volunteers under the age of 15 need to bring an adult with them (parent, older sibling, etc).  Volunteers 15-18 can volunteer by themselves in non-hazardous roles like animal care, gift shop help, and as Counselors-in-Training during summer camp.  The health department requires CITs to have turned 15 before camp begins.

Group volunteering: 

We can occasionally schedule group volunteering sessions for outdoor work like trail and garden maintenance, or for indoor work like our major fundraising events and for mailings. Please contact Bridget to discuss what your group would like to do!

Court-ordered community service: 

At this time, we do not accept court-ordered community service hours. 


Animal care: 

A few notes on animal care volunteering: feeding, cleaning, and socializing with our animals is a very popular volunteer task. Animal care positions may not be available right away - we tend to have positions open seasonally, as college semesters end or as high school students go back to school in the fall. If this is something you are passionate about, please feel welcome to check back in at another point in the year to see if spaces are available.

Animal care volunteering does have some limitations based on species - only dedicated, conscientious, long-term and Curator-approved volunteers may get to work with the birds of prey, for instance. Our raptor policy is here. (Word docx.)

Internship applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please email your application and a cover letter to our Community Relations Manager at volunteer.tanglewood@gmail.com.
Tanglewood offers students the opportunity to work alongside our staff in three positions: animal care and museum curator, environmental education, and non-profit management. Regretfully, we cannot pay interns at this time. In most cases, students are eligible to receive academic credit with their colleges or universities upon completion of the program, in accordance with the guidelines set by their institutions.
Environmental Education internship:
Candidate should be an undergraduate working towards a degree in environmental studies or science, ecology, biology, education, or another closely related field. Experience or interest in education, and strong verbal communication skills preferred. Position involves assisting with or conducting educational workshops and programs, guided tours, and hikes.  
Non-Profit Management internship:
Candidate should be an undergraduate with an interest in nonprofit management. Candidate must have excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills. Proficiency with Windows, Word, Adobe preferred. This position involves assisting our staff with marketing, fundraising and event planning, participating in membership and other committees as applicable, operating the gift shop and aiding visitors.
Animal Care and Museum Curator internship:
Candidate should be an undergraduate with experience in handling and caring for mammals, reptiles, and/or amphibians. A background in environmental science or studies, ecology, biology, or another loosely related field is preferred. Candidate must be self-directed and highly motivated. This position has duties including cleaning, maintaining and designing museum exhibits, feeding and healthcare for animals, and handling/socializing animals.
Please email Bridget, our Community Relations Manager, if you have any questions about volunteering or internships at Tanglewood.

Eagle Scout Candidates

Thank you for your interest in completing your Eagle Scout project for Tanglewood Nature Center and Museum. We occasionally have appropriate projects ready for Eagle Scouts to take on. To see if we have a project available that suits your talents, please contact Bridget, who is the Volunteer Coordinator. 

Tanglewood asks each Eagle Scout to read and sign our Eagle Scout contract, linked here for your reference. A few highlights:

  • Projects are approved on a first-come, first-served basis. After the Scout has been offered a project idea, it is essential that the Scout contact the Volunteer Coordinator within one month of the offer to either accept or decline. If the Scout does not meet this deadline, the project will be offered to others.
  • Once a Scout has accepted a project, the Scout needs to submit a typed project proposal to the Volunteer Coordinator within 90 days of their acceptance. The proposal must include: a description of the project; a timeline for carrying out the plan; a proposed date of project completion; a list of funding sources; any sketches, drawings, or inspiration photos. This proposal is subject to review and feedback from the Volunteer Coordinator and other Tanglewood staff. 

As a last note for Scouts interested in their Eagle Scout project: please be aware that the Volunteer Coordinator is not available for drop-in visits. Please email or call to schedule all meetings. 


Nature Center and Museum location:
443 Coleman Avenue Elmira NY 14903

Phone: (607) 732-6060

Nature Center and Museum hours: OPEN Tuesday-Friday, 9am-4pm, and Saturday 10am-4pm. CLOSED Sunday-Monday. Trails are open dawn to dusk year-round.

Admission to the Nature Center and Museum is FREE to all. Please consider becoming a member of Tanglewood!

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software