The Insectarium can thrive thanks to our amazing volunteers. Volunteers at the Insectarium come from all walks of life, from UM students helping between classes, to retirees assisting with field trips on week days, to working parents hosting the Encounter Cart on weekends. Volunteers come with a range of experience, whether it’s a background in wildlife biology or a great curiosity and desire to learn more about insects and their relatives. Volunteers help with a variety of activities here at the Insectarium. Whether you’re interested in education or animal care (or anything in-between!), there is a role for you!
Types of Volunteer Opportunities
Educational Programs are a large part of what we do here at the Insectarium. Whether it’s field trips, special events, the encounter cart or any other of the many programs we offer to the community, we need a good team of volunteers to help teach and manage our students and programs. As an Education Volunteer, you’ll get to play with kids and bugs, learn something new every time you visit, make new human and bug friends, and more. No entomology experience required, come excited and passionate and we’ll fill in whatever you need to know!
If you have a good attention to detail and a background in biology, veterinary science or animal care, and are interested to learn about how we keep our animals fed, happy and healthy, we want to hear from you! Animal Care volunteers help Erin, our Live Collections Manager, feed, water and clean.
Scheduling Profile: Flexible, please let us know your availability.
Behind the Scenes Support
We’re always looking for help on a range of projects. Are you tech savvy with a lot of social media experience? Can you appreciate the importance of stuffing envelopes or folding new brochures? Do you have woodworking skills and spare time? There are a range of projects for those interested in things other than animal care or education. Please let us know if you have a special skill you want to put to work for us or just have a general wish to help in whatever capacity is needed.
There is no need to have your PhD in entomology or education to volunteer at the Insectarium, just a passion for what we do and a willingness to learn. You will get a few stages of training before we set you loose to lead any program or event independently. You will get full training on every aspect of the role(s) you are interested in. For Encounter Cart Volunteers, for example, we’ll train on how to safely handle our friendly Bug Ambassadors, how to help guests do the same and on all fun facts we share with guests at this table. Training starts with a shift sitting with our expert Encounter Cart staff Madeleine.
If you’re already signed up as a volunteer, visit our Volunteer Resources Page to access lesson plans, teaching guides and more. This page is password protected. Please reach out to Carolyn if you can’t remember the password!
If any of these opportunities pique your interest, please take a moment to fill out our Volunteer Application here. This will help us better understand how you would like to volunteer your time and how we can effectively utilize your skills and interests.
Name: Jenny Taber
Occupation: Retired Oncology Nurse
Profile: Jenny, a New Zealand native, is a retired nurse who moved to Missoula in 1978. After retiring from a 50 year nursing career Jenny now enjoys adventuring with her girlfriends, skiing and biking, playing with her two young grandkids and volunteering with us!
Favorite Bug Ambassador: Blue Beetles
Favorite Kid Moment: After going to Chief Charlo’s Science Night last week, Jenny returned and excitedly told us about a little girl who was so nervous to hold our Blue Beetles. She gradually worked her way up from touching its back to holding the beetle. Jenny said that the look of pride on her face was just priceless!