Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in helping the Coastal Watershed Council as we create healthy watersheds connected to vibrant communities here in Santa Cruz County. CWC’s volunteer opportunities are family-friendly, available as team-building opportunities for your workplace and teach you something new about your environment each time you participate.

Water Quality Monitoring

CWC offers a number of water quality monitoring programs throughout the year. You’ll be trained by a professional water quality scientist to take field measurements and collect water samples for laboratory analysis following EPA protocols. Data collected is used by resource agencies, local governments and community groups to address sources of pollution and take action to protect and improve the health of our local streams. Water quality monitoring programs include:

  • Spring – Snapshot Day happens on the 1st Saturday in May each year in Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Mateo and San Luis Obispo Counties.
  • Summer – Urban Watch monitors urban pollutants on Soquel Creek from June to September every year.
  • Fall – First Flush is an annual event that happens during the first significant rainfall of the year. Training is in September and volunteers are mobilized whenever the first rain soaks us!

Learn More


If you’re looking to dive into the world of watersheds, gain skills for a career in an environmental or non-profit field and create cleaner, healthier watersheds in Santa Cruz, consider an internship with the Coastal Watershed Council.

Learn more

Community Engagement

If you like talking to people about the natural world that surrounds us, this is the opportunity for you. You’ll learn from Coastal Watershed Council staff how we’re improving local watersheds and you’ll share key information about your watershed with friends, neighbors, and the Santa Cruz community. By volunteering your time at local events you can expand the number of people who are part of the solution to pollution.

Watershed Ranger

If you love kids and love protecting the environment, consider becoming a Watershed Ranger volunteer. CWC is looking for energetic individuals interested in working with students in environmental education. CWC leads experiential learning activities with students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Volunteers will help supervise, teach and inspire students during classroom and outdoor activities. Training will be provided so experience is not necessary but volunteers should have a comfort level working with kids.

Learn More

Riverwalk Usage Study

In just 30 minutes, once per month, you can make a big impact on the future of Santa Cruz’s public spaces like the Santa Cruz Riverwalk. As a Riverwalk Usage Study volunteer you visit the Santa Cruz Riverwalk and record what you see.  This study builds knowledge around how the Santa Cruz community uses the Riverwalk and how it can be improved for everyone to enjoy. The time commitment is only 30 minutes, once per month. Scheduling is flexible and you can help out on the day of your choice – either a Thursday, Saturday or Sunday – once per month from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Learn More

River Health Days

Join CWC and local native plant experts for the River Health Day series each fall. During River Health Day events, you will be trained to identify and remove invasive species of plants along the San Lorenzo River in San Lorenzo Park. Removing invasive species allow native plants and the animals that rely on them to thrive. Space is limited for these unique hands-on experiences.

Learn More