Field Programs Volunteer Guide

Thank you so much for choosing to volunteer with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP)! We want to do our best to provide volunteers with a safe, educational, and enriching experience, so please read the following before attending a volunteer event.

 

You can find all volunteer opportunities here on our website and on our Golden Volunteer Page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

CONTACT INFORMATION

KAITLIN MARTIN: Education and Stewardship Coordinator | kaitlin@gsenm.org | (406) 431-0218

NEAK LOUCKS: Education Programs Manager |  neak@gsenm.org | (435) 612-2418 or (406) 214-6984

Sections

  • Inclusion
  • Introductions and Orientation
  • Volunteer Program Scope
  • What to Bring With You, Safety
  • COVID-19 Precautions
  • Where to Meet
  • Travel/Carpooling
  • Dogs, Feedback
  • Volunteer Perks
  • Stay Informed
  • Other Ways to Support GSEP

Inclusion

Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is committed to fostering an equitable and inclusive environment in our workplace and across GSENM. We recognize the complex and difficult histories that have shaped American public lands, from dispossession of Native lands and forced removal of indigenous communities to create public lands and parks, to the ongoing exclusion of people of color from conservation and preservation movements. We acknowledge that the area known as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and its surrounding areas are the ancestral land and historical territory of the Hopi, Zuni, Dine/Navajo, San Juan Southern Paiute, Kaibab Paiute, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Acoma nations. As we carry out our work in conservation and education, we strive to ensure that:

  • Indigenous history and diverse perspectives are elevated in the story of GSENM. Learn on this topic here.
  • We empower communities that have been marginalized and have not historically benefitted from public lands.
  • We strive to transform GSENM into a place where all people not only have equal access to, but also feel safe and welcome to connect with the land, learn, visit and recreate.
  • Our organization operates inclusively and equitably, both internally and in broader relations with other organizations and individuals.
  • We are on a journey to transform our work–to foster diversity through equitable actions that create a just and inclusive environment, within and beyond our organization.
  • Learn more about how we are integrating justice, equity, and inclusion into our work.

We’re open to hearing how volunteer spaces can be made more inclusive to you or others.

Introductions and Orientation

  • Prior to your event you will receive an email with information about your specific trip. We will also contact you if we are missing any necessary forms.
  • Each trip will have a meeting place and time. If our meeting place is the GSEP Escalante Headquarters, we are happy to offer tea and coffee in the mornings — please bring your own reusable mug!
  • We will do participant introductions at the start of the day to help everyone get to know each other.
    • One of our practices at the start of volunteer events to create an inclusive community space is to introduce ourselves to the group and share the pronouns that we would like to have used when others are identifying us in this space. Examples of pronouns are “she, her, hers,” “he, him, his,” and “they, them, theirs.” For example Jane Doe may introduce herself by saying “Hi, my name is Jane, and I use the pronouns she/her.” We share pronouns because you can’t always assume what pronouns people use by their appearance or name, and using someone’s correct pronouns is a great way to help others feel included and seen. We ask everyone who is comfortable sharing their pronouns to do so even if you feel your pronouns are obvious to others, as it helps normalize the practice. If you forget someone’s pronouns during the course of your trip, no sweat — you can always politely ask someone what their pronouns are.

Volunteer Program Scope

While doing volunteer projects with Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, you may be approached by curious visitors. They may ask you what you are doing and why, and they may also ask you for area and hiking information. In most cases, you can just explain that you are a volunteer and direct them to the GSEP staff person/trip leader with you. If visitors ask you for your opinion on the Monument boundaries, lawsuits, or other political topics, you should explain that these discussions are outside the scope of your role as a volunteer. You should not discuss political issues any time that you are engaged in a volunteer activity.

What to Bring With You

Most of our volunteer opportunities are where we all want to be: outside and on the Monument!  The weather and terrain we will be traveling through can be difficult, so it is important to be prepared. For field-based volunteer events please bring the following:

  • A backpack: something big enough to carry your belongings for the day and some spare room to carry group gear/tools.
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat.
  • Hiking clothing: wear clothes that you can hike in, including comfortable hiking shoes. You will probably get sweaty and muddy, so make sure the clothes you pick are appropriate.
    • For trail work and invasive species removal programs please:
      • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and close toed shoes.
      • Work gloves will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.
    • For graffiti removal programs please: 
      • Wear clothes that are durable and cover your skin, we may be in slot canyons where rubbing along the canyon walls can be abrasive to clothes and your skin.
      • Work gloves will be provided, but feel free to bring your own.
  • Rain gear and extra layers: bring a rain jacket and an extra layer in case the weather changes. Gloves, a warm hat, and rain pants are also recommended.
  • Food: depending on the duration of the event, you may need to bring lunch and snacks, just make sure you have enough to keep you energized.
  • Water: bring at least 2 liters of water for half day trips and 3-4 liters of water for full day trips.  
    • For graffiti removal programs please bring an extra liter of water to aid with chalk removal.
  • Medication: bring any medications you may need for the day (i.e. asthma inhaler, epi pen, etc.).
  • If you need any of the gear listed, please contact Kaitlin Martin and she will make sure that you are ready for the day.  All tools/equipment needed to perform the volunteer task(s) will be provided by GSEP, including work gloves.

Safety

GSEP’s field leaders have a Wilderness First Responder Certification and will be carrying a comprehensive first aid kit. They will also be carrying a Garmin In-Reach communication device that will let them contact emergency services if needed. GSEP staff will always check the weather the morning of the event, so plans may change accordingly.

If you do not feel comfortable at any point for any reason during the event, please speak to the trip leader. Your concerns will be taken seriously and we will do what we can to alleviate the situation.

Please make sure that your profile is filled out on Golden with emergency contact information, pertinent medical history, and allergies (food, environmental, etc.).  You can update or fill out this information by:

  • Going to the Golden Website for volunteers 
  • Login to the website
    • If you do not have an account yet, follow the steps to create one. If you were added to a trip by the GSEP coordinators and do not have a password yet, follow the “Forgot Password” links to set up a password.
  • In the upper right hand corner, you should see your initials or “undefined.” Click on that icon.
  • Go to My Account and fill in all of the information, then click “Save Changes” at the bottom.
  • If you need some more help with Golden, you can find some tips and tricks here

COVID-19 Precautions

We require that everyone that attends our in-person volunteer programs is fully vaccinated. When attending an in-person event for the first time, please bring your vaccination card or a photo or copy of it. If you cannot get vaccinated for valid medical reasons, please notify Kaitlin Martin at kaitlin@gsenm.org and we will ensure that we take appropriate steps in keeping you and others safe (i.e. wearing masks at all times, even when outside).

We are also requiring that volunteers wear masks when in an enclosed space like buildings and vehicles. We will also encourage social distancing when outside and will require volunteers to wear masks when social distancing is impossible outside (i.e. working within close proximity, <6 ft).

Please review our guidelines for COVID-19 protocols for our programs. The most up to date version can be viewed with this link: GSEP COVID-19 Program Policies.

Where to Meet

Escalante based programs will meet at the GSEP Office at 530 West Main Street, Escalante, UT, unless otherwise specified in the post-registration Golden instructions. The office has parking, water, bathroom facilities and meeting space. Coffee and tea will be provided in the morning before events, so please bring a reusable mug.

Kanab based programs will meet at different locations based on the event and the amount of participants. Please refer back to the event announcement or your email for details. Coffee and tee may be provided based on the location.

Travel/Carpooling

Please be prepared to drive your own vehicle.  Trip leaders may be able to take some volunteers with them in a GSEP vehicle, and we will do our best to carpool among volunteers.  Some programs, like graffiti removal in Peek-a-boo and Spooky Canyons, are several miles down Hole In The Rock road, which is a rough, washboard dirt road.  Vehicles with good suspension are highly recommended.  Please contact Kaitlin Martin if you cannot drive your own vehicle.

We will also only carpool if people are comfortable with driving others. Please refer to our GSEP COVID-19 Program Policies regarding traveling in vehicles with other people.

Dogs

We encourage you to leave your dog at home so that you are able to fully focus on the volunteer task at hand. Dogs that experience anxiety and/or are reactive/aggressive toward other dogs or people must stay home. If you do bring your dog, they must be controlled in accordance with rules for that area and you must carry out their waste. If you feel strongly about not having dogs along on your volunteer event (due to allergy, fear, etc.), please contact Kaitlin Martin.

Feedback

We would love to hear about your experience volunteering with GSEP! Please fill out a survey to let us know how we can improve, all answers are anonymous. You can also contact Kaitlin Martin (kaitlin@gsenm.org) directly to leave feedback.

Volunteer Perks

Those that complete a volunteer event with GSEP will receive a special Volunteer Sticker and a one time discount code to the GSEP store. They will also receive discounts to some businesses in the town of Escalante. Once a volunteer has logged 25 hours of volunteering with GSEP, they will also receive a volunteer t-shirt.

Stay Informed

If you would like to be kept up to date with our volunteer programming, you can sign up for the “Interest in Grand Staircase Escalante Volunteer Programs” opportunity in Golden. We will send out a monthly email to this group with details and links for all of our upcoming volunteer events!

Other Ways to Support GSEP

Help from afar! No matter where you are, you can help GSEP and the National Monument by:

  • Donate! Help support more volunteer programs, conservation, science, and education in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  You can donate to GSEP at our website
  • Review us on Google: help us stand out online by Googling “Grand Staircase Escalante Partners” and then click “leave a review” on our Google Page
  • Sign up for our Newsletter: scroll down to the bottom of any page of our website and sign up! 
  • Follow us on Social Media

Contact your representatives: make sure that the people that represent you know that you care about public lands, conservation, science, education, and Grand Staircase-Escalante!  You can look up your representative’s contact information here.

Become a Volunteer Today

If you are interested in staying in the loop about volunteer events, you can sign up for this opportunity by clicking the button below. When you are registered, we will send out a monthly email to those in the group about upcoming opportunities!

 

Register to Volunteer Today