Wildlands Restoration Volunteers

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Leadership & Training Program

At its core WRV is a volunteer led organization. Success of the organization is due to dedicated volunteers who manage projects, work on projects, cook for projects, and design restoration solutions for projects.  Some bring skills from their day jobs, past experience or from other organizations.  Others get involved and learn on the job.  WRV has developed and deployed a series of leadership training courses, instituted a mentoring program, and provides ongoing feedback and skill enhancement opportunities for anyone who is interested in playing a leadership role. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY; desire to be a leader is the only requirement.

Leadership Training
Every project WRV undertakes has a Project Team that plans, organizes and executes the project. The Project Leader coordinates the team of leaders through the entire project lifecycle relying on each person to perform their tasks. All leadership positions are supported by role-specific descriptions and role-specific training.

Follow this link to find out about training opportunities

Youth Leadership
WRV is committed to inspiring the next generation of land stewards. Click here to find out about opportunites for youth leadership.

Coaching and Mentoring
Volunteers who want to move up into leadership positions are paired with an experienced project leader. While serving in the “assistant position”, trainees observe, take on specific assignments and learn the ropes of running a WRV project.  Attend the training session of your choice and we'll get you started!

Training in Technical and Leader Skills
WRV continually searches for additional training sessions for its members -  Technical restoration skills, Project Management skills, Communication Skills, Botany Skills; all are available for little or no charge.

Build your skills.  Make a contribution.  WRV makes it easy!

More about WRV Leader Roles

Project Leader
Technical Advisor
Lead Cook / Support Cook
Tool Manager
Crew Leader
Other Team Roles

Wildlands Restoration Volunteers depends upon many dedicated volunteers to complete over seventy stewardship projects on public lands each year.  Most WRV projects are managed by a leadership team that includes a project leader, technical advisor, lead cook, support cooks, tool manager and other key roles.  It’s the project leader’s job to ensure that all aspects of a project are taken care of prior to the project event.  The project leader works with the project leadership team, other agency staff, and WRV staff, but they are the single person with the comprehensive “big picture” view of the project.  A good project leader takes full advantage of the talents of the project team.  They don’t do all the work, but they see that it gets done.

Specific requirements and challenges will vary from project to project.  The project leader needs to anticipate the project needs and plan for them proactively.  This ability grows out of a history of varied experiences with a variety of different types of projects.   

Project Leader

Description: The Project Leader (PL) takes responsibility for project planning, oversight and execution.  S/he leads and facilitates a team of skilled volunteer leaders to ensure successful project completion and an excellent volunteer experience.

The PL contributes vision and logistical management to the Project Team.  S/he sees the “big picture” of project needs and, through effective communication, facilitation, coordination, delegation, and proactive planning ensures that the Project Team completes all steps necessary to plan, implement and document a successful project.  The PL has a special interest in ensuring that the members of her/his team, and all volunteers attending the project, have a great volunteer experience.  


  • Serve as primary liaison between Project Team and WRV Staff Lead (WSL)
  • Obtain and compile all project documentation from previous, or similar projects.
  • Facilitate communication among Project Team members (Technical Advisor(s), Tool Manager(s), Crew Leaders, Cooks, etc.); schedule and facilitate planning meetings as needed; build team spirit
  • Act as liaison with Agency Contact (AC) regarding project logistics, and coordinate with AC and TA to create a logistics plan and schedule
  • Recruit additional team members as necessary, with support from WSL
  • With Technical Advisor, determine number of volunteers needed to accomplish project and communicate WSL, who will oversee recruitment
  • Prepare “Project Information” notes and any other communication for distribution to volunteers by WSL
  • Coordinate educational talks, social gatherings, or other enrichment activities to be held on project day/weekend, as appropriate. 
  • Oversee project day logistics to ensure successful work and positive volunteer experience
  • Document hours of all project team volunteers and record in WRV database
  • Schedule and facilitate project debrief discussion, and provide project and completed documentation to WSL

Background or qualifications:  PLs should have strong organizational, planning and communication skills. Experience planning some type of project or event required. Previous experience as a certified WRV crew leader and tool manager preferred.
Training/Preparation: Prospective PLs should attend several WRV projects before taking a leadership role, and will preferably have experience as a crew leader on a project similar to the one s/he is interested in leading.  Ideally, PLs will complete the COTI/WRV Ecological Restoration Crew Leadership training and the WRV Project Leadership training prior to leading a project.  WRV offers additional training opportunities in project management, group facilitation, and other topics. 
Time / Place: PLs facilitate 1-3 Project Team meetings prior to the project; attend one or more site visits; participate in the Crew Leader Orientation, and conduct a debrief meeting after the project is complete. The PL arrives at the project site before volunteers and can expect to leave after all volunteers have departed.

Commitment:  Lead, or mentor a new PL on, at least one project per year.  May contribute to training and mentoring new PLs.  May attend WRV organizational planning meetings.

Over-sight: PLs work with the Technical Advisor, WRV Staff, crew leaders, project support/cooks, tool manager(s), land management agency staff, and volunteers. The WSL and PL coordinate to oversee the project.
Measures of success: Clearly documented communication approach. Successfully completed work on project day; project volunteers welcomed, included and encouraged to participate in other projects, returning; project team members feel successful; “lessons learned” passed on to future project team.  PL enjoyed themselves and want to be a PL again.

Technical Advisor

Description: The Technical Advisor (TA) is a bridge between WRV and the land management agency for the technical aspects of the project.

Objectives: The TA works with agency to co-create and/or clarify the technical goals of a project, and then creates a work plan for the project and effectively communicates the technical needs of the project to the crew leaders.


  • The TA translates the scope of work into a project plan that includes: determining the number of volunteers, crew assignments, and a recommended tool list.
  • The TA communicates the technical requirements of the project to the project team and crew leaders through a crew leader orientation and technical notes.
  • The TA serves as the technical liaison between WRV and the land management agency.
  • The TA is frequently responsible for project related design work.
  • A TA may be selected for a specific project based on their subject matter or design related experience in a specific field such as ecological restoration, trails, or construction.
  • The TA coordinates the work on project day.
  • The TA ensures the project is completed to the standards of the agency and WRV.
  • The TA may have ATA helpers, which may need to be mentored.

Background or qualifications: It is suggested that anyone desiring to be a TA should be a qualified crew leader.  It is also helpful to have a background in resource management, habitat restoration, botany, erosion control, ecology, hydrology, landscape architecture or trail work but is not mandatory.

Training/Preparation: Anyone desiring to be a TA should attend projects of the type for which they want to be a TA, become an assistant TA and attend any TA training class that WRV offers.  New ATAs are matched with a TA mentor to enhance the learning experience.

Time / Place: A TA needs to attend an onsite orientation with the agency and any additional site visits prior to the project day (the number of visits depends on the complexity of the project).  Coordinates and lead a crew leader orientation meeting prior to project day, writes technical notes, attends all project team meetings and arrives at the project site 1 hour before the volunteers on project day.

Commitment: Technically lead at least one project per year.

Over-sight: The TA will lead the design effort, lead the crew leaders, work with the WRV project team and the land management agency.  The TA will also evaluate the effectiveness of the design plan after the project.

Measures of success: The completion of a high quality project that meets the mission of WRV; well written, concise and usable technical notes; good technical design; good communication; satisfied agency personnel, and happy, satisfied crew leaders and volunteers.

Lead Cook/Support Cook

Description: The Lead Cook (LC) is the designer and driver behind the camp set up, menu creation, feeding, cleaning and caring of volunteers on a project.

Objectives: The LC works with the WSL, the Project Leader, Tool Manager and Cook Team Members (CTM) at different stages of the project. LC goal is to create a healthy menu on budget, taking into consideration the number of helping hands, meat and vegetarian needs, and ensure food safety while on the project.


  • Create a menu, delegates purchasing (if there are cook team members willing to help),
  • Organize kitchen materials and supplies for the project from the cook shed/FC tool shed
  • Delegates pre-cooking or pre-cooks food as appropriate for the project.
  • Delegates or sets up hand-washing and dishwashing stations.
  • Asks the Tool Manager about water availability. (TM is responsible for water.)
  • Is available to help supervise loading of the tool truck before the project.
  • Delegates kitchen set up and food prep tasks during the project event. 
  • Delegates and oversees clean up, pack up of camp kitchen materials, and disposal of recycling/trash/compost.
  • The LC communicates with the Project Leader on timing of meals and, if requested, extra volunteer help on site (e.g. – hauling water, helping to put coolers back in the truck for bear safety, asking an early riser to make coffee, etc.)
  • The LC coordinates the timeline of prep, cooking and kitchen clean up on project day.
  • The TA ensures the project is completed to the standards of the agency and WRV.
  • The TA may have ATA helpers, which may need to be mentored.

Background or qualifications: It is suggested that most people desiring to be a Lead Cook should be a CTM first, to get the hang of how we do large group cooking. It is also helpful to have a background in and passion for food preparation (even if it’s just for their family) as well as a desire to camp.  If someone has extensive experience catering or backcountry cooking for large groups, they may be able to successfully jump to Lead Cook, after reading the handbook and talking with staff.

Training/Preparation: Lead Cooks should be CTMs first, unless they bring experience in large-group cooking and have discussed their experience with staff (Mary or Nate).  They should attend a cook training and thoroughly read the Cook Handbook created by WRV and tailored to WRV projects and mission.  Lead cooks self-select for projects although sometimes particular people are asked to join a project team given their experience.

Commitment:  Depends on the type of project – but typically 6 weeks prior to project event, until disposal of the waste at the end of the project and communication of leftovers to the next Lead Cook or co-cooks for the next project on the calendar.  The time commitment can range from 20 hours to 80 depending on the complexity, location and length of the project.
Measures of success: The completion of a project menu under/on budget, and safe healthy execution of meals, that meets the mission of WRV; well-communicated task delegation, satisfaction of volunteers and cook team members.

Tool Manager

Description: The Tool Manager is responsible for organizing, transporting,  managing and returning tools and equipment used on projects. Medium to large scale projects have more than one designated Tool Manager.

Objectives:  Ensure the appropriate tools and equipment needed for the project arrive on time at the correct location. The TM will also make sure all tools are returned to the tool shed clean, well-organized, and all tools are accounted for.


  • Work with the Technical Advisor to determine what the appropriate tools are needed for the project
  • Work with the PSC crew to determine what kitchen gear or other project support gear is needed for the project
  • Help PSC team set up and break down cook equipment as needed
  • Transport tools safely to and from the project site. WRV staff will rent a tool truck if needed
  • Organize and distribute tools efficiently to volunteers at beginning for project
  • Mentor and train new tool managers after you have gained experience
  • Make sure all tools are accounted for and clean when tools are gathered at the end of a project
  • Inventory broken and missing tools and alert WRV staff to any problems with tools.  
  • Discard all trash, recycles, and compost at end of project
  • Attend project debrief session to provide feedback.

Background or qualifications:  Some prior experience working on a WRV project is preferred.
Training/Preparation: Attend Tool Management Orientation, and/or read the Tool Manager Handbook.  No prior training needed. 
Time / Place: Before each project attend planning meetings and site visits as needed to fully understand the logistics of the project and the tool requirements. Pick up rental truck, if needed from Penske.
Commitment:  Be a Tool Manager on at least one project per season

Over-sight: Reports to Project Leader.  Works with the Technical Advisor, PSC, and WRV staff.  Oversees the volunteers helping with tool management. 

Measures of success: Volunteers have the appropriate number and type of tools at the project. Tools are loaded and unloaded safely, and returned clean and well organized to the tool shed. Rental trucks are returned safely and in an appropriate time frame to Penske.

Crew Leaders

Description: Crew Leaders are trained to motivate, guide, and instruct volunteers in effective, safe and enjoyable ecological restoration. Due to the direct contact with volunteers, this role is extremely important to the success of WRV in fulfilling its goal to: Heal the land and build community.

Objectives: Crew leaders guide volunteers to safely complete a project section and ensure the volunteer experience is personally rewarding.  It is highly desirable to have volunteers return for future projects.

Responsibilities: The primary responsibility is to ensure volunteers are safe. Ensure the volunteer’s enjoy a rewarding experience. Complete the assigned project section with high quality. Observe volunteers, noting skills, ability and attitude desired in possible candidates for leadership roles. Encourage possible candidates to get more involved. Provide positive guidance and supportive communication to the volunteers. Capture volunteer’s feedback about their personal experience during the project. Provide constructive feedback to the project leadership team for the continuous improvement of WRV projects.

Background or qualifications: Crew Leader candidates should have some experience working on WRV projects prior to entering the training program. It is helpful to have some experience with landscaping tools and techniques but is not required.

Training / Preparation: Complete the crew leader training program and at least one mentoring session.

Time / Place: Attend project orientation sessions if needed and arrive early to the project location to prepare for volunteers.

Commitment: Crew lead on at least 2 projects each season.

Over-sight: Receives direction from the project leader, crew leader manager and technical advisors. Utilize the direction provided to guide volunteers working on a project.

Measures of success: Volunteers are safe and have a rewarding experience. The assigned section is completed and exhibits high quality. Constructive feedback is provided to the project leadership that will contribute to continuous improvement of our programs.


Other Team Roles:

Assistant Team Roles

For many of the project team roles, WRV often provides opportunities for an “Assistant Position.”  The two most common assistant positions are Assistant Project Leader and Assistant Technical Advisor.  These Assistant opportunities are one of the best ways for someone to learn more about the job.  You get to learn by doing with support from a mentor with experience.  Each leader and his/her assistant individually work out the division of effort.  Some assistants take on substantial responsibilities.  Others take on small responsibilities to test the waters.

Volunteers with Medical Training

Many projects have one or more who have been certified by a third party in first aid or higher medical training.  These folks may have training in first aid, as an EMT, as a First Responder even higher medical training. WRV helps facilitate these volunteers using their training by providing stocked medical kits, presenting these volunteers with the risk assessment and emergency response plan, and by providing them with radios for quick response in the event of an incident. Sometimes the land management agency fills this role.  Everyone on a project has a role to play in safety. 


WRV photo documents every project.  This is important to maintain a record of our work and to monitor progress over time.  On medium and large projects, there may be one or more designated photographers or videographers.  Photographers document the techniques employed, the progress of the work, and the joy and satisfaction of the volunteers.  The photos are given to the WRV staff for archival.  Generally, all photos are stored in digital form. 

Project Host

The project host role has two main purposes; to greet volunteers at the check in table and help to say thanks and goodbye to volunteers at the end of the project and/or to be the trail host of the project educating the public about the work that our volunteers are engaged in. The Project Leader will be responsible for choosing the Project Host and deciding if one is necessary for a given project.

Agency Staff Liaison

Description:  On projects this individual is the primary point of contact with the sponsor agency. The Agency Contact (AC) is normally a staff person employed by the sponsoring agency.

Objectives:  The AC communicates the desires of agency to the project team, negotiates the project scope, and coordinates the provision of agency services necessary for the implementation of the project.

Responsibilities: Be the liaison between the agency and WRV.  Work closely with the Project Leader (PL) and Technical Advisor (TA) to insure the success of the project.  The AC contact must communicate all project expectations to PL and TA.  The AC negotiates the project memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PL.  Helps coordinate project safety and the provision of emergency service on project day.

Background or qualifications:  Appointed by the sponsor agency with authority to make decisions concerning proposed WRV project. Have the necessary time in their schedule to coordinate the project with WRV.

Training/Preparation: Should be comfortable working with volunteers.  Should understand what needs to be accomplished for the project to be a success.
Time/Place:  The AC needs to be available to meet with the team and coordinate a site visit. The AC needs to meet with the PL and TA as needed to define the expectations for the project.  This can normally be accomplished through a site visit, but additional meetings may be necessary if the project is complicated or technical.  The AC should be available the day of the project.
Length of Commitment:  For the duration of the project

Over-sight:  The AC works directly with the PL and TA to ensure the success of the project.

Measures of success:   The completion of a high quality project that meets the mission of WRV and meets the expectations of the sponsoring agency.

WRV Staff Lead

Description: The WRV Staff Lead (WSL) has five primary areas of responsibility: supporting the Project Leader and Project Team to have a positive and successful volunteer experience that contributes to WRV’s organizational mission and goals:

  • Manage legal, regulatory, scope of work, and financial requirements for the project
  • Provide background knowledge and perspective to team
  • Provide volunteer outreach, recruitment, and media relations for the project
  • Provide WRV office-related logistical support for the project
  • Oversee project implementation and project close-out phases (delegate to PL as appropriate)

Objectives: The WSL simultaneously views the project from the big picture perspective and the ground-up detail perspective.  S/he oversees project planning to ensure that it takes place in a way that is consistent with WRV’s mission, goals, and standards.  The WSL enacts WRV’s goal of empowering volunteers by enabling the Project Leader (PL) to truly lead and manage the project.  The WSL coaches and collaborates with the PL to understand and meet the needs of the project.  The WSL ensures that logistical and administrative needs are addressed.  S/he is responsible for recruitment of volunteers for the project, managing outreach and public relations related to the project, and managing the project feedback process.


  • The WSL has ultimate responsibility to ensure that the project is completed in a way that complies with WRV policy and expectations, and offers a “WRV Experience” to all involved.  WSL assures continuity and integration between the project at hand and other WRV projects.
  • Ensure that the project terms and goals adhere to any pertinent legal, regulatory, scope of work, or financial requirements.  Refer any legal or fiscal concerns to the Executive Director.
  • Negotiate and administer contracted services, materials acquisition, and other financial matters.
  • Support PL as the primary project planner and team leader.  Offer coaching support and collaboration when needed to assist the PL in meeting project objectives.
  • Facilitate initial meeting with PL and APL to discuss role definition and expectations. Facilitate discussion on how to maximize the strengths of the project team, and identify any needs for additional knowledge or training.
  • Recruit additional project team members as needed.
  • Transfer knowledge and documentation from previous work, site visits (i.e., project application and scout form) with the agency and related projects to PL at start of planning process.  Act as an information resource to PL and Project Team throughout planning process.
  • Model leadership and successful project management to team.
  • Recruit volunteers.  Manage email communication to crew members (send out project details, weather updates, requests for special help, etc.)  On some projects, this task will be delegated to PL or other staff person/project team member.
  • Ensure Safety Net is being implemented thoroughly.  Delegate lead responsibility to PL, who may delegate elements of Safety Net to Project Medic, APL, or others.
  • Work with PL to create a positive volunteer experience (i.e., educational talks, social gatherings, or other enrichment activities to be held on project day / weekend, as appropriate).
  • May attend site visits, planning meetings, crew leader orientations, and project, as needed.
  • Prepare supplies box for project (extra release forms, roster, emergency response plan, radios, first aid kits, membership materials, schwag, leader pins and hats, etc.)
  • Ensure project photos are received and processed in a timely manner (within 2 weeks of project date) and that photo galleries are uploaded to database.
  • Ensure that post-project assessment/debrief process occurs, typically scheduled and facilitated by PL.

Background or qualifications:  The WSL is a member of WRV’s program staff.

Training/Preparation: New staff members taking on the WSL role should be teamed up with an experienced WSL to be mentored as an Assistant Staff Lead (ASL) on a project.  They will benefit from training on the following topics:

  • WRV project team leadership model
    • Primary volunteer team leadership roles on WRV projects
    • Additional project roles: medics, photographers, greeters, etc.
    • Attend these supplemental trainings
      • WRV Crew Leadership
      • WRV Project Leadership and project management
      • Group facilitation
  • Partner relationships
    • How to manage relationships with land management agencies and other partners
    • Preparing MOUs with land management agencies and other partners
  • Using the WRV database
    • Database overview:  contacts, events, organizations, registrations, etc.
    • Use of Roster Report
    • Recording staff time log in the database
    • Using database to prepare a recruitment email list
    • Uploading project photos to the WRV database and preparing event photo galleries
  • Volunteer Correspondence
    • Using Constant Contact and WorldMerge for volunteer recruitment and correspondence
    • Preparing volunteer recruitment emails
    • Preparing “Project Details” emails to send to volunteers
  • Preparing supplies box for a project
    • Creating a project release form
    • Exporting a project roster from database
    • Including emergency response plan in supply box, typically prepared by PL or APL
    • Charging radios for a project
    • Assembling membership materials and schwag
  • Other Admin topics
    • Using the WRV staff calendar
    • Where files are recorded on the S: and P: drives
    • Changing the outgoing WRV voice message to describe project updates
    • Using the media/networking spreadsheet in S:/{year} to recruit volunteers

Time / Place: Varies substantially by project. WSL may attend meetings, site visits, crew leader orientation, and debrief. The WSL arrives at the project site before volunteers and can expect to leave after all volunteers have departed.

Commitment:  Varies by staff position and project complexity.  The Projects Director oversees approximately 40% of the project schedule, the Community Program Director oversees approximately 30% of the project schedule, the Executive Director oversees approximately 20% of the project schedule, and the Volunteer Manager oversees approximately 10%.  This may vary year to year.

Over-sight: The WSL assumes responsibility for supporting the Project Leader to succeed, and also coordinates with the technical advisor, crew leaders, project support/cooks, tool manager(s), and land management agency staff. Generally, the WSL is the primary liaison to crew members.  The WSL has ultimate responsibility to ensure that the project is completed in a way that complies with WRV policy and expectations.
Measures of success: Clearly documented communication approach. Successfully completed work on project day; project volunteers welcomed, included and encouraged to participate in other projects, returning; project team members feel successful; “lessons learned” passed on to future project team.