CALL US (813) 932-5228

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is located on the Little Manatee River at the south end of 24th St SE in Ruskin, Hillsborough County, Florida. The Center is a project of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery, Inc., known as BOLD, in partnership with Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department. The Center is operated solely by volunteers with assignments arranged through the Volunteer Coordinator and the Instructor Coordinator.

Camp Bayou sustains a portion of Florida’s original habitats in the Little Manatee River watershed and promotes appreciation and a better understanding of our natural resources, local history, and culture through the education of adults and school-aged children.

Camp Bayou is open Thursday-Saturday, 9AM-2PM. Our general audience is school children ranging from K-8th grade, nature hikers, canoers and kayakers, and animal and plant enthusiasts.

Volunteers may choose from a variety of schedules. Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied on-site by a parent or guardian. Some volunteers work anywhere from 2 hours to all 5 hours per day or multiple days each week, some intermittently through the school year, and some arrive for one-time work days, either alone or in groups, for cleanup and fix-up tasks. There is a volunteer option available for all who are interested. 

Click on the + sign to learn more about each volunteer opportunity. 

Classroom Instructor

Work Location: Camp Bayou – 4140 24th St SE, Ruskin, FL 33570

Purpose of the Position: 
To provide a starting point or to enhance primary and intermediate school-level children’s scientific knowledge about Little Manatee River’s ecology, water-related topics, and the human impacts, as well as anthropogenic knowledge about the local native indigenous group, the Uzita.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Prepare to present the assigned topic prior to youth group arrival.

  • Lead and present specific nature/native topic to a group of potentially rotating groups pending the number of children..

  • Guide the children and adults to their requests and answer their general questions when prompted.

  • Clean and put away topic-related materials and props from the assigned station after completing for the day.

  • Optional: assist and participate in adult programs such as Florida Master Naturalist Program.


Qualifications:
 Must have previous experience working with children, teaching experience a plus whether science/anthropology-related topic or not.

Commitment Expected:  

  • Participate on assigned date of any Thursday and/or Friday of the year picked by the youth group consisting of public/private school, homeschool, summer camp, and scout group.
  • Can tolerate the typical Florida weather, especially the heat and high humidity as the majority of youth programs are outdoor but exceptions can be made.
  • Willing to learn and present at least five different topics.

Training:
All potential instructors will review the youth program guides and activities located in the vertical files located in the Nature Center. The incoming instructor should become familiar with the materials, props, and expectations for each nature and native topic. Once familiarized, the incoming instructor will shadow a current instructor, at least once, to see and understand how the youth program runs and to become more familiar with the presentation of each topic.

General Volunteer

Work Location: Camp Bayou – 4140 24th St SE, Ruskin, FL 33570

Purpose of the position:
 Maintain order in the developed and natural areas on-site to satiate the visitors and natural organisms alike.

Responsibilities and Duties
:

Lead or assist in developing/maintaining the following tasks:

  • Nature Center exhibits
  • Native Village
  • Fishing Cabins and the exhibits
  • Geocache and Letterboxes
  • On-site special event staff
  • Off-site outreach event staff
  • Citizen science projects
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Butterfly census
  • Nature trails
  • Canoe Launch

Qualifications: Must have previous experience working with children, teaching experience a plus whether science/anthropology-related topic or not.

Volunteers must undergo a background check.

Commitment Expected:

  • Willing to learn and present at least five different topics.

  • Participate on assigned date of any Thursday and/or Friday of the year picked by the youth group consisting of public/private school, homeschool, summer camp, and scout group.

  • Can tolerate the typical Florida weather, especially the heat and high humidity as the majority of youth programs are outdoor but exceptions can be made.


Qualifications:
 No specific experience is required.

Commitment Expected:
 Choose at least three tasks listed in the Responsibilities and Duties section, and can tolerate the typical Florida weather, especially the heat and high humidity at least once a month.

Training:
 All training will be hands-on, provided by the Daily Team leader.

Camp Greeter

Purpose of the position: To provide a welcoming point-of-entry with site information for visitors.

Responsibilities and duties:

  • Staff the Visitor’s Center

  • Answering incoming telephone calls

  • Collect and take out trash

  • Clean/restock Visitor’s Center restroom

  • Sweep surrounding sidewalks and boardwalk

Qualifications: No specific experience is required.

Commitment Expected:
 Up to five hours per day of the week.

Training:
 All training will be hands-on, provided by the Daily Team leader.

Next Step: Seniors in Service helps nonprofits throughout Tampa Bay find volunteers like you to help accomplish their mission. Fill out the form below and someone from Seniors in Service will contact you soon to walk you through the next steps to begin volunteering. In question 4, please include the words “Camp Bayou.”