Heard Museum



Volunteer Opportunities

Nature Store / Front Desk – Office / Clerical / Ropes Course Volunteer / Special Events / Trail Guides / Live Animal Caregiver / Garden Maintenance / Butterfly House

ProgramsExhibits and GardensSix Nature TrailsSpecial EventsHoursGeneral AdmissionHeard Museum’s Mission StatementHistory


Volunteer Contact:

Volunteer Coordinator:
Laura Ragan volunteers@heardmuseum.org

Heard Museum Address:

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, Texas 75069

Volunteer Opportunities

The Heard is looking for individuals who interact well with children and adults, are familiar with scout badge requirements, are comfortable as group leaders and are well trained in the ecology of the area. The Heard Museum offers a plethora of other volunteer opportunities as well. Volunteer positions can either be long or short in duration as fully explained on the website. Below is a portion of the opportunities. For a complete list please go to the website.

Bird Banding Team

Help collect critical research data from migrating birds.


Volunteer as a Museum Docent at the Heard. Docents are special volunteers who represent The Heard and serve the public while answering questions on site, giving tours, helping with children’s groups and serving as ambassadors in other ways. Docents are needed seven days a week, but especially Thursday – Sunday, to guide visitors and youth through the exhibit and answer questions.

Field Trip Facilitator

The Heard is seeking volunteers to greet visitors, answer onsite questions, and make recommendations for self-guided field trips, primarily on weekdays. Training is provided including a general knowledge of the trails and current exhibits.

Native Plant Garden

Help with the care and maintenance of our two-acre Native Plant Garden.

Nature Sanctuary Restoration

Help the Heard Staff maintain the trails, prairies and forests in the sanctuary.

Nature Store / Front Desk

The Nature Store is a great place to be if you enjoy meeting people and have an interest in retail sales. This is a busy area, especially during events.

Office Clerical

Computer data entry and general office projects are available Monday- Friday.

Ropes Course Volunteer

Perfect for outdoor adventure enthusiasts! Help groups learn about trust, communication, teamwork and more! Volunteers must enjoy working with kids and adults. No experience necessary.


Events require many volunteers throughout the year.

Trail Guides

Trail guides are needed throughout the year to lead groups and individuals on nature trails. No experience is required; training is provided.

Live Animal Caregiver

An Animal Care Attendant will assist Animal Curation staff in daily animal care. The responsibilities vary with current needs of Curation staff and the season of the year. The primary purpose of the position is to provide for the care and basic needs of animals that are being housed in the Animals of the World Exhibit and the indoor exhibit/education animals. This is not a position in the Education Department. Strict compliance with all rules and regulations regarding permits and licensing required by USDA/Aphis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife is mandatory.

Responsibilities include daily food preparation and delivery, as well as observation of animal appearance and activity for general physical condition. Thorough cleaning and sanitizing of animal living quarters and other areas of the exhibit are required as often as necessary. Cleaning of work area (sweeping, mopping and counter sanitation), in addition to maintenance and storage of all equipment and tools used in job assignments is also expected.


I love working for the Heard as it provides a way for me to connect with nature as well as share my passion for it with others. As my passion is butterflies and native plants, I’ve been able to learn and grow my skills while providing value for the Heard and their customers. I love the fact that they trust me to manage the butterfly house and the gardens and while this has brought many challenges, we always come up with ways to overcome. I get to meet and talk to a variety of people that visit and volunteer at the Heard through presentations, native plant sales, events and working in the butterfly house and gardens. I’ve actually made many good friends over the past 4 years that I’ve been involved.
– Melanie Schuchart, Allen, Texas – Heard Museum Volunteer





The Heard offers something for everyone. Please check out the website for a complete list.


Birding – Bird Banding – Birdhouse Network – Birding Photography – Second Saturday Bird Walks
Third Saturday Nature Talks – Educational Birthday Party – Canoe Programs – Field Trips – Guided Trails – Homeschool Natural Science Programs – Preschool Nature Explorers – Ropes Course – Scouting Workshops – and much more


Exhibits and Gardens




Animals of the World – Dinosaurs Live – Native Texas Butterfly House & Garden – Native Plant Garden – Native Texas Snakes – Pioneer Village – Shell Room – Project Passenger Pigeon – Mosasaur


Six Nature Trails




Cedar Brake Loop – Wood Duck Trail – Bluestem Trail – Sycamore Trail – Animals of the World Trail – Laughlin Loop


Special Events




Halloween at the Heard – Holidays at the Heard – Nature Photography Contest Held by the Heard Nature Photography Club – Spring Plant Sale




Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 5pm*
The Heard will open at 7:30 on the Second Saturday of the month.
Sunday 1pm – 5pm*
*no guest entry after 4pm
Monday Closed


General Admission




Heard Museum’s Mission Statement:


Bringing nature and people together to discover, enjoy, experience, restore and preserve our priceless environment.




The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary sits on 289 acres and is located in McKinney Texas. The sanctuary is the result of one woman’s vision for the future and her commitment to the community and North Texas. Miss Bessie Heard devoted most of her lifetime (1886-1988) to the city of McKinney and its people. Miss Bessie’s greatest contribution to her community and North Texas is the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. She was 80 years old when she saw the need to preserve a place where future generations could visit to experience nature. The museum opened October 1, 1967 and now serves more than 100,000 visitors annually.


In keeping with Miss Heard’s vision, the museum’s mission is threefold: education, conservation and preservation. Through education, particularly for young people, the Heard emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation.

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