Working with our patients is incredibly hard work but it's wonderfully rewarding. The opportunity to help care for a wild animal, giving it a second chance at life, is something you'll remember forever.
We offer two ways of joining us: volunteering or interning. Volunteering requires one shift a week, interning requires 20-30 hrs/wk.
We also offer special wildlife medicine internships for students enrolled in veterinary school.
VOLUNTEERING AT WRC
If you're interested in volunteering with us, please choose the primary area in which you're interested for your application. Many of our volunteers transition to other areas in the building once they've started. We offer many growth opportunities and the chance to work with other species in different areas. You'll have the chance to discuss these options with our volunteer director when we begin the orientation and scheduling process. For now, choose your first preference.
DISCLAIMER: For people with peanut allergies: We use peanuts throughout the building. You will be exposed to them.
For all positions at WRC:
- You must be 18 years of age except for teens who are invited to work with a parent present in our Waterfowl Nursery or at our outdoor Darvan location (see below).
- Our patients require specific care to heal and return to the wild. You must be able to follow instructions and work as part of a team.
- You'll be cleaning: Laundry, dishes, cages and mopping floors
- You'll be standing, bending and lifting things (our mammal nursery is the least strenuous)
- Minimum commitment for all areas is three months
- A current tetanus vaccine and health insurance is required of all volunteers
- Rabies vaccine is not required except for upper levels of the year-round Animal Care Crew (ACC)
Join Our Seasonal Mammal Nursery
Now accepting applications for the 2020 nursery season! (Commitment: April-mid October)
Honestly, there's nothing cuter than a baby squirrel. They're personable, they're fuzzy and they're also entirely dependent on you for their lives. Scary? A bit. Rewarding? Immensely.
Because we want these squirrels to return to the wild we're pretty strict on the "no cuddling or talking to the squirrels" rule. You can oooh and ahhh all you want in your head - just don't talk to the squirrel.
You'll work closely with your fellow crewmates to make sure all the squirrels are properly fed. We'll teach you what formulas to use and how to manage the feeding so the squirrel doesn't aspirate (aspiration leads to pneumonia).
Squirrels will graduate to outdoor caging prior to release. This allows them to practice foraging, leaping and balancing. It also gives them an opportunity to acclimate to being outside in all weather. Then, when the squirrels are ready for release you can personally send them out to the wild. They can be released in your yard or a friend's/family member's. It's the highlight after working hard for months saving their lives.
- Prepare food and feed squirrels
- Do laundry and wash dishes
- Sweep and mop
- Restock supplies
- Follow instructions to provide the best care for the animals while not habituating them
- This is the only nursery where you'll be able to sit while caring for the animals.
- 18+ years of age
- Able to lift 15 pounds from floor
- Work one four-hour shift weekly from April to mid-October (We realize you'll probably have a vacation or two this summer. We can work around a few absences.)
Shifts are offered daily: 7-11am, 11am-3pm, 3-7pm, 7-11pm
Join Our Seasonal Songbird Nursery
Now accepting applications for the 2020 nursery season! (Commitment: May - September)
Are you amazed by how quickly naked nestlings turn into beautiful, feathered birds? Do you love learning the differences between different bird species? Our Avian Nursery is the place for you!
From tiny nestlings that are in incubators to flighted birds in outdoor flight pens, our Songbird Nursery cares for more than 1,000 baby birds every summer.
We hope you'll join us in caring for more than 60 different species of baby birds!
- Hand-feed baby birds per instructions while adhering to a strict time schedule (baby birds must be fed every 15-30 minutes)
- Carefully record feeding times
- Clean cages and dishes
- Do laundry
- Sweep room and keep things organized
- Provide food to self-feeding animals
- 18+ years of age
- Must be able to bend to work with low lying cages and reach overhead to work with high cages
- Must be able to work with and handle live and dead bugs
Four shifts are offered daily: 8-11:15am, 11am-2:15pm, 2-5:15pm, 5-9pm
Join Our Waterfowl Nursery
Now accepting applications for the 2020 nursery season! (Commitment: May - early September)
Do you have a passion for helping adorable ducklings return to the wild? If yes, our Waterfowl Nursery is for you!
As cute as they are, ducklings habituate quickly to humans. We follow strict guidelines to reduce interaction with them to prevent them from bonding with us - a key to successful rehabilitation and release.
It's an amazing nursery but you do need to be comfortable working in a warm, humid environment with water.
- Scrub and clean duckling enclosures using hoses, brushes and squeegees
- Provide food items including live/dead fish and live/dead insects
- Do laundry and wash dishes
- Restock supplies
- 18+ years of age or 14-17 years of age with a parent present and assisting (please complete applications for both the parent and the teen)
- Able to lift and carry 20+ pounds
- Able to work bent over while cleaning the cages and feeding the ducks
- Comfortable working on your feet for 3-4 hours in a moist environment
- Waterproof boots/shoes
Choice of two shifts: 8am-Noon, 5pm/6pm to 9pm/10pm
Join Our Year-round Animal Care Crew (ACC)
Volunteering with our adult animals is an incredibly rewarding experience but it is more hands-off than the nurseries because these are adult wild animals. You're working with a wider variety of species, so if you're interested in learning more about wildlife this might be perfect.
You'll have the opportunity to learn the natural history of more than 140 different species. From squirrels with mange to pelicans with fractured wings and Trumpeter Swans with lead toxicity, these animals rely on us for their well-being.
This means carefully following treatment plans and safety protocols. You'll be prepping food for the animals; cleaning their cages, bedding and food dishes, and keeping the general hospital areas clean. It's hard work but it's truly a labor of love. Watching a lead-poisoned swan improve from not being able to stand to strutting around the waterfowl ward is an amazing experience.
Your shift is just one, four hour shift every week. You'll attend a general orientation then jump right into your regularly scheduled shift. We'll introduce you to your fellow crewmates and begin training - no need to come on a special training night.
The best part? After weeks of "scooping poop" and doing dishes, you'll have the opportunity to release the patients back into the wild. We save the best part of rehabilitation for our volunteers: Sending off our patients to resume their wild lives. Trust us - it makes all the laundry and dishes worthwhile.
You'll be working with our avian and herptile patients at our Novice Level, as well as learning about the organization, cleaning and stocking items, etc. You do not need the rabies pre-exposure vaccine for this level but we do have a limited number of Novice positions open on each shift. Once you have completed the necessary steps you can graduate to our General Level where you'll be working with a wider variety of species. You do need to have your rabies pre-exposure vaccine for this next level.
We hope you'll consider making the commitment to join our year-round ACC.
KEY COMPONENTS OF THIS POSITION:
Must be minimum of 18 Years of Age
Family members may not join you on your shift (must separately apply)
Cleaning (cleaning cages, changing soiled linens and doing laundry, washing dishes, etc)
Weekly Commitment (3 months min.)
Working as a Team Member
Providing Novice Animal Care
Volunteer Outdoors at Darvan
Darvan is open May-early September and is one of the only areas teens 14+ can work with a parent. This is very similar to working on a farm: You'll be working outside; cleaning and lifting as part of your volunteer work.
Juvenile ducklings and larger juvenile songbirds (such as American Robins, American Crows, Northern Cardinals, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and more) go to outdoor caging at an offsite facility in Inver Grove Heights as their last step of rehabilitation before release back into the wild.
- Able to work outside, independently, in all weather conditions. Ticks and mosquitos are present.
- Aged 18+ to work alone, or 14+ with a parent present at all times (applications are required for both teen and parent)
- Must be able to lift and carry 40 pounds
- Able to rake, scrub and clean surfaces
- Prepare food per instructions
- Feed all patients (waterfowl and songbirds)
- Clean enclosures
- Drain, clean and fill waterfowl pools
Two daily shifts are offered at Darvan: AM and PM. Start times are flexible but in general they run 8-11am and 6-9pm.