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: Volunteer positions and Internships. Details on our wildlife internships and how to apply can be found here.
DISCLAIMER: For people with peanut allergies, you'll need to know that we use peanuts throughout the building. You will be exposed to them.
Volunteer info is below.
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
Join Our Seasonal Mammal Nursery
Honestly, there's nothing cuter than a baby squirrel. They're personable, they're fuzzy and they don't bite until they're older.
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. Remember that a squirrel who is habituated to humans and walks up to them has a very short life expectancy. You can oooh and ahhh all you want in your head - just don't talk to the squirrel.
In the squirrel nursery 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). You'll log their weight and feedings on each shift, then you'll clean their cages - removing soiled linens and dishes and replacing them with clean ones.
All those dishes and linens need to be washed, so you'll be doing dishes and laundry on every shift to ensure the squirrels in your care have a safe, clean habitat in which to grow.
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 actually 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.
Mammal Nursery has several shifts a day. You'll have the opportunity to indicate your preferences on the application form.
This nursery will run from April well into October.
Sound like squirrels are right for you? Apply below!
Join Our Seasonal Songbird Nursery
Are you amazed by how quickly naked nestlings turn into beautiful, feathered birds? Do you love knowing the differences between finches and sparrows? Want to learn more about how insectivores learn to catch bugs? Our Avian Nursery can teach you this!
From tiny nestlings that are in incubators to flighted birds in outdoor flight pens, our Songbird Nursery is all about properly moving birds through the rehabilitation process.
You'll learn how to safely feed begging birds and how to prepare diets for different species as they grow. (You'll be working with live bugs in here, so if you're not keen on bugs check out our mammal nursery.)
Keeping the Songbird Nursery clean is mandatory. It's amazing how susceptible baby birds are to pathogens. This means not only lots of cleaning and sanitizing of dishes and laundry, but also practicing proper handling techniques. Washing your hands between birds. Sanitizing your hands if you've touched a communal chart/log or something else in the nursery.
You are also susciptible to their pathogens. So again, you'll want to be conscientious of your hands. Don't touch your face while feeding the birds. Be sure to wash your hands immediately upon leaving the nursery, etc.
The reward? You get to watch that gawky baby cardinal who could barely lift his head develop into a beautiful flying bird. Those goofy robins that climbed all over each other to get to the food you're offering? You'll have the chance to see them released and celebrate their first wild flight.
Songbird Nursery is a busy nursery.It's filled with the cries of hungry birds and full of your fellow crewmates caring for them. It's awe-inspiring to watch those birds turn into the beautiful creatures that flock to your bird feeders.
We hope you'll join us in caring for more than 60 different species of baby birds!
Join Our Waterfowl Nursery
Do you have a passion for adorable ducklings? How about working in a humid, wet environment full of duck poop and duckweed? If the answer is a "yes!" to both of those, our seasonal Waterfowl Nursery is for you.
While tiny ducklings are adorable, they do grow quickly and boy, do they produce a lot of poop. They're also high stress so we keep our interactions with the ducks and geese to a minimum. This also helps prevent them from bonding with us - a key to successful rehabilitation and release.
In the Waterfowl Nursery you'll be responsible for cleaning the ducks' pens, doing their dishes, hosing out their pools and in general making sure they have a clean, healthy environment in which to grow.
It's an amazing nursery but you do need to be comfortable working in a warm, humid environment with lots of water.
We only have two shifts a day in this nursery: AM and PM. This is also the only area at WRC where a teenager 14-17 years of age can volunteer with a parent. The parent must also apply and be present with the teenager on all shifts.
Ducks sound like you're thing? Apply below!