The Outreach Department’s mission is to share conservation messages drawn directly from the stories of the thousands of wild animals we treat each year at the Wildlife Center. The stories of these animals illustrate the wider problems wildlife face -- litter, pesticides, free-roaming domestic animals, habitat loss, and diseases.
Our outreach programs promote positive attitudes toward wildlife and emphasize how the personal choices we make affect the health of the environment. Through our outreach efforts, we challenge people of all ages to take action to protect wildlife. Outreach docents are key players that help us achieve our mission of “teaching the world about wildlife.”
Docents are storytellers, teachers, and representatives of our work. They help us to maintain important connections with the public and our community of support.
Our team of outreach volunteers helps to communicate our conservation messages to thousands of people each year to diverse groups -- from scout troops and elementary school students, to Master Naturalists and wildlife professionals.
Basic responsibilities and privileges for all outreach volunteers include:
- Assisting with tours of the Center’s hospital and education animal enclosures, including seasonal Open House events
- Participating in special events hosted by the Center, on-and off-site
- Staying up to date on Center happenings, patient stories, education animal rosters, and staff-led education hours
- Delivering online educational programs for public and private groups
- Contributing written content to be featured on the Center’s website, such as blog posts, Caring for Critters updates, and social media posts
In addition to these primary responsibilities, volunteer docents may work closely with the outreach staff to provide regularly-scheduled care for a number of the Center’s non-releasable education ambassadors depending on interests, availability, and current departmental needs, including:
- Meal preparation and delivery, and/or feeding
- Deep cleaning of indoor and outdoor enclosures, regular cleaning and maintenance of traveling crates, and perch maintenance
- Weekly recording of animal weights and body conditions, food intake, and behavioral assessments
- Creating and delivering enrichment items
- Collecting and digitally archiving detailed records
To be a part of the Outreach team, docents must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be comfortable with speaking in public, or be willing to learn
- Be able to walk or stand for extended periods of time
- Have availability that coordinates with the Center’s needs, which may fluctuate seasonally
Additional requirements: Education programs and tours are scheduled on a case-by-case basis, occasionally with less than three weeks’ notice; ideal candidates are flexible in their availability.
COVID-19 Response: While those who are interested may still apply, we are not currently accepting new outreach volunteer docents due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Your information will be reviewed by an outreach staff member for consideration at a later date. Stay tuned for further updates!
Ready to apply? Please complete the Outreach Docent Volunteer application for consideration.
Learn more about our veterinary department and transport volunteer opportunities.
Thanks for your interest in volunteering with the Wildlife Center of Virginia!