Outreach Volunteer Opportunities

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
  • Assisting staff with Open House events
  • Participating in special events hosted by the Center, on- and off-site
  • Representing the Center at festivals and special events hosted by other organizations
  • Staying up to date on Center happenings, patient stories, and education animal roster
  • Assisting in maintenance, cleaning, and organization of outreach materials, supplies, and facilities

 

To be a part of the Outreach team, docents must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • be comfortable with speaking in public
  • be able to walk or stand for extended periods of time
  • have availability that coordinates with the Center’s needs, which may differ seasonally
     

In addition to these primary responsibilities, there are several areas of focus available for outreach volunteers depending on interests, availability, and current departmental needs:

Program Specialist:

  • Regularly leads all types of on-site tours and programs
  • Represents the Center at festivals and special events hosted by other organizations without outreach staff supervision [experienced volunteers]
  • Presents online “Skype in the Classroom” programs to classrooms throughout the world, using the Center’s educational animal ambassadors.
  • Handles some of the Center's education ambassadors, including turtles, snakes, and raptors during education programs and events (based on current departmental needs)
  • Helps staff with minor education animal management such as weekly weights and behavior assessments (based on current departmental needs)
  • Helps outreach staff create written content by periodically writing Caring for Critters updates for animal adopters.
  • Presents internal “education hours” focused on education ambassadors to train new students and volunteers at the Wildlife Center.
     

Best suited for: Those with regular availability
Education programs and tours are scheduled on a case-by-case basis, occasionally with less than three weeks’ notice. 

Status: A limited number positions are available at this time.

 

Ambassador Care Specialist (Reptiles):

In addition to basic outreach volunteer responsibilities, a reptile ambassador care specialist provides weekly care for a variety of education snakes and turtles, including:

  • Meal preparation and delivery
  • Recording weights and food intake
  • Creating and delivering enrichment items
  • Collecting and digitally archiving detailed records
  • Deep cleaning enclosures [monthly]
     

Additional requirements: Reptile care volunteers must be able to commit to a regular shift (to be determined). Prior reptile handling experience is not required. Opportunities are limited and based on current departmental needs.

Status: Not available at this time.

 

Ambassador Care Specialist (Raptors):

In addition to basic outreach volunteer responsibilities, a raptor ambassador care specialist provides regular care for a variety of education raptors, including:

  • Daily meal preparation and delivery
  • Recording weights and food intake
  • Collecting and preparing raptor pellets for educational use
  • Deep cleaning of outdoor enclosures
  • Perch maintenance
  • Creating and delivering enrichment items
  • Cleaning and maintaining travel crates
     

Additional requirements: Raptor care volunteers must be able to commit to a regular shift (to be determined). Prior raptor handling experience is not required. Opportunities are limited and based on current departmental needs.

Status: Not available at this time.

 

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!