Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue has many different programs for volunteers to choose where they can contribute their time, talent and experience. Training new volunteers requires and great amount of time and energy from our staff and existing volunteers, so please read through all the information on this webpage prior to submitting an application.
Staff and volunteers are usually cross trained in many areas of need here at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. Unless you have serious limitations that would keep you from helping in any of the following areas, you will be placed where you are needed the most on your designated shift.
Here volunteers get a chance to work with wildlife that are on the last phase of rehabilitation before release back to the wild. You will also take care of the residents in the Education Exhibit Area. You may be caring for coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, squirrels, etc. In addition to this, you will be keeping the wildlife kitchen clean and organized, and doing various other chores to keep the Wildlife Community clean and beautiful for the animals.
This is where you will be trained to prepare diets for our community of wildlife ambassadors and wildlife in rehabilitation. Raw meat diets are utilized to feed a majority of our wildlife and we expect our volunteers to be professional and comfortable with preparing rodents, birds, and other items for our animals.
Our large facility takes a lot of work to keep up, and having a beautiful place for the rehabilitation of wildlife is important to us. Facility Maintenance would include routine and seasonal chores as well as special projects. There are always things to do to improve and maintain our facility and you will most likely be called upon to help from time to time.
The Predator Exclusion and Educational Program (PEEP) is an innovative interactive educational program designed to help people with conflicts between domestic and wild animals. By providing a physical learning lab, students and members of the community can learn ways to protect their livestock and pets from natural predation in ways that do not harm wildlife, so the ecology of the region can remain balanced. You may be asked to assist in our PEEP program.
It is not always possible for the Hotline Staff to pick up or receive an orphaned or injured animal. The Hotline Staff has a list of current volunteers whom they may call upon to pick up or receive animals during the rescuer's designated shift. These volunteers may also respond to critical or trauma patients that need immediate medical attention. We also will occasionally need volunteers to transport an animal to one of our local vets or other wildlife rehabilitation centers. Should you be interested in our Rescue Team, you will make a commitment to our organization to make sure you are available during your designated shift. Should you fail to respond to a rescue more than three times, you will be removed.
Volunteers do a variety of administrative duties such as mailings, record keeping, fundraising assistance, membership service, public relations, computer help, and more. This is a very important area for the survival of SCWR. You may be working in the office doing receptionist work, animal intake, and public education.
Strong public speaking skills will be put to use here! From time to time you may be asked to docent a tour at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. Educating the public about wildlife and the importance of wildlife to our ecology is a large part of our mission statement and your help would be necessary and much appreciated in this capacity.
This is a group of volunteers who work with animals in distress or that need medical attention. They are also the support group for the foster care volunteers who might need assistance with medical needs or need site visits. Often these volunteers have a background in veterinary medicine or a lot of experience working with wildlife, but that is not a requirement.
As noted above, there are limited exceptions to attending our annual January volunteer registration.
If you do not want to wait for this annual training and would like to get started right away, we offer selected opportunities. Training and supervision in these selected areas of opportunity are very limited, so it would require a real self-starter who does not need much assistance. Here are the areas we always and immediately need your help:
Maintaining a healthy, thriving garden is a year-round experience. If you have a green thumb, or if you would like to learn about how to maintain a garden, we would love to have your help! Watering, planting, and general garden care are all appreciated and needed.
It takes lots of vehicle power to perform the community outreach, rescue, and other imperative work we do. Having a presentable, clean and well working vehicle is important. Our trucks are often seen around the community and we like to put our best foot forward.
There is always laundry to do, especially in the summer months and during baby season (February to September). Having clean laundry available ensures we can provide high quality care to our wildlife patients. We need all the help we can get with our at times overflowing laundry.
Including laundry, we always need help with dishes, general cleaning, maintaining clean floors, shaking out rugs, taking trash to the landfill, cleaning office areas, and garden care. If you have housekeeping experience, we would love to utilize your expertise.
Community Service Process: Since community service tends to be a commitment that is usually defined as a one-time event or a requirement of limited time, we have specific areas of need that are more appropriate to fulfilling a person’s community service requirements. Training and supervision in these areas are very limited, so it would require a real self-starter who does not need much assistance. You will be doing such things as gardening, laundry, and cleaning. For more information, click here.
We realize and value that there are many members of our community that have special talents, life-skills, gifted skills, business professionals with areas of expertise that could benefit Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. We have worked with many of you in the past and will always need those of you who can only volunteer for one time projects.
We do not require the same training, administrative fees, or time from you as we do of our other volunteers. We recognize that your time is much more fleeting and want to accommodate your contributions to us quickly and easily. If you are in any of the following areas, this process applies to us. In recognition of a special skill or talent that might have been over-looked in this list, this applies to you as well.
Sample Areas of Special Skill:
Graphic Artist or Designer
Thank you for taking the time to read through all volunteer requirements and general volunteer information. If you think Sonoma county Wildlife Rescue is a good fit for you, please complete our volunteer application and plan on attending one of our volunteer orientations. As these are only offered 4 times a year, there is limited space available. Once your application has been submitted, our Volunteer and Community Support Coordinator will reach out once the final details have been arranged for the upcoming orientation.
Below is what you can expect during our Volunteer Orientation:
We host these events 4 times a year and they usually take place from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. There is a bundle of three, two-hour classes that are required to volunteer with our non-profit, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. Following these classes, you will be taken on a tour of our facility to familiarize yourself with our property. Following the tour, you will be asked to complete paperwork, pay administrative costs and schedule your first volunteer shift.
Classes Covered During Orientation:
New Volunteer Orientation
This class will provide you with generalized information about our organization. We will discuss our culture, expectations, facility, and volunteer requirements. What exactly do we do? Why are we here? Would this organization be a good fit for you? Discover the answers to these questions and many more.
Policies and Regulations
We operate under a license from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Being involved in our organization mean familiarizing yourself with the policies and regulations we abide by. In this informative class, we will cover our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and our various Animal Care and Multimedia use policies.
Introduction to Wildlife
This is an extensive class that covers the general fundamentals of wildlife rehabilitation. From hospital work, to correct personal protective gear, to various other animal related tasks, this intensive class will prepare you for professional animal care in the field of wildlife rehabilitation.
*Scholarships are available for those with financial need.
After taking this 6 hour block of classes, you should be “administratively” trained on the basics here at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. It will require many hours of “hands on” training to feel completely comfortable with the unique, diverse and specialized skill sets to work in the professional field of wildlife rehabilitation. This is what you will gain through your 4 hours a week and 12 month time with us.
Please read through all volunteer information prior to applying.
Our 2024 Volunteer Orientations will be held on:
January 6, 2024
April 6, 2024
July 13, 2024
October 5, 2024
We are currently accepting application for January 6, 2024. Applications for the January 6th training are due on 12/17/2023.
We are required by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide professional training to all of our volunteers and keep a record of those volunteers and the training they have completed. We submit this list to the Department by January 31st, every year. This is a mandatory requirement for which we are responsible in order to keep our permits to rehabilitate wildlife in the State of California.
We also have our own organization’s training requirements mandated by our Board of Directors and insurance providers. We take these commitments very serious and are unable to adjust any of these requirements for any individuals who may request us to do so.
We have spent many years working with volunteers who want to help wildlife and have discovered that the amount of training, time and commitment is often more than the volunteer expects - even by volunteers who have the best of intentions. If you really love animals and our organization does not seem like the right fit for you, here is a list of other great non-profit organizations in Sonoma County that we would like to recommend to you:
Bird Rescue Center:
Flat Broke Farm:
Native Songbird Care and Conservation
Rohnert Park Animal Shelter:
Sonoma County Humane Society
You can also get more information on volunteering in Sonoma County by calling the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County:
Thank you for your interest in volunteerism!