Thank you for your interest in Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue's Junior Volunteer Program. This program is designed as an educational experience for children and their parents to learn more about wildlife and the environment. Children must be 13 years or older to volunteer at the wildlife center and parents are required to support their child by participating together.
Please Note: Junior Volunteers (ages 13-17) are not permitted to handle or work directly with wildlife. However, they can work to support all the efforts that go into caring for animals.
Children who are looking for a hands-on experience with animals, are STRONGLY encouraged to register in our Predator Exclusion Education Program (PEEP). This is a fee-based program which provides vital support for our charity wildlife rescue work. Scholarships are available.
New Volunteer Process
All new junior volunteers and a parent or guardian need to attend the Annual Volunteer Orientation class that takes place the first Saturday in January. It gives you a chance to consider if Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is the right organization for you. If you would like to work around wildlife, you must attend the Policies and Regulations and Intro to Wildlife Rehabilitation Classes (these classes will take place at our Annual Orientation in January). All Volunteer Commitments are long term (12 months or more) and require 4 hours a week. To sign up for our annual class, please call our office at 707-992-0274 and be prepared to fill out a volunteer application which can be found here.
Junior Volunteer Programs
PEEP Interactive Learning: Children and their parents feed, water, clean up after, and socialize with our domestic animal ambassadors in our Predator Prevention and Educational Barnyard program. Currently these are cats, chickens, and goats. This is considered an extra-curricular activity and has a required fee of $400. The curriculum and customized lesson plans are designed for a child to attend once a week for a 2-hour session. Each registration lasts for 6 months. Click here for more information.
Foster Care: Children and their parents work together to care for a litter of orphaned wildlife infants. This includes bottle feeding, weaning to a natural diet, and providing appropriate enclosures with age appropriate enrichment for the animals. All care and progress of the animals must be charted and turned in when the animals come back to the center. There is no cuddling or socializing of baby wild animals. This care is done at the family's home. The parent is ultimately responsible for the welfare of the foster animals.
Community Events: Several times a year SCWR participates in events throughout Sonoma County. This is an excellent opportunity for Junior Volunteers to get involved in the community by helping at our education booths passing out fliers, signing up new volunteers and school presentations, and talking to the public about what we do.
Education Team: Junior Volunteers play an important role as part of our Education Team. We love Junior docents who help educate the public about native wildlife and how to live better with wildlife.
Wildlife Community: Junior Volunteers help feed and create a natural environment for the wildlife that temporarily stays in the Wildlife Community during their rehabilitation process. This commitment MUST be done with a parent. Junior Volunteers also work with our residents in the Education Exhibit area. This gives them a chance to help the animals in the Wildlife Community, while learning more about the wildlife in Sonoma County. Junior volunteers are not permitted inside wildlife enclosures, so this is a parent/child team effort.
Other: Junior Volunteers also help with some administrative duties such as mail outs, and computer activities, spring-cleaning parties, The Human Race, and artwork for the organization’s marketing department.
Supportership Information: Families that choose to participate in our Junior Volunteer Program are required to sign up for a supportership. Our supportership dues are $150 and required upon registration. This is used to help pay for administrative costs and operating expenses of the Junior Volunteer Program.
1. Children must be 13 years of age and older to participate in this program. There is a certain level of responsibility and developmental readiness that is required for most of the activities that are offered. We require junior volunteers to be under the immediate supervision of their parents while on site at all times. The exception is our PEEP program, where children as young as five can participate provided they are continuously supervised by their parent.
2. If you are doing foster care of wildlife, parents are ultimately responsible for the health, safety, care and well being of the animal. You must also check in on a weekly basis with our animal care director.
3. Because of the advanced training required to work with rehabilitating wildlife, there will be no hands on contact with wildlife at the Center. Children and parents are expected to do all of the required training together. This includes the Volunteer Orientation, Policies and Regulations, and Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation classes. Some classes may not apply, depending on the activities you choose to participate in. All classes will be consolidated into one full day of education, the first Saturday in January, annually.
4. There will be no rescues of wildlife permitted for Junior Volunteers. This is a liability issue and is strictly enforced. Your interest in our Junior Volunteer Program is greatly appreciated. This can be a very rewarding experience for your family working and learning together for the well being of wildlife and its environment.
School Service Hours:
Many schools around the community require their students to fulfill volunteer hours. Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue allows students 13 years and up to complete their hours at the center under parental supervision. Students who choose to do their hours at SCWR will perform tasks such as laundry, watering, pulling weeds, stocking wood and other facility maintenance projects. The students will not work directly with the wildlife, but will be able to work around the animals on site. They are not required to take the Volunteer Orientation, but can if they desire. Please call for more information and to schedule a time for your first visit. 707-992-0274
Commitment is Number One
SCWR has many different programs for volunteers to choose from, where they can contribute their time, talent and experience. We require a minimum of 4 hours a week of commitment from our volunteers. We are very flexible and accommodating to our volunteer’s schedules, and can work with you to find a place in the organization that is appropriate and convenient for you. The main requirement for a SCWR volunteer is to follow through with your commitment to the organization. The animals and people in our organization are dependent upon volunteers scheduled for their agreed upon commitments. Again, we require 4 hours a week minimum unless you have made prior arrangements with the staff. We look forward to meeting you at a volunteer orientation and hopefully working with you in the future! Please email Kelsey James our Volunteer and Community Support Coordinator at email@example.com should you have further questions or would like to be added to our mandatory new volunteer class registration. A completed application must be submitted for enrollment in our volunteer orientation.
Our next Orientation will be held in January, 2022. Please read through all volunteer information prior to applying. Parents for children under the age of 18 will need to fill out an application in addition to their child's application.
Applications for the January 2022 Volunteer Orientation are due on December 15, 2021 to allow time for review.