top of page

By Invite Only - After Approved Application



Volunteer Orientation

Help animals in need through one of the most direct ways possible, and gain a mountain of experience!

Volunteer Orientation

Time & Location

By Invite Only - After Approved Application

ECWR, 3051 Cloptons Cir, Navarre, FL 32566, USA

About the event

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with ECWR! We are excited to share our passion for animal care and environmental stewardship. This application is for the majority of volunteer opportunities within our organization and is only for potential adult volunteers (18 years or older). However, please understand that submitting an application does not guarantee an invitation to move forward in the application process to becoming a volunteer at ECWR. We review every volunteer application we receive and, via follow-up email, invite those who meet our criteria and volunteer openings to attend a volunteer orientation at our facility.

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and we could never complete all of the life-saving work that we do without them!  We believe that there are many benefits from volunteering at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, some of which are: 

- Helping save animals!

- Gaining a wide variety of new skills, knowledge, and experiences

- Opportunities to join advanced level teams such as the Raptor Team or Mammal Enrichment & Training Team

- Engaging with likeminded individuals who are passionate about our native wildlife species

- Receiving 10% off logo items in the gift shop

- Accruing community service hours, if needed

- Enjoying a good work-out while you volunteer!

Fulfilling the daily operations of our organization is both enriching and demanding. We want every potential volunteer to be well informed of our requirements, expectations, and the general working conditions. Therefore, before applying please consider that as a volunteer you will be:

- Working outdoors in all weather conditions, especially high heat/humidity

- Exposed to biting insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and ants

- Surrounded by strong, foul odors such as animal feces/urine, raw fish, etc

- Preparing meat-based diets for animals in our care

- Advised to avoid petting, cuddling, playing with, or talking to our rehab patients

- Lifting, pushing, or pulling up to 30 pounds

- Standing, walking, kneeling, bending, etc. for extended periods of time

- Required to commit to a minimum of two 4-hour volunteer shifts each month

       - All new volunteers undergo training before being able to work independently 

- Become aware of seasonal changes in workflow and tasks

- Required to pay $25 volunteer training fee at the time of orientation

We want all volunteers approach their commitment as a long-term investment.  There are plenty of fun, fascinating, and enriching things to do and learn, but you have to stick around to get to that part! Volunteering at ECWR is different than volunteer opportunities at other facilities or organizations. This is an environment for serious adults looking to gain long-term experience and make a lasting impact. There are several levels (see spectrum below) of animal care opportunities and volunteers can set their own goals for advancing, but moving to higher levels of training takes time and practice. Your rate of growth will depend on the frequency of your volunteer hours among other variables. For example, depending on an individual’s frequency and personal advancement skills, volunteering 2-3 times per week will take a minimum of 2 months to complete the animal husbandry levels. If shifts are more spread out, it may take multiple months to achieve higher levels. Our approach to quality care demands that our volunteers be dedicated to providing the essential work it takes for the rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wild animals. 

Animal Care Volunteer Opportunities

- Ambassador & Rehab Husbandry = indoor and outdoor enclosure cleaning, diet prep, and creating/dispersing enrichment

- Nursery Shift = feeding and caring for orphaned mammals and birds

- Veterinary Shift = feeding and caring for injured and sick wildlife patients

Community Service opportunities are available for groups and for youth aged 12 - 17, with a parent present.  Please visit that section of our website for for information.  This is a newly developed program and opportunity, so we appreciate your patience while we launch and fine-tune it.  Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our volunteer opportunities at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge.  As mentioned above, we will review all applications and potential volunteers who are felt to be a good fit will be notified and invited to our next volunteer orientation, since we can only train and accommodate a certain number of new volunteers at a time.  At the orientation, the various volunteer "levels" (depicted above) and specific opportunities will be discussed in greater detail, but in the meantime additional information is available on our website for anyone interested.  If you have any questions, please contact our Volunteer and Intern Coordinator, Michelle, at  You can call us at 850.684.1485, however this is also our animal rescue helpline number, so you may be asked to leave a message.  Email is the recommended form of contact as we are often busy caring for wildlife patients during normal business hours.

Share this event

bottom of page