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Volunteer

Help ECWR in the best way possible. We have so many volunteering opportunities ranging from fundraising, education, animal care, and more!

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Qualifications 
  • 18 years or older

  • Shift choice of 8 am - 12 pm or 12 pm - 4 pm

    • Most training shifts for new volunteers are from 8 am - 12 pm ​

  • Must commit to working 8 hours (two volunteer shifts) each month

  • Must be willing and able to work outdoors in any Florida weather, but especially the typical high heat and humidity indexes

    • This includes exposure to biting insects such as mosquitoes and flies​

  • Ability to withstand strong foul odors due to raw fish, animal feces, and other substances you may encounter at the facility

  • Ability to lift, push, and pull large loads of various materials

  • Determination, perseverance, and resilience

Sow the seeds,
reap the rewards

Volunteering at EWCR 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. 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 animal husbandry levels. If shifts are more spread out, it may take multiple months to achieve higher levels. This will not be a quick process, or one taken lightly, as the rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wild animals is a serious process.

 

"Mentors" are individuals who have been at ECWR for multiple years and truly understand what volunteering at ECWR means. They embody the generosity of spirit and love for animals that ECWR was founded on and as a new volunteer, you will be guided through the different volunteer levels by this wonderful team as well as our interns.

Volunteering Tiers

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1 Introductory Animal Husbandry

  • Habitat cleaning of Leopard Geckos, Eastern Box Turtles, Corn Snake, Gopher Tortoise, African Spurred Tortoise, and Sherman Fox Squirrel (no rabies vector species)

    • Raking​

    • Litter and debris removal

    • Animal waste removal

    • Scrubbing and brushing of habitat elements

    • Removal of old diets and placement of fresh diets (if species and time-of-day appropriate)

    • Removal of dirty dishes and placement of fresh water in new dishes

    • Enclosure glass cleaning

  • Facility trash removal and placement in dumpster

  • Create diets according to species specific ECWR recipes - frozen fish sorting, dicing of vegetables and fruits, preparation of frozen rodents.

  • Constant shaking, washing, drying, folding, and placement of laundry

  • Washing and sanitizing dishes, enrichment items, bowls, and containers

  • Washing, scrubbing, sanitizing, drying, and placement of dishes

  • Create animal enrichment activities.

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2 Ambassador Animal Husbandry

  • All cleaning responsibilities of Tier 1 - Introductory Animal Husbandry, but includes Red-Shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Red Fox, Striped Skunk, and Raccoon Animal Ambassador species. This now includes both birds of prey and rabies vector species.

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3 Rehabilitation Animal Husbandry

  • All cleaning responsibilities of Tier 1 - Introductory Animal Husbandry, but switches to any and all outdoor rehabilitation enclosures

  • This is the most difficult level of husbandry.

  • Enclosures to be cleaned include any occupied outdoor rehabilitation enclosure such as:

    • 100 ft flight pen​

    • 2x 50 ft flight pens

    • 2x raptor mews

    • 6 multi-species enclosures for animals such as:

      • Raccoons

      • Virginia Opossums

      • Foxes

      • *This includes multiple individuals in 1 multi-species enclosures.

  • Deep cleaning of enclosures with recently released patients

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4 Nursery

  • Introduction to animal handling of orphaned species such as Eastern Gray Squirrels, Virginia Opossums, Raccoons, and Eastern Cottontails

  • Transfer of individual animals out of enclosures to be weighed daily

  • Clean enclosures completely & remove soiled bedding, uneaten foods, and stale water

  • Replace with fresh bedding, solid diets (if necessary), fresh water, enrichment, and more

  • Learn techniques to feed formula to specific species

  • Learn to make formulas with special brands and ratios

  • Stimulate neonate individuals as their mother would do in nature

  • Monitor our bird incubator

 

This is typically the highest level that most

volunteers reach. 

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5 Veterinary

  • Aid staff or interns in restraining wildlife patients for exams including:

    • Birds of prey

    • Rabies vector species

  • Cleaning of Intensive Care Unit, Isolation, and Intake enclosures 

  • Encounters with injured animals, which can occasionally be uncomfortable to see

As it is rare for volunteers to be on veterinary duties without prior medical experience (such as Nursing, Vet Tech, etc.), we highly recommend individuals interested in a more in-depth experience for hands-on rehabilitation techniques to apply for our internships!

Raptor Team

  • Our raptor team works with our Red-Shouldered Hawk (Aries) and Barred Owl (Snarky) most, if not all, days of the week. Shift scheduling is determined as a team with other members.

  • Goals of our raptor team are:

    • Collect daily weights

    • Calculate feedings to the gram

    • Provide enrichment

    • Exercise glove training skills

    • Spend quality time with each, inside enclosures or in Education Center

    • Be willing to participate in field trips or daily tours with Aries or Snarky

  • Members must be trained through the Nursery level, described above.

  • Members must apply, be selected, and receive one-on-one training and approval from the Raptor Team Lead.

  • Aries and Snarky are fully flighted, taloned, and have perfect eye-sight (they are imprinted to humans, which is why they are considered non-releasable). While rare, they are capable of showing any discomfort physically and Raptor Team members must be aware of this.

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Education

  • Aid Educators and other staff in daily operation (Wed-Sun) of Education center

  • Guide tours, explain ECWR's history, current projects, ecological theories, biodiversity facts, and unique wildlife of the Emerald Coast, share stories of all current Animal Ambassadors, and answer questions to the best of one's ability

  • Help with private group tours or field trips

  • Maintain clean appearance of Education Center, gift shop, and animal intake station

  • Represent ECWR at off-site booths and community events

  • Does include some interaction opportunities with certain animal ambassadors, after appropriate training

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Enrichment

  • Our enrichment team is still forming as of Winter 2021.

  • Enrichment is any item that provides entertainment, mental or physical stimulation, or active involvement of the item with the animal.

    • Can be food enrichment, like fruits or berries frozen in ice cubes

    • Can be physical enrichment like sprinklers in pools or blowing bubbles

    • Can be active mental tasks or sensory involvement, like nose-safe spices in hay or toys

  • Enrichment is for Animal Ambassadors ONLY

  • Special holiday enrichment activities!
     

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Marine Mammal Stranding Program

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Want to Volunteer in Another Way?

  • Wildlife rescue, capture, and transport 

  • Animal helpline and rescue coordination

  • Habitat building, maintenance, landscaping, special projects, and repairs

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Application Process

Would you like to get your hands dirty!?

**Volunteer Orientations are not open for the public to attend at will. After applying, you must be invited to the next orientation. This is to prevent overflow and to ensure compatibility.**

1. Apply by filling out the Google Forms Volunteer Questionnaire 

2. Await a response if selected to attend our orientation. This response will then contain further instructions on what to do next.