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Volunteer

See Where You Can Help

RSVP for Volunteer Orientation

ECWR has multiple repeat volunteer opportunities available for those interested in helping us achieve our mission. As of June 2023, we have changed our volunteer orientation process. All volunteers must RSVP for orientation (there is limited space at each session). Orientation includes a presentation detailing the different volunteer opportunities available and a tour of our facility (wear shoes you can walk through sand in!).

Upcoming Volunteer Orientations:

  • Tuesday, November 14th at 1:30pm 

There is a small volunteer fee for repeat volunteers that covers the cost of your volunteer shirt and any training (this fee is not due at the first orientation).

If you are interested in one time volunteer opportunities, you do not need to attend orientation. At this time, one-time volunteer opportunities are limited to our once-a-month community work days. See details below!

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You can also find information about other/special volunteer opportunities at the bottom of the page.

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Animal Care Volunteering

Required Qualification:

  • 18 years or older

  • Morning availability: volunteer shifts are from 8am-12pm (noon)

  • Must commit to working 12 hours (three 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

Watch the video below to learn about Animal Care volunteering.

Things to Know

For those interested in volunteering in the animal care program, you will be required to submit an application and attend an additional orientation. You will have access to the application after attending the first general orientation that you can RSVP at the top of this page. The animal care volunteering program is very competitive and it can take multiple months before our staff has the opportunity to add you to our training rotation. This is largely due to the rigorous and extensive training program that all animal care volunteers go through! Animal care volunteers work directly with our ambassador animals (and eventually our rehabilitation patients), so it's incredibly important that each volunteer is following ECWR's practices and procedures correctly.

One-Time Volunteer Opportunities: Community Work Days

Community Support Days are the perfect short-term opportunity for families, individuals, and more to earn some extra volunteering hours. There's no orientation or requirements to be able to participate, other than signing up ahead of time and come with a positive attitude ready for some dirty work! Our community work day teams typically take on projects such as habitat builds, habitat maintenance, monofilament line collector construction, and general maintenance and beautification.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Group Volunteer Days: If you're interested in scheduling a volunteer day with your company, organization, or other group, please reach out to our Executive Director at Director@EmeraldCoastWildlifeRefuge.org (click the email to auto-populate the subject line).

Eagle Scout Projects: If you're interested in completing your Eagle Scout Project at ECWR, please reach out to our Executive Director at Director@EmeraldCoastWildlifeRefuge.org (click the email to auto-populate the subject line). These projects can take some time to set up, so the longer you have to complete it, the better!

Bright Future Hours: Are you a 16 or 17 year old student looking for Bright Future Hours? Join our Education & Outreach or Maintenance & Beautification volunteer teams! You can do so by RSVPing for volunteer orientation at the top of this page. If you're looking for one-time volunteer opportunities, RSVP for our community work days!

Marine Mammal Stranding Team

Required Qualifications:

  • UWF Marine Biology Student (Undergraduate or Graduate)

  • ​18 years or older

  • Must be able to stand, sit, and walk for more than 30 minutes

  • Able to safely lift 50+ pounds

  • Must be willing and able to work outdoors in any Florida weather conditions, 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

  • Must participate in deceased recoveries and necropsies

  • Able to contribute a minimum of 8 hours a month​

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