Maybe You Need This Too

If you have a strength, talent or desire, we can help you put it to work helping the wildlife in our area.

Opportunities for Volunteering

The Refuge offers volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas including animal rescue, animal care, fundraising, education, and public relations – just to name a few. If you have a strength, talent or desire, we can help you put it to work helping the wildlife in our area.

Volunteering with the Refuge is a rewarding experience. It is extremely satisfying to know that you are directly impacting the lives of animals every day – knowing that your contribution helps release these animals back into their natural habitat and gives them the second chance that they deserve.

Volunteering can be a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun. Volunteering with the Refuge is a great way to give back to our community while meeting and working with a wide variety of people. Volunteer appreciation parties, community events and fundraisers are always fun to attend and participate in.

Learn more about ways you can get involved:

  • Docents
  • Fundraising and Event Committee
  • Wildlife Capture and Rescue Team
  • Wildlife Caregivers
  • Wildlife Transport and Pick-up
  • Stranding Team Volunteers

Volunteer with the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Six categories are recognized, with each having its own set of related opportunities.

Wildlife Caregivers work at the refuge and assist with the day to day operations, including wildlife care, facilities maintenance, and diet preparation. Other actives may include rescues, releases, fostering, animal training, animal enrichment, and rehab care. Wildlife Caregivers undergo training conducted by the volunteer coordinator and the refuge staff; progress through 5 Wildlife Care Volunteer levels, each requiring a set number of hours, higher levels of responsibility, and new skills.

  • Minimum of 8 hours a month required to maintain active volunteer status.
  • Age requirements: 18 and up to complete all five levels.
  • 16 and up working with senior volunteers and staff
  • 12 to 15 may volunteer with a parent or legal guardian

Docents play a critical role as a representatives of the Refuge in classrooms, community events, and other educational settings. Docents participate in our in-house and  outreach educational programs alongside Refuge staff. Other activities include program content develop and operant conditioning training. Docent training will include wildlife handling skills, wildlife transport, and the study of natural history and zoology.

  • Minimum of 8 hours of a month required to maintain active docent status.
  • Age requirements: must be at least 18

Wildlife Capture and Rescue Team are trained to assist Refuge staff with the capture and transport of large animals that have become injured or distressed. Specialized training is required.

  • Age requirements: must be at least 18

Wildlife Transport and Pick-up is great for those who are unable to come to the Refuge on a routine basis, but still want to play an important role in our mission by volunteering to pick up and transport animals in your area to the Refuge.

  • Age requirements: must be at least 18

Fundraising and Event Committee plays a vital role to the refuge’s mission and future. Committee members work to promote the Refuge through fun and exciting communities events and membership drives. Activities include event planning, public relations, sponsorship recruitment, and more.

Stranding Team Volunteers are specifically tasked with responding to marine mammal and sea turtle strandings or injuries along the Emerald Coast. For more information on the stranding team check out The Stranding Center page.

For more information on volunteering contact mpettis@ecwildliferefuge.com.

Volunteer with the Wildlife Rescue Team

The objective of the Rescue Team is to transport wildlife to our clinic as quickly and delicately as possible. When wildlife needs help, the ECWR must rely on trained volunteers from all around the tri-county area for transportation.

Wildlife can be very dangerous and unpredictable. Animals may bite or scratch out of fear. Personal safety is always our number one concern.Therefore we must ask that any member of the public interested in aiding our Rescue Team attend our volunteer orientation to get training in order to assist us in rescues/captures.

During training we cover topics such as:

  • The importance of always wearing gloves when dealing with wild animals.
  • The importance of keeping children and pets AWAY from the animal
  • Why one should NEVER offer food or water to injured wildlife.

We strongly encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering at our wildlife rehab clinic to contact Susan Leveille at 850.650.1880. For additional question regarding the ECWR Wildlife Rescue Team, please contact Brittany Patrick at 850.650.1880.

If you find an injured or orphaned wild animal, please first call the ECWR immediately at 850.650.1880.

Volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center

The Stranding Center’s volunteer training program is designed to educate its volunteer members about basic marine mammal stranding response and rehabilitation. As with any endeavor practical experience will teach you most about the subject. Becoming competent in these fields can take quite some time simply because marine mammal strandings, especially rehabilitation efforts, are very involved. There are a series of classes to complete to be authorized to participate in all aspects of our work. As you complete each class you will be invited to accompany ECWR staff and other trained personnel on responses to dead strandings, necropsies and live strandings as they come up. Your availability is one key to gaining experience!

All volunteers with The Stranding Center must be 18 years or older and have a current tetanus shot.

Check Upcoming Classes for details on the next available class.

For more information on volunteering with The Stranding Team please contact mpettis@ecwildliferefuge.com

Ready to Volunteer?

Download and fill out the application then return it during one of our upcoming Volunteer Orientations.

january 2018

sat13jan9:00 am- 12:00 pmVolunteer Orientation9:00 am - 12:00 pm Okaloosa Island Public Safety Center (fire station), 104 Santa Rosa Blvd., FWB 32548

february 2018

sat10feb9:00 am- 12:00 pmVolunteer Orientation9:00 am - 12:00 pm Okaloosa Island Public Safety Center (fire station), 104 Santa Rosa Blvd., FWB 32548

Other Ways You Can Help