Junior Volunteer Opportunities
Thank you for your interest in Sonoma County Wildlife'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. Once a child has learned some skills and can work independently, parents may drop off their child. This is only acceptable on a case-by-case basis.
Children who are looking for a hands-on-experience with animals, are ENCOURAGED to register in our Predator Exclusion Education Program (PEEP). This is a fee based program which is necessary to keep the program in existence. We rely heavily on community support for many of our programs.
Children aged 5-12 can participate in this area with continuous parental supervision. Children between the ages of 13 and 17 may participate without parents on a case by case basis. Children who can drive themselves with a valid CDL, may work without parent involvement as long as the staff and parents agree the child could be successful on their own.
**Please Note: Junior Volunteers (Volunteers between the ages of 13 and 18) are not permitted to handle or work with wildlife at the wildlife center. They may work with infant wildlife, with their adults supervising and supporting them as part of our foster care program.
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 annually. It gives you a chance to consider if Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is the right organization for you. If you are going to join the PEEP program, you will need to take a PEEP class. 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 located HERE.
Junior Volunteer Programs
PEEP Animal Care: 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 $300. 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.
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 $150.00 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 S.C.W.R. 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 S.C.W.R. 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 call us at 707-992-0274 should you have further questions or would like to schedule a time to start volunteering.
Volunteer Application Available HERE