Volunteer at the Center
Volunteers are found at every level of the organization and no previous experience is required to become a volunteer. Donating your time to the Conservators Center gives you the opportunity to be a part of wildlife education and conservation. You will gain unique and invaluable experience by working alongside our staff, build unforgettable memories, and develop a deep understanding of captive management and wild conservation of the species in our care.
The first and most important step toward volunteering is to visit the Center for one of our public tours. This will help you better understand our mission and give you an opportunity to learn more about our animals and community. After your tour, please submit a volunteer application below.
Volunteers Are At the Heart of Who We Are
What Will Be Expected of Me?
The Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and relies heavily on its volunteer force to fulfill its mission, so the decision to volunteer at the Center should not be taken lightly. We ask that each volunteer make a commitment to at least 2 shifts each month that are at least 4 hours each. Many of the tasks volunteers assist with on site require extensive training and continuous updating. If you are looking for a casual drop-in schedule, volunteering at the Center may not be a good fit for you.
What Do Volunteers Do?
Daily volunteer assignments depend on individual capabilities and daily staffing needs. A typical workday may include food preparation for our residents, assisting keeper staff with enclosure cleaning, grounds and facility maintenance and construction; or assisting our Visitor Services team in the gift shop and with tours, or working on an IT or administrative project. Volunteers are also critically important to the success of our special events (such as Tree Toss), including preparation, helping host the event itself, and clean-up.
Will I Get To Touch an Animal?
By volunteering your time at the Center, you will help to improve the lives of our animals and further our mission of educating the public about their wild counterparts. In the process, you will have the opportunity to learn the individual personalities of our residents. However, volunteers should expect NO hands-on contact with any animal at any time.
What Are The Requirements to Volunteer?
All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and possess a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. No experience is required to volunteer at the Center.
Volunteering in animal care gives you the ability to work alongside our keepers as they provide care for the animals we all love. Though all volunteering is greatly appreciated, we are particularly shorthanded on the weekdays, so please make sure to let us know if you want to come out and help us during the week!
Animal care volunteers participate in a range of activities, including maintaining and cleaning the habitats and grounds, preparing animal diets, helping our keepers deliver meals to our residents, and assisting with field kitchen clean-up.
All animal care volunteers must:
- be 18 years of age or older
- be able to lift and carry at least 30 pounds
- be able to stand for at least 4 hours
- be able to climb over and under enrichment built for the animals
- be able and willing to work in unpleasant weather
- commit to working at least 2 days each month for at least 4 hours each day
- be able to begin work in animal care at 8 am each shift
Because there is so much to remember about our animals’ diets, our safety protocols, and our constantly evolving and improving standards of care, animal care volunteers who have spent fewer than 16 hours in animal care in the last 2 months may be required to repeat volunteer orientation before returning to work in animal care.
These requirements are for new, existing, and former volunteers; and for interns who wish to continue their experience with us after they complete their internship. Our goal is to ensure you have a quality experience, and that the Conservators Center is maximizing your time and energy.
Our keeper days run from 8am to 4:00pm. Please note that we ask that you complete at least 4 hours in a day, as this is the minimum amount of time that will allow you to develop your skills and understand how things work. Everything our animal care volunteers do to help our keepers is important, so even half days can make a huge impact for the animals!
Our animal care day typically follows this schedule from 8am-4pm:
Preparing food and feeding it to the animals
Cleaning animal enclosures
Cleaning up the field kitchen area (washing dishes, bins, etc.)
Preparing food for the next day
Cleaning common areas
General maintenance tasks
The vast majority of the need for volunteers in the Visitors’ Center is on Friday-Sunday, though other weekday volunteering options are available in other supportive roles. While volunteering in Visitor Services does not require certain arrival times, we do require that all shifts are at least 4 hours in length, and we ask that volunteers complete at least 2 shifts per month.
8am – Stocking the gift shop, getting golf carts in place for tours, preparing treat buckets for animals, and ensuring the building is ready for visitors.
9am – Visitors begin arriving. They have lots of questions, and we’ll teach you how to answer them. Visitors have to be checked in, sign release forms, and then kept entertained while they await their tour.
In addition to helping prepare visitors for their tours, we also like to have a volunteer accompany each tour group to help keep visitors together as a group and to address any needs that arise (for example, escorting visitors back to the Visitors’ Center to use the restroom or driving the golf cart for individuals who may not otherwise be able to tour our facility).
10am-9pm (end times are depending on the season) – Ongoing tours, plus a host of projects that the staff works on while groups are out on tour. This includes preparing merchandise for sale in the gift shop, filing, tidying up the building, and other various tasks.
If you have computer or IT experience, organizational skills, or administrative skills to help support the foundation structure that keeps the Conservators Center functioning, let us know.
Major events are critical for the Conservators Center: They raise much-needed funds and they give visitors a different way to experience the Conservators Center. Volunteers at events may assist with set-up, serve as event volunteers to assist visitors in a variety of ways,, and assist with breakdown. Without the appropriate number of event volunteers, we are not able to have major events like Tree Toss).
To optimize your role on event days, we require that all event volunteers complete 16 hours volunteering at the Conservators Center. That 16-hour minimum can be met by volunteering in any area. It is also a great way to be a part of some of the best days at the Conservators Center.
Our construction and maintenance department keeps our park and grounds looking great and ensures that the animals have their environmental needs met.
The more help we have, the more we (and you) can do to facilitate additional projects for the animals, such as enclosure construction, facilities maintenance, and making fun animal enrichment.