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March 11, 2015

Volunteer at Cape Wildlife Center

Get involved in one of many roles at our wildlife rehabilitation and rescue center

  • Volunteering for the Cape Wildlife Center can include inspiring events such as releasing a rehabilitated herring gull on Cape Cod. The HSUS

  • Trained volunteers, like Carol, work hands-on with animals like this infant opossum. The HSUS

  • Volunteer Sookie helps care for young opossums. The HSUS


The Cape Wildlife Center is no longer accepting applications for 2015. All training sessions for new volunteers will resume next year and we will contact all applicants in early 2016.

About our volunteers

Cape Wildlife Center (CWC) volunteers provide an immeasurable amount of support to our staff in caring for the more than 1,700 animals that pass through our doors annually. In 2014, CWC volunteers logged over 8,000 hours, a number which will surely be surpassed this year.

CWC volunteers include retired professionals, parents with school-aged children, college students, and adults who all have one thing in common: a love of and interest in wildlife. We welcome volunteers who have a positive attitude, boundless energy, and enthusiasm. Volunteers care for a variety of animals, including opossums, owls, rabbits, hawks, raccoons, swans, squirrels, ducks, and skunks.

Cape Wildlife Center location

The center is located in Barnstable, Mass.

Volunteer opportunities

Click on role title to view an expanded position description.

Administration & Special Events Volunteer: Assist Cape Wildlife Center with answering phone calls, patient intake at reception desk, and special events including community festivals

Direct Wildlife Care Volunteer: Provide direct care to wild rehabilitation animals in care at the Cape Wildlife Center (volunteers must complete a minimum of 30 hours as a Wildlife Support Volunteer prior to starting in the Direct Wildlife Care Volunteer role)

Facility Maintenance & Grounds Volunteer: Assist in groundskeeping activities, and general property and gardening maintenance of Cape Wildlife Center

Wildlife Support Volunteer: Assist with the care of wild rehabilitation animals in care at the Cape Wildlife Center

What our volunteers say 

“I love animals and this gives me the chance to work with them.”

“I just love it here.”

“Like the sense of camaraderie and the fulfillment of helping animals.”

“Staff and other volunteers are great.”

“You can be here with the animals and away from all the other stuff in your life.”

“I met a good friend here and I like interacting with all the people.”

“The satisfaction and I feel like I am helping animals and people.”

“Staff respects and helps volunteers.”

“I have learned so much about animals here.”

Benefits of volunteering

CWC volunteers work side-by-side with licensed wildlife rehabilitators; receive continuing animal care training and education opportunities; and have the opportunity to attend CWC wildlife releases, public events, and volunteer social events. They help wildlife in need and make a difference for wildlife, learn about the variety of wildlife species living in our community, and interact with others who have similar interests in wildlife. Benefits also include receiving a CWC volunteer t-shirt to wear during their shift, a discount at the CWC gift shop; and access to information and programs of The Humane Society of the United States.

Becoming a volunteer

Commitment policies

  • Volunteers must be able to work a minimum of one 3-hour shift per week during the busy season (March through October), although they are welcome to continue on indefinitely if they feel it’s a good fit.
  • Hours are variable through the off-season (November through February).


  • We will accept applicants as young as 16 years of age for the majority of our volunteer positions. Volunteers under 18 must have permission from a parent/legal guardian to participate in our program. Teens 16 or 17 years old may work independently after attending orientation with a parent/legal guardian and attending the appropriate training sessions, and they may not leave the property during shifts.
  • Volunteers must meet the requirements of the Essential Capabilities document.
  • Volunteers wishing to work with rabies vector species must have pre-exposure rabies vaccination.
  • Must have reliable transportation and arrive on time for shifts.
  • Please note that individuals who are immune-compromised should not work directly with wildlife.
  • Volunteers are provided shirts to wear when they are working.
  • We cannot accommodate court-mandated community service at the center.
  • Volunteers must pass a criminal background check.
  • We recommend volunteers have a current tetanus inoculation.


  • Carefully review the application and position descriptions and make sure you can make the minimum time commitment before applying. Please note our facility’s location and any travel arrangements you may need to make before applying as a volunteer. There are NO public transportation options, and it is not recommended that volunteers select this site without a personal vehicle.
  • Fill out the volunteer application online.
  • After attending the orientation, participants will be eligible to register for subsequent training sessions the following week.
  • Following an orientation session, a nominal fee of $25 will be due to help cover our training expenses and to cover the costs of the first volunteer t-shirt. (These fees may be waived upon request if they would cause a barrier to an applicant’s ability to become a volunteer; please contact us directly if you would like to discuss the training fees.)
  • Prior to attending training, you will be asked to sign a waiver and release of liability.
  • If we mutually determine this opportunity is a good fit, you will be asked to fill out a form authorizing the background check based on the type of position for which you are applying.
  • Before your first volunteer shift, you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement.

Fill out a volunteer application now

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