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May 2, 2013

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 accepting volunteer applications for next season in 2014. Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for 2013. All training sessions for new volunteers will resume next year and we will contact all applicants in early 2014.

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 2011, CWC volunteers logged over 6,000 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 general office work, phones, and special events including community festivals and public presentations to interested groups

Direct Wildlife Care Volunteer: Provide direct care to 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 grounds keeping activities and general gardening maintenance of the Cape Wildlife Center

Volunteer Leader: Help develop the volunteer program at The CWC by participating in our volunteer leadership team, assist in delivering volunteer orientations and trainings, and helping to engage volunteers more fully in our work at the center

Wildlife Support Volunteer: Assist with the care of 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 13 years of age for the majority of our volunteer positions. Volunteers under 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian to participate in our program. Youth 13-15 years old must have a parent/legal guardian accompany them at all times. Teens 16 or 17 years old may work independently after attending orientation with a parent/legal guardian and 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 job 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. Staff from the center will contact you to discuss opportunities and to schedule an orientation. Orientation sessions will be held on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 10:00AM and 3:00PM and on Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:00PM and 6:00PM.
  • If, after the orientation, 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.
  • Following the completion of the background check, you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement, a waiver and release of liability.
  • Once you are approved as a volunteer, you will be scheduled for 2–3 training sessions, based on your skills, interests, and availability. We also offer continuing education sessions throughout the year.

Fill out a volunteer application now

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