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October 25, 2013

Volunteer at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center

Get involved in one of the many roles at our center

  • DuWayne, a volunteer at FFAWC, assists with the release of an eagle. The HSUS

  • Dottie Pakus has been volunteering since 2009 (a San Nicolas Island cat caregiver). The HSUS

  • Cameron Switzer has been volunteering since 2010 (assisting with research). The HSUS

About our volunteers

Volunteers and interns offer invaluable support to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center (FFAWC) in Ramona, Calif. They work with the adoptable San Nicolas Island cats, wildlife in the rehabilitation program, exotic animals in the sanctuary program by assisting with enclosures, enrichment, and even fundraising! Volunteers work independently and in groups, on weekdays and weekends.

Although no animal experience is required, knowledge of local wildlife and/or animal handling skills are highly valued.


The FFAWC is located in northeast San Diego county in  Ramona, Calif.

View Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in a larger map

Volunteer opportunities

Click on role title to view an expanded position description.

Cage Building: Assist staff in designing new cages and aid in the maintenance and repair of existing cages.

Data Entry/Office Assistant: Provide administrative support to staff by helping with common office duties such as data entry, photocopying and answering phones.

Immediate Opportunity: The FFAWC needs Data Entry/Office Assistant volunteers. Knowledge of medical terminology is strongly preferred.

Direct Care—Domestic Cats: Work with our San Nicolas Island cat colony to provide them with a clean and healthy home, then spend some quiet time grooming and socializing with the cats to promote their adoptability.

Direct Care—Wildlife: Assist our knowledgeable staff in the daily rounds of both rehab and sanctuary animals by helping clean the enclosures, prepare diets, and engaging the animals in enrichment and operant condition training.

Horticulture and Garden Team: Maintain healthy foliage in and around the animal enclosures, keep our current gardens flourishing, and help design and install new plantings to provide essential and proper enrichment and environmental stimuli to our animals.

Tournament Committee Member: Participate in the planning and execution of the annual Wildlife Golf Tournament that raises funds to support the work of the FFAWC.

Transporter—Rescues/Releases: Assist with picking up injured wildlife for transport to the FFAWC center, and with releasing into the wild successfully rehabilitated patients.

Volunteer Leader: Help develop the volunteer program at the FFAWC by participating in a volunteer leadership team, helping to deliver volunteer orientations and trainings, and helping to engage volunteers more fully in the work at the center.

What our volunteers say 

I am so thankful that volunteering at The Fund fulfills a lifelong desire to assist in assuring that wild animals continue to populate the wild places that are so vital in maintaining our connection to our natural world. —Rob Roberto, volunteering since 1994

My experience working with the staff and animals at The Fund was incredibly rewarding and I would suggest to anyone interested in learning about true wildlife conservation to spend some time with these phenomenal creatures and their caretakers. —Megan Escalona, summer intern in 2011

Benefits of volunteering

When you become a FFAWC volunteer, you’re giving the animals what they need most: personal attention, direct care, beautiful safe enclosures, clean beds, and a healthy meal. Whether you volunteer for 3 months, 3 years, or 3 decades, the animals at the FFAWC truly appreciate the time and effort you spend with them. Your volunteer experience can be as laid-back or active as you like. Volunteer activities include spending quiet time petting and getting to know your favorite San Nicholas Island cats, teaching a bobcat to enter a carrier on cue, assisting an injured hawk to learn how to fly again, or even bottle-feeding an orphaned skunk. Volunteers can also take on more challenging activities and learn new skills by pairing up with professionals in assisting with recues, re-nesting, landscaping, cage construction, medical examinations, equipment repair, and more.

Becoming a volunteer

Commitment Policies:

  • Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum schedule of one weekly 4-hour shift for three months (or 100 hours).
  • We accommodate various starting times throughout the work day (8 a.m.-6 p.m.), and volunteers can schedule as many as 20 hours per week for regular shifts. 
  • Volunteers may sign up to participate in one-day events and special projects in addition to their regular weekly commitment.


  • Although 18 years of age is required for most volunteer positions, we will accept applicants as young as 16 for limited projects and programs which we will discuss on an individual basis.
  • Applicants 16 and older seeking to complete their Gold or Eagle Scout awards are strongly encouraged to apply. 
  • Volunteers wishing to work with mammals in our rehabilitation program must have proof of a pre-exposure rabies vaccination series (3 shots); however, the vaccine is not required to work with the SNI cats, sanctuary animals or rehabilitation birds.
  • Volunteers must meet the requirements outlined in the Essential Capabilities document.
  • We recommend all volunteers and interns have a current tetanus inoculation.
  • We cannot accommodate court-ordered community service at our Center.
  • Volunteers must pass a criminal background check.


  • 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. You will be contacted by our staff to set up a site-visit and interview.
  • If, after the site visit, we mutually determine this opportunity is a good fit, you will be asked fill out a form authorizing the background check based on the type of volunteer 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.
  • After you are made an official volunteer, all training is individually established based on your skills, interests, and availability.
  • Volunteers receive a free shirt after 50 hours of volunteer service, or can purchase one sooner for $6.50.

Fill out a volunteer application now »

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