• Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

August 8, 2014

Volunteer at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center

Get involved in one of the many roles at our center

  • Volunteer Central is located in our Main Office and displays the training status and merit badges earned by our volunteers. Barry Schwartz/For The HSUS

  • Cat Volunteers work with the San Nicolas Island cats, learning how to use positive rewards to assist in molding the behaviors of felines. Barry Schwartz/For The HSUS

  • Advanced Wildlife Volunteers are trained to release patients like this red-tailed hawk. Kathy Milani/The HSUS

  • Advanced Wildlife Volunteers can assist in the Medical Ward with intensive care patients like this orphaned bobcat. Kath Milani/The HSUS

  • Event Volunteers work our special events and help us with fundraising. The HSUS

  • Construction Volunteers assist us with habitat repairs and maintaining the facilities. The HSUS

About our volunteers

Volunteers and interns offer invaluable support to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center (FFAWC) in Ramona, Calif. All volunteers, regardless of area of focus, assist us with our efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and release native wildlife. Volunteers work independently and in groups, on weekdays and weekends. There are numerous educational opportunities available to our volunteers, whether for personal growth or to aid in building a résumé full of animal husbandry and welfare skills.

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. All downloadable files are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

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.

Direct Care—Domestic Cats: Work with our San Nicolas Island cat colony to provide them with a clean and healthy home, and spend 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 to clean the enclosures, prepare diets, and engage the animals in enrichment and operant condition training. Note that all wildlife care volunteers are required to start with domestic cats and complete basic training requirements before being promoted to wildlife areas.

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.

Transporter—Rescues/Releases: Assist with picking up injured wildlife for transport to the FFAWC center, as well as 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, 2011summer intern

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 three months, three years, or three 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 carefully observing animal behaviors, teaching a bobcat to enter a carrier on cue, assisting an injured hawk in learning how to fly again, or even tending to an orphaned skunk. Volunteers can also take on more challenging activities and learn new skills by pairing up with professionals in assisting with rescues, 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 three-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 up to 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.
  • Volunteers wishing to work with mammals in our rehabilitation program must have proof of a pre-exposure rabies vaccination series; however, the vaccine is not required to work with the domestic cats, wild birds or reptiles.
  • 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 or previously arranged carpooling.
  • Fill out the volunteer application online. You will be contacted by our staff about an upcoming orientation. (Orientations for 2014 are full, you will be contacted when 2015 dates are available.)
  • 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.
  • 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. Training takes place in multiple ways: Online courses, written workbooks and hands-on workshops will be arranged for all volunteers to complete the required training.
  • Volunteers must adhere to a strict dress code for safety and security; details will be provided during orientation.

Fill out a volunteer application now »

  • Sign Up

    Get news and updates about the animals at our sanctuaries and wildlife rehab facilities

  • Log in using one of your preferred sites
    Login Failure
  • Take Action
  • Help us rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in Ramona, Calif. Volunteer

  • Shop