Become a CROW Volunteer

Volunteers have been the foundation of CROW for more than 50 years! CROW’s success is directly linked to the support and dedication of over 200 volunteers, working in various areas of the organization helping give wildlife a second chance. Without their selfless commitment, CROW would not be able to fulfill its mission. On average, volunteers typically donate 15,000 plus hours of service each year.

Volunteers assist with multiple tasks including rescues, transportation of injured wildlife, cleaning of rehabilitation enclosures, patient feeding, laundry, animal releases, gift shop, education, general maintenance, special events and more!

**Due to ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian, we are ONLY in need of the following volunteers:

  • Volunteer Emergency Rescue and Transport (VERT)

Requirements:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Commit to one shift (anywhere from 3 – 5 hours) a week
  • Available for a minimum of three months
  • Preference is given to those who are consistently available throughout the year

Volunteer Handbook

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Volunteer Emergency Rescue and Transport (VERT)

    CROW provides services for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife throughout Lee County. However, many of the people who find them have never rescued a wild animal before and are not equipped to safely do so. VERTs are volunteers who are “on call” and trained to capture, safely contain, and transport wildlife to CROW.

    Physical Fitness: 3.5/5

    Heat Index: 3/5

  • Drop-Off Point Drivers (Transport only)

    Many of the people who actually find injured animals are unable to bring them to CROW. For this reason, CROW partners with area domestic animal hospitals that act as temporary holding facilities for in-transit patients. Volunteer drop-off-point drivers travel to these locations, pick up patients, and bring them to CROW for treatment.

    Physical Fitness: 1/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

  • Admission Desk

    CROW provides a Wildlife Hotline for the finders of distressed wildlife to call for emergency instruction. First Responder volunteers work like 911 operators and are trained in various animal emergencies to determine if an animal needs help and the best method to get the injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife safely to CROW.

    Physical Fitness: 1/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 5/5

  • Clinic Upstairs (pre-approval or experience required)

    The top floor of CROW hospital holds the intensive and general patient care areas. Volunteers in these areas generally have extensive veterinary experience or are studying to work in the field. These volunteers work alongside CROW’s staff and students to assist with patient care.

    Physical Fitness: 4/5

    Heat Index: 2/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 5/5

  • Baby Room – Patient Care and Cage Cleaning

    Our babies require around-the-clock feeding, whether it be baby bird season during the spring, or baby squirrel season during the fall. You will work cooperatively with other volunteers, staff, and students to provide daily care such as feeding, cleaning, and enrichment. You will also help with laundry, dishes, and overall organization of the hospital.

    Physical Fitness: 3/5

    Heat Index: 2/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 4/5

  • Laundry and Dishes

    CROW’s patients are stressed, often in pain, and fearful. Clean laundry for patient handling and for the comfort of the animals and the cleanliness of recovery cages is critical. Towels keep patients and staff safe during treatment. Volunteers are responsible for making sure that the hospital (both upstairs and downstairs) is readily stocked with clean laundry and dishes at all times. This responsibility is shared among all students, staff and volunteers but during busy season, laundry volunteers are invaluable.

    Physical Fitness: 3/5

    Heat Index: 3/5

  • Rehabilitation - Patient Care and Cage Cleaning

    Outside rehabilitation is the last step in the recovery process for all CROW patients. Before being released, patients must build up their muscles and work on skills they will need in the wild. You will work cooperatively with our rehabilitation staff and other volunteers to feed, clean, and enrich patients in our outdoor enclosures. You will also help with laundry, dishes, and overall organization downstairs in the hospital.

    Physical Fitness: 5/5

    Heat Index: 5/5

  • Gopher Tortoise Grazing

    Gopher Tortoises are admitted to the hospital primarily due to vehicle collisions. Before they can be released into the wild, these animals must be able to show signs of mobility and appetite. Volunteers provide supervision necessary for each patient to receive at least one hour of grazing a day. This time acts as physical therapy for the tortoises. While grazing, volunteers complete the “Grazing Chart,” noting the patient’s progress.

    Physical Fitness: 3/5

    Heat Index: 4/5

  • Facilities & Grounds – Maintenance/Repair/Upkeep

    CROW operates on a 12 acre campus comprised of the wildlife hospital and its outside enclosures, student housing, and the Visitor Education Center (VEC). These volunteers perform duties to ensure the property and buildings are properly functioning, safe, and clean. Duties may include pressure washing, weather treatment, and overall reinforcement of enclosures’ foundations, plumbing and electric repairs and maintenance, raking, mowing grass, trimming trees, weeding and planting native vegetation.

    Physical Fitness: 4.5/5

    Heat Index: 5/5

  • Gift Shop

    The Gift Shop volunteers welcome visitors to the center, provide a brief overview of CROW and help answer any questions. The proceeds from admissions and the gift shop sales directly support hospital patient care. Gift Shop volunteers ring up sales and admission fees, assist with product selection/customer service and help with cleaning and re-stocking shelves and displays.

    Physical Fitness: 1/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 3/5

  • Visitor Education Center

    The VEC is one of CROW’s most vital teaching tools. Visitors receive the CROW hospital experience through interactive displays, live camera feeds and animal exhibits. Volunteers will receive a specific docent training to be able to explain VEC displays to visitors to assist their understanding and appreciation of CROW’s work to rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife.

    Physical Fitness: 2/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 3/5

     

  • Administrative Help (mailings, data entry, etc.)

    These volunteers help support the CROW administrative staff with various duties -from stuffing envelopes, answering phones, and data entry to compiling lists and doing research. Computer skills are desired but not necessary. Schedules are worked out individually with each volunteer.

    Physical Fitness: 1/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 3/5

  • In-house and Outreach Education/ Presentation

    Education is one method CROW employs to help people understand the intersectionality among animals, people, and the environment. CROW offers daily presentations in the education center and attends many events off-site for adults and youth groups. Volunteers work with the Education Coordinator and participate in these programs after becoming familiar with CROW, its mission, and presentation content.

    Physical Fitness: 2/5

    Heat Index: 1/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 4/5

  • Events

    These volunteers help at CROW’s various fundraising events. From the Taste of the Islands to our Wild About CROW gala, CROW could not hold these important events without support from our volunteers. Duties include set-up, clean-up, ticket taking, cash handling, etc. No experience is required.

    Physical Fitness: 3/5

    Heat Index: 4/5

    Problem Solving/Communication: 4/5

Steps to become a volunteer:

  1. Complete and submit a volunteer application online.
  2. Attend a volunteer orientation. Use the Sign Up Genius Link below to register for an orientation.
  3. Your shift will be scheduled by CROW staff.
  4. Begin volunteering. The first 4 weeks are considered your training period and must be consecutive.
  5. Honor your commitment by volunteering one shift per week for at least the first 3 months. (This includes the training period).
  6. Enjoy giving back and the realization that YOU are making a difference for our wildlife!

Application

 

  • "I have been volunteering at CROW for six years as a docent in the Visitor Center where I not only enjoy the interaction with visitors from all over the world but also how the CROW team obviously values and appreciates what I do. We share our planet with billions of creatures, and it is rewarding to be part of an organization doing so much to care for them and promote the importance of doing our best to coexist in harmony with wildlife."

    Ed Nickson, Seasonal Volunteer

  • "CROW-18 years and counting for me! Is there anything better to do in this world?!?! Saving animals- awesome and soooo rewarding!!!! Plus, I clean up their poop on Mondays!"

    Denny Toll

  • "I enjoy being a docent at CROW because it allows me to use my skills as an educator, see firsthand the excitement and curiosity of young children, teenagers and families, and answer their questions about wildlife. As a resident of Sanibel Island, CROW has given me the opportunity to learn much more about our island and its wildlife than I would have ever imagined. The staff and volunteers share a wonderful spirit of camaraderie, a love for precious wildlife, and their habitats making C.R.O.W. a special place to be part of."

    Frannie Franc

  • "I have volunteered at CROW since 1999- cleaning outdoor cages, feeding the babies, being a VERT (volunteer emergency rescue transport), going out on rescues, answering the phone, serving on the Board, and now I’m an “Old Crow” working as a docent in the VEC. My time at CROW has shown me how important it is for us to protect our environment and the creatures who make it their home!"

    Debbie Friedlund

  • "Over the years I have performed many functions at CROW from laundry to bird rescue. No matter what one does, it is so rewarding to know you are helping the dedicated professionals to care for thousands of injured, sick, or orphaned wild animals every year."

    Deborah Marston