Volunteering at the Wildlife Clinic

Upcoming virtual training sessions

The Wildlife Clinic will resume new volunteer sessions in the fall. Check back for updates.

The Wildlife Clinic treats most native Pennsylvania species of small mammals, birds, raptors, reptiles, and amphibians, and relies heavily on our team of dedicated volunteers to maintain our facility and provide high-quality, consistent care for more than 2000 injured, ill, and orphaned wild animals each year. With only a small staff, we can’t do this work alone, and with the support of our community we can make a difference for so many wild lives.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a challenging, rewarding, demanding, exhilarating, and exhausting field, and it is not for everyone. Volunteers wishing to work at the Wildlife Clinic require so much more than just a love for animals.

Regardless of your area of interest, previous experience level, or current skill set, there may be a place at the Wildlife Clinic for you. If you support the work we are doing and want to be a part of our team, please carefully review the volunteer roles currently available before applying.

Applicants must first attend an Information Session, read and sign our volunteer agreement, and complete online ethics and safety courses before beginning any work at the clinic. For more information about our volunteer program and requirements, please carefully review the sections below.

Working with wildlife is both a privilege and an enormous responsibility. While our application and training process may seem complex, wildlife rehabilitation is strictly regulated by state and federal laws and the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center takes our responsibility to the animals under our care very seriously.

Clinic Support

Animal Care

Facilities Maintenance


Wildlife Hotline

Clinic Support (ages 16+)

Time Commitment: Minimum of two 4-hour shifts per month.

Clinic Support volunteers are the foundation of daily clinic operations. Members of this team carry out essential tasks that do not involve hands-on animal treatment, allowing Animal Care staff and volunteers to dedicate their time to individual patients. This program is open to volunteers aged 16 years and up, and is a prerequisite for all Animal Care training.

The Clinic Support Team assists with maintaining a clean and organized facility and tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Washing dishes and feeding implements
  • Cleaning and sanitizing enclosures and caging
  • Washing and disinfecting floors and counters
  • Washing and folding laundry
  • Cage and enclosure set-up and preparation
  • Diet and nutrition preparation

Animal Care (ages 18+)

Prerequisites: Clinic Support

Time Commitment: Minimum one 4-hour shift per week (20 hours per month).

Animal Care volunteers assist staff with the direct care of wildlife patients. Responsibilities increase with experience and demonstrated commitment, and skills training will depend on seasonal needs. No prior veterinary or animal handling experience is needed. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Reliability and ability to adhere to a strict shift schedule is essential.

The Animal Care Team will work closely with the rehabilitation staff as they perform daily tasks including:

  • Meal preparation and distribution
  • Assisting staff with capture and restraint of patients
  • Cage and enclosure set-up and maintaining proper environment
  • Record daily weights and food intake
  • Monitoring progress of patients
  • Hand-feeding orphaned birds and mammals
  • Continued assistance with Clinic Support tasks

Animal Care training is divided into different levels to build volunteers' skills and knowledge base over time. There is so much to learn with animal care that it is easy to get overwhelmed, so each volunteer will progress at their own speed based on completion of training activities and the recommendations of staff and senior volunteer mentors.

Facilities Maintenance

The wildlife clinic building, cages, and surrounding grounds are constantly in need of basic upkeep and repairs to ensure the property is properly functioning, safe, and clean. Basic experience with hand tools and lawn equipment is recommended but not required.

The Maintenance Team will work with the Land and Facilities staff for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education to provide the following services:

  • Pressure washing
  • Minor enclosure repairs (using moderate power tools, hand tools, etc.)
  • Raking, mowing, weed-eating grounds and enclosures
  • Landscaping (pulling weeds and vines, pruning trees)
  • Planting native vegetation
  • Replacement of light bulbs, air filters, etc.


The wildlife clinic receives patients from all around the Philadelphia area. It can be a challenge to get animals in need from their found location into the clinic, as finders are not always able to bring them right away. The Transport team forms a bridge between finders and the clinic, ensuring animals get the care they need in a timely fashion. This role does not involve any direct handling of the animals, and volunteers commit to shifts on an as-needed basis.

Members of the Transport team will pick up animals that are already securely contained and will bring them to the Clinic. The Transport team may also transport animals from the clinic to other wildlife rehabilitation centers or assist with releases.

Wildlife Hotline

Time Commitment: Minimum one 4-hour shift per week (20 hours per month)

The clinic runs a 24-hour hotline for wildlife-related questions and concerns. We receive thousands of calls each year, and during the busy season may field more than fifty calls in a single day. Our hotline receives calls from across the country and with all manner of concerns, from what to do with an injured or orphaned animal to requests for natural history information.

Staffing the hotline is a rewarding experience but requires dedication and significant training commitment. This is one of the most challenging parts of what we do, as you never know what question or concern will be coming from the other end of the line. Working the hotline is not for everyone, but it is a vital service for the public.

The Wildlife Hotline team will work primarily off-site. While Clinic Support training is not a prerequisite, it is helpful to have experience working in the clinic, and we encourage all Hotline volunteers to complete their Clinic Support training when we are able to offer in-person volunteer opportunities again.

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