Internship, Staff, and Volunteer Application
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INTERNS ONLY: Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center is a non-profit rehabilitation center and veterinary clinic for native Virginia wildlife, caring for around over 2,600 patients a year and averaging about 250+ different species a year. This internship is open to those interested in the field of wildlife rehabilitation or wildlife science and is a great opportunity to gain skills and knowledge pertaining to the field. Interns have opportunities to learn proper animal husbandry, hand-feeding orphaned mammals and birds, proper capture, restraint, and handling methods for each species, nutrition, legal regulations in regards to wildlife, natural history, ethical solutions to human/wildlife conflicts, and more. Those who commit to this experience and prove themselves to be disciplined, self-starting, hardworking, and willing learners have additional opportunities to learn advanced techniques (time permitting) such as basic introduction to microaging birds by plumage (a bird banding technique), and observing and assisting staff and our veterinary team with more advanced medical cases. Interns must be at least 18 years old by the start of the internship and have a Virginia address in accordance with regulations given by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to work with wildlife. Interns are required to work a minimum of 288 hours. Our most common commitment breaks down to a 12 week period of time between April through September. Over 12 weeks Interns work a minimum of 4 shifts per week (totaling a minimum of  30 hours per week, divided into 6 hour shifts), but many choose to work more shifts to gain a more in-depth experience. Overnight accommodations can be made at our facility in our designated Intern Room, which has bunks beds and a private bathroom including a shower, especially for those who commute and would like to save on gas money and have their shifts back to back. We operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week during peak baby season (April-September). The morning shift is from 8am to 2pm, and the afternoon shift is from 2pm-8pm. Our most common commitment is that Interns work four of these six hour shifts. Working the whole shift is required and interns may not leave until all the tasks of their shift have been completed and they have checked out with the Shift Leader. Exceptions (such as leaving right at 2pm to make a doctor’s appointment, etc) must have prior approval by the Volunteer Coordinator. Interns must be flexible with their work schedule around holidays. Preference for the internship is given to those who have weekend availability and/or flexible schedule, but we’ve taken interns without these requirements as well. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the internship is not currently paid, as is the standard for wildlife rehabilitation internships across the United States. Due to this, and understanding that many people have to work, take summer classes, or have other needs, we will work with you and try to be flexible with your needs provided you meet ours. We try to schedule one month out, so you will most likely know your schedule at least a month or a month and a half in advance to accommodate for any changes. Please be aware that we take our internship commitment very seriously. We commit our time and resources to train and educate our interns and expect that our interns take this commitment seriously. You should view your internship as a job commitment. We reserve the right to terminate your internship for any reason; examples of reasons we deem appropriate to terminate an internship include: no call no show, calling out with less than 24 hour notice multiple times, refusal or avoidance of basic cleaning duties, etc… Only those with rabies pre-vaccination are allowed to work with high-risk rabies vectors, this includes foxes, bats, groundhogs, bobcats, and more. We take preference for intern applicants that have their pre-exposure rabies vaccine, but again, this is not a requirement. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine please check with your health insurance provider, pharmacy, or local health department. We offer a once in a lifetime experience and the privilege of being able to work hands-on with a wide range of native wildlife in ways that few other experiences will. This experience is extremely practical and hands-on and there is never a day that you are not having direct contact with wild animals. Plus, you will experience the joy of releasing some of the patients you worked on with your own hands back into the wild! If you are a self-motivated individual who is passionate or interested about the native wildlife of our region and the conservation of those wild things and wild places, please fill out the below form. After submitting the intern application, we will review it, and if everything looks good we will invite you for an in-person interview at the Center so you can see the facility in person and ask any and all questions you may have during that time. Any questions or inquiries can be emailed to with the title “Internship Inquiry. Attn: Kaitlyn)” and we are more than happy to answer them.
VOLUNTEERS ONLY: Volunteers can be year-round or one of two seasonal schedules (Spring-Summer or Fall-Spring) but either way we ask that volunteers commit to one shift a week every week for the majority of weeks out of the year due to the amount of training required. We are open every day of the year, including holidays. Our hours change slightly depending on the time of year. For example, during April-August, we operate 12 hours a day every day, with the morning shift from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. and the afternoon shift is from 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. As the center slows down in the winter months, the morning shift is from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and the afternoon shift will shift depending on the kinds of animals we have. Volunteers are allowed to volunteer outside of the structured time on a case-by-case basis and with prior approval. If you have any concerns or questions, email the center and the Volunteer Coordinator will speak to you. Note it is not required that you work every day that you indicate you are available. This just helps us determine what would be the best time for you to come in based on our need for volunteers and your availability. You will be notified in advance before being added to the schedule. If your availability changes please notify the Volunteer Coordinator. Any questions or inquiries can be emailed to with the title “Volunteer Inquiry. Attn: Kaitlyn)” and we are more than happy to answer them.
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