All applications received will be reviewed within five business days. If more information is necessary to determine if there is a potential "win-win", the applicant will be contacted by email to determine next steps. If, upon initial review, there is not an apparent match of skills to needs, the applicant will be notified by email. (If you apply to any volunteer program opportunity, please check your email SPAM or "Junk" folders for our replies! Thank you!)
Volunteer opportunities - click on any line to explore:
Animal Care Volunteer Program
Black Pine's volunteer animal care program is an opportunity open to those:
18 years of age or older
who have their own, reliable transportation
who will correspond routinely by email and/or text messages with our staff
who will utilize Internet-based resources to commit work schedules
who will commit to training program requirements
who wiill commit to four hours of work once a month after training
who will read and follow written instruction
who will listen and follow verbal instruction
who will strive to work independently once trained on a task
who will respect and adhere to all safety and risk management protocols
New trainees will be assigned tasks deemed appropriate by Lead Keepers. Once a trainee has completed training and is authorized to complete any task(s) alone they may request that task assignment when they sign up to volunteer. Over time, volunteers can become trained to work in multiple animal care "routes".
Most animal care routes will require a training commitment of at least three work shifts over a one month period, after which the time commitment drops back to one work at least one 4-5 hour shift per month to remain current with constant changes and updates to care routines.
We may not be actively recruiting to fill positions unless we have gaps to fill. Not all applicants may be invited to become trainees. We never intentionally ignore applicants, but sometimes our limited time and resources causes us to focus on other priorities. If you apply and don't hear back, we urge you to call to follow up at (260) 636-7383.
If we don't call you in right away, rest assured, when a gap comes up and new volunteers are needed we do review applications and will reach out suitable candidates. We purge applications every year, so if you have applied in the past and were not contacted, please apply again if still interested.
Every animal care route will definitely require an ability to clean .... lots of cleaning! Animal husbandry volunteers routinely clean cages and habitats (using hoses, floor scrub brushes, hand brushes, squeegees, shovels, rakes, etc.) prepare diets for animals, clean food and water pans and buckets, make animal enrichment items, assist with delivery of medications, and general housekeeping throughout the compound. At no time are animal care volunteers engaging in direct contact with animals for their own enjoyment - and this facility is a "protected contact" facility; there is no contact with potentially dangerous animals allowed (including primates, canines, or wild felines).
More experienced applicants, those looking to add to their professional resumes, those able and willing to invest the time required to be properly trained (at least 50 hours) "on the job" at Black Pine, may be promoted to servicing small carnivores or assist Lead Keepers with large carnivores and bears. Very few volunteers are promoted to a position of primary care for large carnivores or bears, and only after at least 500 hours of service, with board approval. Therefore "large mammals" is not an 'entry-level' volunteer opportunity at Black Pine.
Diet Prep: If you enjoy working with food and/or in the kitchen, you might enjoy working in our commissary! We need to prepare diets for the wide range of reptiles, birds, primates, and other omnivores and herbivores living at the sanctuary each and every day, 365 days a year. Diet prep can take from two to four hours each day, depending on the level of knowledge and experience. Once fully trained, preparing diets can become a fun way to enrich the animals lives by selecting from the various foods in inventory, preparing it in different ways, and even exercising creativity in how the food is delivered (in a box, a pan, a paper bag?!).
Guest Service Volunteer Program
Admissions & Gift Store Attendant: Spending time in the air-conditioned Wolf Den Gifts & Things, can be an enjoyable environment for volunteers who enjoy engaging with people and who want to help us carry out our educational mission. Our attendants are responsible for welcoming visitors upon arrival and providing orientations to help set up appropriate expectations and preserve an appropriate environment for the animals. When appropriate and desirable, attendants may be trained to transact admissions and merchandise sales at our computerized Point of Sale (POS) system. Opportunities vary by season, but are available routinely from May through October.
Docent / Chaperone: Those would enjoy being around the animals, but perhaps cannot meet the physical demands or time commitment necessary to be an animal caregiver might enjoy being a docent/chaperone on the grounds. Our docents are responsible for chaperoning the grounds during high traffic times to help ensure all guests are behaving in a manner that is appropriate around the animals. Over time, we expect docent/chaperones to learn the animals' histories and be able to answer common questions to help enhance our visitors' experiences. Docent/chaperones must be available to cover at least two shifts per month, at a minimum of two hours per shift (or four
hours/month). Shifts are typically available on weekends from May - October between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and select weekdays during June, July and August between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Tour Guide: Those inspired by the personal stories our animal residents provide may enjoy helping us educate guests about the exotic pet trade, entertainment industry, and other circumstances that drive our mission. Tour Guides are needed routinely from May through October, with most programs falling between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Spring and fall bring school groups, while summer days bring a mix of adults and children, individual, families, and groups. Groups may range from a few people to a maximum of 50, per tour. Tour guides are provided a portable public address system (voice amplifier), with headset microphone, in order to address groups of 12 or more. Training resources are provided to build and hone your own individual tour presentation, though some basic mission-centric facts are consistently covered by all tour guides.