Volunteer Opportunities

Today, we will reach into Peace River Wildlife Center’s mailbag.  We often get similar questions and requests from many supporters, so let’s address a few of those in a manner whereby all can benefit from the answer.

The question I hear most frequently, “Can you just shut up?!”  The answer is, “No.”  Next question.

A great group of folks live at Burnt Store Lakes and they want to know how they can help even more to support PRWC’s efforts.  Thank you for asking and for helping us spread the word about PRWC’s education efforts by printing articles and advice on living with wildlife in your newsletter, the Heron Herald.

During the summer months PRWC is especially in need of volunteers.  Well over 50% of our volunteer work force is comprised of seasonal residents, who are all up north now shoveling snow or fighting polar bears or something.  I’m not really sure what people do north of Sarasota, which is about the northern extent of my geographical knowledge.  I do know that they are not here, shoveling bird poo and fighting mosquitos with the rest of us (year) rounders.

One of the most important jobs our volunteers do is habitat cleaning and maintenance.  We start every morning by cleaning each cage, habitat and surrounding area, from 8-11a.m.  Seven days a week.  365 days a year.  This is one of our most flexible positions.  Once trained, our volunteer cleaners may commit to a specific day of the week or just show up whenever they feel the need to be abused.  Er, appreciated, I meant appreciated!  It is a hot, sticky, dirty, buggy job; but you get to go into the cages with the birds and come to know them on a personal level.  Would you have thought that each of our resident birds has his or her own personality?  This is one of our most physically demanding and yet rewarding positions.

Some of the more structured volunteer positions include tour guides, gift shop clerks, and hospital helpers.  We request that volunteers in these areas commit to a specific shift every week so that we can be assured that these areas are covered.  Having only nine paid employees, a mere three of whom are full-time, PRWC relies on our volunteers for the day to day functioning of our facility.  Of course we are able to work around vacations and appointments.  We realize normal people have lives outside of PRWC.

Other opportunities available for folks who want to help but cannot commit to a schedule are sewing, cooking, woodworking and periodic maintenance projects.  We are always in need of cage pads and cozies for our baby mammals.  Patterns and fabric can be provided.  PRWC feeds over 20 different species many of whom have distinct dietary needs, so some of our food preparation is done in the homes of our volunteers.  Minimal equipment is required and directions, recipes and ingredients can be provided for anyone who wants to help with food prep.  As a 20-year-old facility situated right next to salt water, PRWC always has something that needs to be repaired or replaced.  Under the guidance of our amazing maintenance coordinator, Gunnar, a rag tag crew of volunteers keeps the place up and running and looking (and smelling) wonderful, even if it is held together by duct tape and spit!

PRWC is always in need of help to transport injured and orphaned animals to the Center when found by citizens that are unable to bring them to us.  A little more training is needed for anyone who would like to rescue animals for us also.  We also need help at outreach events, but most of those take place during season.

One of the easiest ways to help PRWC is by shopping.  Our wish list can be found on our web site at www.PeaceRiverWildlifeCenter.org or stop in and pick up a copy.  Many of our supporters like to shop local stores for us.  Even easier, for those of you who shop online, please use www.Smile.Amazon.com.  When you sign up and designate PRWC as your charity of choice, we receive 0.5% of all eligible purchases you make as a cash donation.  We also maintain a wish list on Amazon where you can purchase items for us and have them shipped directly to us.  If you do this, please be sure to include a note telling us who sent the items so we can properly thank you.  Amazon does not automatically provide that information.

If there is something else you are adept at or passionate about that you think could help PRWC in our mission to care for injured and orphaned wildlife and educate the public, please let us know.  For more details about any of the above mentioned information, please contact PRWC at 941-637-3830 or email us at PeaceRiverWildlife@yahoo.com.  If you cannot volunteer at this time, stop by periodically to see what is new and improved here at the Center.  Be sure to thank our volunteers when you visit because they can never get enough kudos for the wonderful job they do.

Peace River Wildlife Center is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to the care, preservation and protection of Charlotte County’s native wildlife since 1978.  They are open seven days a week, year-round, including holidays.  Tours are offered from 11a.m. to 4p.m.  Injured animal intake is from 8a.m. to 5p.m.  PRWC receives no federal or state funding and relies entirely on private donations.  For more info, call 941-637-3830, visit PeaceRiverWildlifeCenter.org, email PeaceRiverWildlife@yahoo.com,  or visit them at 3400 Ponce de Leon Pkwy (GPS address 3400 W Marion Ave), Punta Gorda.

by- Robin Jenkins, DVM

Sue, guide & Luna handler
Sue, guide & Luna handler
John Hime with Annie the Great Horned Owl, at an outreach event
John Hime with Annie the Great Horned Owl, at an outreach event
Donna W, Hospital Vol
Donna W, Hospital Vol
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