Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Opportunities

Lindsay Wildlife Experience

Lindsay Wildlife Experience, a natural history, environmental education, and wildlife rehabilitation center located in Walnut Creek, California, connects people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the world we share. Founded in 1955, Lindsay houses a collection of live, native California animals, an Exhibit Hall with hands-on discovery activities for children and changing natural history exhibits, and a wildlife rehabilitation hospital. We are licensed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. With a caseload of more than 5,500 native wild animals each year, we are one of the oldest and largest rehabilitation centers in the nation.

The goal of Lindsay’s wildlife hospital, started in 1970, is to rehabilitate and return injured and orphaned native wild animals back to their natural habitats. To give them a chance for survival after release, our patients are kept as wild as possible. Animals are handled only when necessary for feeding, cleaning, and medical care; infant animals are raised with their own species and are not socialized by humans. Wildlife rehabilitation combines aspects of veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, and biology/natural history to provide rehabilitation care specific to each native species. (Lindsay currently sees about 100 species commonly or semi-commonly, with about 100 additional species seen infrequently.)

The Lindsay Wildlife Experiences is located at:

1931 First Avenue

Walnut Creek, CA 94597

(925) 935-1978

General Volunteer Information

Current information regarding volunteer opportunities in the various Lindsay departments is available at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience website (lindsaywildlife.org). On the main page hover over "Join, Give, Volunteer" to get a drop-down list, click on "Become a Volunteer" for volunteer opportunity descriptions.

The Become a Volunteer page also has a link to sign up to attend one of our Volunteer Opportunities classes, where you can hear live presentations from the various Lindsay departments. At the classes there is also the opportunity to ask questions and fill out an interest/contact form. These classes are the introductory step to becoming a volunteer, and are presented every few months. The next class will be on Thursday, March 14th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital Shift Volunteer

The Shift Volunteers provide the primary clinic care for our wildlife patients. The standard volunteer position requires a minimum of one shift per week, with a requested 6 month minimum commitment. We also have an extended-hour seasonal volunteer program. This program is for volunteers that want to participate in multiple shifts per week, such as during a school term break.

A description of the Shift Volunteer position is available at this link:

Hospital Shifts:

    • Shifts are 3 1/2 hours: 3 hour patient care shift with 1/2 hour next-shift-overlap to finish up "housekeeping" tasks
    • Shift times: 9-12:30, 12-3:30, 3-6:30, or 6-9 (the last shift is seasonal, only during the Peak Season, April 1st through September 15th)
    • Hospital shifts are scheduled 7 days a week, with short days only on major holidays
    • The link below shows the current Shifts That Need Volunteers schedule. Empty green boxes indicate a volunteer position that needs to be filled, pink boxes show a special need of assistance.

Special Note: With the beginning of our Peak Season (baby season) the wildlife hospital is in great need of hospital volunteers for the 6 pm - 9:30 pm shifts, especially Monday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. The 6-9 shifts are active from April 1st - September 15th, and are important for baby animal (especially baby bird) care. If you are interested in assisting our evening shifts, we can start your training before April 1st with our daytime shifts, as your schedule permits.

Additional clinic volunteer opportunities include:

    • Support Volunteer: provides assistance with "housekeeping" tasks such as laundry or kitchen (diet preparation and dishes). These are very important aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, and help is especially needed during the Peak Season. (You have no idea how much laundry the rehabilitation efforts produce. And dishes...rehab patients are like teenagers...)
    • Seasonal Shift Volunteer. For those that cannot commit to a year-round schedule, the hospital needs additional assistance during the Peak Season (April - September):
      • 6-9 pm Shift: The evening shift is only active during the Peak Season, when we get in many baby animals and need to provide care during the extended daylight hours.
      • Regular day shifts: the 9-12:30, 12-3:30, and 3-6:30 shifts all need additional help during the Peak Season.
      • Baby bird specialist: volunteers can be trained as baby bird specialists to provide focused care during the Peak Season.

For further information on any of these programs please contact the Hospital Volunteer Manager, Chris Beard, cbeard@lindsaywildlife.org

Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Opportunities

Additional rehabilitation volunteer opportunities include:

    • Satellite Care: home care of various species, as long as you have a suitable space and pass evaluation and training by a Species Team.
    • Hotline: our main avenue of information to the public regarding coexistince with our native wildlife. The Hotline answers inquiries from the public by phone, email, and in-person at the Hotline Desk. The Hotline representative also assists with intake of new native wildlife patients to the hospital, obtaining information from the rescuer and logging the patient into the medical database.
      • Hotline shifts are 9 am - 1 pm or 1 pm - 5 pm, however other schedules can be arranged
    • Aviary/enclosure construction and cage repair
    • Data entry and assistance with analysis
    • Transport and Release teams
    • Graphic Design: help with design of educational displays, recruiting and wildlife information flyers

For further information on any of these programs please contact the Hospital Volunteer Manager, Chris Beard, cbeard@lindsaywildlife.org

Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern Program

The unpaid internship program offers an unparalleled opportunity for hands-on experience with care and treatment of injured or orphaned native California birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Working in conjunction with over 300 volunteers, interns are given the opportunity to learn about all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation with hands-on experiences, and to educate the public on wildlife-related subjects.

There are three separate 8-week Intern Program sessions during the Peak Season:

    • March 31 - May 25
    • May 26 - July 20
    • July 21 - Sept. 14

The program requires completion of:

    • A minimum of 200 Intern Program hours during one of the 8-week sessions. Schedule is usually...
        • 24 hours per week (three 8-hour shifts per week for the 8 weeks)
        • Shifts are usually 8:00 am - 4:00 pm or 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm
        • Includes day, evening, weekend, and holiday work
        • Alternate scheduling, including an extended timeframe into the next session, may be available by prior arrangement
    • All required training, including a weekly classroom session (that may require attendance on a non-shift day)
    • A wildlife rehabilitation Intern Project (projects may include data entry/analysis, development/revision of written protocols, developing case studies, or assisting in educational material preparation)

Upon successful completion of a Peak Season program session, you may apply to continue into the next session. During a subsequent session you would be able to gain additional, advanced skills, and could be scheduled to work directly with a staff veterinarian. There is also opportunity to extend intern activities into the Fall/Winter Season.

A complete description of the current program, including duties, requirements, and application instructions, is available through this link:

We also offer Research Internships for students working on degree programs, and veterinary externships.

For further information on any of these programs please contact the Hospital Volunteer Manager, Chris Beard, cbeard@lindsaywildlife.org