Get involved with one of our many wildlife sanctuaries
About our volunteers
Our dedicated volunteers help the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust to provide increased levels of oversight to properties across the country and abroad. These caring and generous individuals spend countless hours monitoring the sanctuaries, making note of any violations of our hunting and trapping restrictions, and reporting any relevant violations to local authorities. On behalf of wildlife, as well as all who share a concern for these creatures, we offer our appreciation for the efforts of these hardworking and committed volunteers.
Meet our volunteer of the year
Volunteers are vital to our organization, they spend countless hours helping protect habitat for wildlife. Once a year, we choose an outstanding volunteer sanctuary monitor as our Christy Caswell Volunteer of the Year. For 2014, we chose Richard Mahler. Mahler’s love for nature and wildlife began in New Mexico, where he has spent 23 years observing and writing about flora and fauna. Although a native to California, Richard prefers living among the big skies, varied landscapes, and abundant wildlife of New Mexico.
Mahler became a volunteer sanctuary monitor in 2011, and has logged hundreds of miles in the remote desert monitoring our camera traps in search of elusive jaguars, on our Allranch Wildlife Sanctuary in New Mexico. “I am constantly rewarded by the unexpected beauty I see while hiking on All Ranch—and the protection of its resources,” says Mahler. In addition to his volunteer work with The Trust, he is a backcountry wildlife researcher and a freelance author that has written 13 published books – including The Jaguar’s Shadow: Searching for a Mythic Cat. Learn more about Richard at richardmahler.com
Sanctuary Monitor: Provide regular inspections for specific HSWLT-owned properties by walking the borders and interior, looking for possible infractions of conservation restrictions, checking for and maintaining appropriate signage, provide photographic documentation of any problems, and completing inspection forms to return to HSWLT staff.
The following sanctuaries are in need of monitoring. Please indicate on the application the sanctuary for which you are applying. If you live a reasonable driving distance from the following areas we would like to speak to you:
Arkansas: Fox, Mena
New Hampshire: Keene
New York: Buffalo
What our volunteers say
“I was first attracted to the HSWLT because its mission is an extension of my own commitment to preservation of wildlife habitat and the environment here in the Adirondack mountains. Establishing sanctuaries to protect resident species is a noble venture, and the preservation and protection of wildlife habitat for future generations is an ethical as well as biological issue. Sanctuary Monitors help honor the covenant made between property owners who gift their land and HSWLT who protects it by assuring the well-being of the fauna who reside there. My participation enhances HSWLT goals, and thus enhances me as well, and I feel privileged to be involved."—Peter Galvani
Benefits of volunteering
HSWLT volunteers have the opportunity to ensure the conservation of wild lands that provide vital wildlife habitat across the country. This highly flexible opportunity allows volunteers to act on their love of wildlife and nature conservancy while engaging in outdoor activities.
Becoming a volunteer
- Volunteers commit to inspect their assigned sanctuary at least two times per year.
- After training, we ask that Sanctuary Monitors make a commitment to work a minimum of two to three years.
- Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Volunteers must pass a criminal background check.
- Volunteers must meet the requirements outlined in the Essential Capabilities document.
- We recommend volunteers be current on their tetanus inoculation, and have CPR certification.
- Complete an online application form. A staff member from HSWLT will contact you to discuss opportunities and schedule an interview.
- If we mutually determine that the opportunity appears to be a good fit, you will be asked to fill out an authorization form allowing us to carry out a background check based on the type of position for which you are applying.
- Following the completion of the background check, you will be scheduled for a site visit to the HSWLT property for training and be asked to sign a volunteer agreement and a waiver and release of liability.
- After you are made an official volunteer, you will be trained in all aspects of your volunteer work, including monitoring techniques, processes, and all relevant paperwork.
Our parent company, The Humane Society of the United States, administers the application process for HSWLT. Fill out an application now.