How To Volunteer At The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

As one of the most reputable and well-respected conservation centers in all of America, the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is an incredibly efficient and generous organization with the aim of rescuing native animals that have lost their homes to development or that have been injured, and rehabilitating them so that they can be traversing the wild again in no time, while those that cannot be returned are kept safe and protected within a sanctuary. 

How To Volunteer At The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

This center, located in Pinnacle Peak in Arizona, has been valiantly saving animals since it first opened its doors in 1994, and is always welcoming new volunteers to help in this amazing project by committing just a bit of their time to saving the wildlife around them.

If you have an interest in volunteering at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, (see also: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: Details And Location)here is how you do it, what will be expected of you, and what the requirements are to do so. 

Why Is It Worth Volunteering For Animal Conservation?

The biggest reason why it is so worthwhile volunteering at an animal conservation center is that it massively helps to preserve (see also: Conservation VS Preservation: What’s The Difference?)animals and promote biodiversity for the future, encouraging a healthy and stable ecosystem rather than the animals we know and love becoming a distant memory that future generations will never be able to see for themselves. 

Through conservation work, we can also help to tackle global warming by encouraging the protection of environments for animals to live in rather than entire forests and woodlands being torn down for resources. 

Volunteering in a conservation role, alongside being an incredibly selfless and generous act, is also a very good look for future employers, especially those involved within the preservation and conservation scene who will immediately recognize that you have a fierce passion and determination to save wildlife rather than remaining ignorant to it. 

Finally, there really aren’t many better places to volunteer than the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center since this is a non-profit facility that has over 20 years of experience with over 70% of all housed animals in the center being returned fit and healthy back to the wild, meaning this one center plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy local ecosystem.

How To Volunteer At Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

The good news is that volunteering at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center can be done easily and has a fantastic amount of choice regarding your specific role and what you would most like to get involved with. 

All you need to do to apply is to fill out the application form, which can be found on the ‘Ways To Give – Volunteer’ section of their website at the very bottom.

However, before you do this, it’s very important to keep in mind that you must have already attended a public tour of the SWCC for your application to be considered.

Additionally, the SWCC receives hundreds of applications every year, and while most of these applicants do eventually earn a spot on the team, it still means it can usually take at least a month or longer for the interview to be set up. 

Once you attend an interview either in the center or online depending on where you live, you will be told right then and there whether you are the right fit for the team. 

While the actual volunteering process is very easy, let’s take a look at some of the other details surrounding the position, including what you will be expected to do and what past experience you may need. 

How Old Do I Need To Be To Volunteer?

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, and no pets or children are allowed on the site while volunteering is taking place. 

How To Volunteer At The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

What Past Experience Is Required To Volunteer?

If you don’t have any prior experience in conservation work, the good news is that, while it is preferable, you don’t need any to apply for a volunteering position at the SWCC.

All that is required is that you have a good sense of responsibility and a decent understanding of animals and the cause that you are dedicating your time to. 

How Much Time Would You Need To Commit As A Volunteer?

While the exact hours can vary depending on how far away you live and any unique circumstances such as family responsibilities or another job, all volunteers are expected to commit to at least a 6-month timeframe of work with a minimum of 5 hours of service each week. 

Because there are so many applicants and since the duties and responsibilities of the role can be quite demanding, the SWCC wants to ensure that people are dedicated to the cause rather than just applying to try the position out, which is why they ensure that each applicant can make the time commitments. 

Starting Volunteer Roles

There are 5 primary roles you can be assigned to as a new volunteer which you are able to choose depending on what you feel most comfortable with.

It should be noted that each of these roles will primarily take place outdoors, mostly in hot and dry conditions, so be prepared to run into a few rattlesnakes, scorpions, spiders, and ticks during your work. 

Here is a rundown of each of these starting roles and what you can expect from them:

  • Animal Care Volunteers – Under the supervision of the Animal Care Manager, you will be helping the team to prepare food and clean the animals’ enclosures in this role. Alongside carrying food bags and tools for cleaning, you will also be expected to cut the food for the animals along with removing any leftover food or feces from their homes. 
  • Trail Guides – After a 4 to 6 week training program, you will become an informed guide of the very popular tour that many people take around the SWCC. In this role, you will be expected to answer any questions visitors may have about the role the SWCC plays in animal conservation, along with giving information about each of the animals and each department of the center. 
  • Event Volunteer – If you don’t have as much time to take on one of the bigger roles, an event volunteer helps contribute any ideas and resources to the numerous events that take place in the SWCC and will require you to interact with the public and get involved in the fun yourself. 
  • Ground Quality Volunteers – Tree rimming, racking, and taking part in maintenance projects are just a few duties involved in this hands-on role which is all about caring for surrounding pubic areas. You won’t need any previous landscaping experience, however, a good level of physical stamina is a must. 
  • Clinic Volunteers – The responsibilities in this role include general cleaning, laundry, and basic animal care of clinical residents. Medical opportunities will be available to volunteers that have impressed their supervisors and who have had pre-exposure rabies vaccines, however this is a very high-standing position and one that requires a lot of time and dedication to earn. 


The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is always in need of volunteers, so if you think you have what it takes and want to play your part in protecting the wildlife that surrounds us, fill in your application on their website right now. 

Olivia Kepner