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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

Once a year, we choose an outstanding volunteer sanctuary monitor as our Volunteer of the Year. The award itself is called the Christy Caswell Wildlife Volunteer of the Year award, named for one of our first volunteers who has since passed away.

For 2012, we chose Don Aycock, a retired biology teacher, who monitors the Brantley Wildlife Sanctuary, on Turkey Creek, in North Carolina. Don often involved his students in monitoring Turkey Creek’s water quality, and his dedication to watching over the Brantley Wildlife Sanctuary -- and its endangered inhabitant, the least trillium -- goes back many years. The area of the sanctuary in which this tiny white flower blooms is the largest of the few places it still exists in the state, so the flower’s presence led to the land’s protection, benefitting wildlife in the process.

“They’re beautiful little plants,” says Don, “and I’ve always been a nature lover and into conservation, so it’s absolutely pleasurable to take care of things at the sanctuary.”

Volunteer opportunities

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
Louisiana: Shreveport
Maine: Bangor
Ohio: Gallipolis
Vermont: Newport
West Virginia: Huntington

Dryden, Ontario

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

Commitment Policies

  • 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.  Click here to fill out an application now.


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