Volunteer and Internships

The Heartbeat Of Turtle Ridge Wildlife – Volunteers

The dictionary defines the word “volunteer” as a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.  Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center (TRWC) volunteers are so much more than that definition.  To put it simply they are loving, caring, committed, passionate, heartfelt and selfless people who dedicate a resource we all wish we had more of- time.  TRWC volunteers give time to help a neonate raccoon that was found orphaned after its mother was struck by a car become acquainted with nursing from a bottle, time to study a Great Horned Owls behavior while its recovering from head trauma after being found unconscious on the ground, time to provide enrichment to our animal ambassador family who always enjoy a new puzzle or toy, time to educate others on how to coexist with wildlife, time to give up a restful night’s sleep to feed babies that lost their mother, time to pick up groceries and help us with laundry and dishes and most importantly time for a place in their heart to help those that would be otherwise left helpless.

Volunteers are a backbone of making TRWC is what is today and without the passion and love they selflessly give; the world would not be the same.  For that everyone at TRWC and the animals we serve love you all!

If you are interested in joining the family of volunteers at Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center please check out the “Day In The Life Video” below, complete the volunteer application by clicking the button and and return it to info@turtleridgewildlifecenter.org.  

Update for 2020

Due to COVID-19, we are not taking new volunteers at this time. However, we are keeping all applications on file.  
Due to the nature of some of our volunteer work, we will only be able to take volunteers who are 18 years of age or older.

“A Day In The Life”


Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center (TRWC) offers internships to care for many species of injured and orphaned native wildlife. Internships at TRWC are intended for individuals and students/graduates interested in a myriad of animal sciences.

Turtle Ridge is a small center that cares for all species of Songbirds, Raptors, Waterfowl and Mammals. We provide the majority of our medical care within our clinic but we are only looking for interns to specialize in caring for our orphaned Avians and Mammals. The experience you will receive is invaluable and working in a rehabilitation center is a privilege and a labor of love.  The rewards are incredible. There is nothing like saving a beautiful wild animal and giving him or her a second chance at life.


  • Must have completed a minimum of two years of a college degree program in biology, zoology or another related field. Candidates with less than two years of college course credit will only be considered if a letter of recommendation from an instructor in the field of interest is submitted.
  • Candidates must have excellent communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment. They must be self-motivated and reliable, willing to work in all weather conditions, and have the ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Interns will be required to prepare a Power Point presentation about a specific species they have worked with over their internship with TRWC that highlights natural history and how the rehabilitation process assures the best 2nd chance at life upon release.
  • Candidates must be willing to commit to studying our care manuals.
  • Candidates must be strong in spirit and able to emotionally handle the physical state in which the animals might arrive. They are often in starvation mode or in pain from injuries and interns must be able to understand that this is the reason we exist: To help them recover and eliminate their suffering.


  • Syringe and gavage feeding of neonate avian and mammal species
  • Sub-cutaneous hydration of avian and mammal species
  • Handling techniques of all species including Raptors
  • Housing requirements needed for each species
  • Pre-Release methods introducing them to their natural environment upon release
  • Nutrition and diet preparations
  • Administrations of oral medications

Our need for interns is primarily to provide dedicated care for orphaned Avian & Mammal species. However, time may be allowed to work and learn skills in our medical clinic or with our Ambassador Birds of Prey educational programs.


Most of the wildlife entering our center come from urban areas. We directly serve three large counties in the Willamette Valley and, in addition, will often take in wildlife from elsewhere as there are limited resources in Western Oregon. Rehabilitators in Oregon are required to notify and turn over Deer, Bear and Cougar to Oregon Department of Wildlife within 24 hours so there is no long-term care for those animals. Our intake is approximately 1600 animals with 80% being avian species and 20% mammal. The following is an example of who we encounter:


Raccoon, Squirrels and Chipmunks, Porcupine, Beaver, Fox, Skunk, Mink


Owls, Hawks, Falcons, Eagles, Vultures, Ravens & Crows


Ducks, Geese, Heron, Marsh birds


Jays, Robins, Grosbeaks, Cedar Waxwings, Wrens, Sparrows, Nuthatches, Towhees, Thrush, various Swallow varieties, Hummingbirds, Warblers, Swifts, Woodpeckers, Bushtits, Doves, Finches and more.

To learn more about our internship opportunities and to apply please see the below links for the program information and application.

Internship Program

Internship Application

Working at Turtle Ridge has been the greatest experience of my life. I have learned more than I ever thought I would about rehabilitation and
the treatment of wildlife and more than I could possibly express in this letter. Jessy, Charles and Mary were incredible teachers and made this internship a wonderful experience. They encouraged me to ask questions and be hands on in the treatment of the patients instead of just watching them while they worked. The environment they created at Turtle Ridge was one of trust, kindness, respect and friendship. In the time I spent at Turtle Ridge, they have become like family and I have made lifelong friends. While being able to work with and raise these animals would have been an incredible experience under any circumstances, I feel like the atmosphere they created and their leadership is what made it truly special.
Chelsea Stark

2017 Summer Animal Care Intern, Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center

Through my experience with the Turtle Ridge intern program, I discovered my passion for helping animals that can’t help themselves. Being an intern allowed me to work up close and personal with the wild animals that most people don’t get to see. There were so many experiences that really expanded my sense of what it means to help the wildlife that is impacted by humans. The Turtle Ridge intern program is a one of a kind experience that will ignite a passion in you to want to change the world.
Sydney Joa

2018 Summer Animal Care Intern, Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center

While being an intern at Turtle Ridge, I got to learn so much about so many different species of animals in such a short period of time. I also learned that team work and communication are two of the most important aspects in this line of work. However, the hands-on experience is one of the best parts; whether it be medical procedures, feeding animals periodically, or lots and lots of cleaning, every little thing counts in helping the wellbeing of every wildlife animal; working so closely to wildlife and being able to help and give back is a special thing to be a part of. The center itself is filled with so much compassion, love, and support for every single animal that comes through the door. Jessy and Charles are both so amazing. And a big thank you to Jessy who has so much drive and love for the work she does; without her the center would not function. It was a great honor and privilege to be a 2018 intern.
Jiulina Dobson

2018 Summer Animal Care Intern, Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center