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   Once each year the Illinois Raptor Center accepts a group of individuals to be trained together as volunteers for the facility. The next volunteer training session will start in September, 2016.  A call for applications will be posted on our website, our Facebook page and through our E-Newsletter in August 2016.  You can sign up for our E-Newsletter here.   

To qualify as a volunteer an individual must be old enough to have a vehicle and drive themselves to the IRC's facility.  Volunteers must donate 4 hours of their time per week.  Volunteer hours are 10 AM to 2 PM during the work week.  Volunteers are not asked to work nights or weekends unless there is a special event. Volunteer training meetings are held the first Sunday of the month at 2PM.  All volunteers, no matter how long they have served, are required to attend these meetings.

Once a group of volunteers is accepted into the program, we ask them to commit to a trial period of six months to see if the program is working out for both the volunteer and the IRC.    

Duties of a volunteer can range from cleaning cages and feeding birds to helping with a prairie burn.  Housekeeping at the nature center and keeping the books in order in the library are part of volunteer duties also.  Some days you may cut invasive plants, other days you may be power washing bird crates or help to give a physical to an incoming patient.  You will be given more responsibility as you progress through your training.  

Both IRC directors have been handling animals in rehabilitation, education and falconry for over 24 years.  Raptor handling is a complicated skill that takes a long time to acquire.  For volunteer safety and the safety of our birds, volunteers will go through extensive training before handling adult raptors.    

Wildlife rehabilitation is not for everyone.  Yes, it is so cool to hold a Great Horned Owl or Bald Eagle and set it free.  But the truth is that many of these animals are admitted to our hospital so badly injured that we have no choice but to euthanize them.  Working with wildlife is beautiful and heartwarming on some days and brutal and heartbreaking on other days.  Rehabilitation is as close to the life and death struggle in nature as one can get.  If this is something you would rather not deal with then volunteering for the IRC may not be for you.

IRC volunteers play a significant role in filling the IRC mission of providing wildlife rehabilitation and conservation education to the wildlife and people of Illinois.  Volunteers have learned and experienced more about wildlife at the IRC than they ever thought they would or could. The IRC offers special events and a number of fun activities for its volunteers throughout the year. We invite you to join our IRC family.














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