by Whitney Wolf, Project Lead
Do you want to help people help wildlife? The DFW Wildlife Coalition is an interface between a network of rehabbers and members of the public who want to help orphaned and injured wildlife. Once they are trained, volunteers staff the hotline and respond to emails/texts – all from home or wherever you have connectivity. We are looking for more volunteers. We especially need people to answer emails to the website and respond to voicemails.
The Coalition was started in 2003 by rehabbers who wanted a central point for people to call for referrals for injured or orphaned animals or when there was a question about what to do. Coalition leaders work closely with Texas Parks and Wildlife. That ensures that we make referrals only to licensed rehabbers who are known to maintain good conditions for the animals they help and can humanely end the lives of those they cannot save.
Volunteers receive 6 hours of initial training online, followed by an hour with one of our hotline supervisors (all reportable as VH). Most people volunteer for the same two-hour shift a week. The hotline is staffed from 7AM to 10PM every day of the year so there are 49 separate shifts. You always have a supervisor to answer any questions when you are uncertain how to help.
Sometimes, we advise people how to deal with wildlife that may be causing problems, or that they are afraid will cause problems. The solution may be as simple as giving them more information about wildlife that addresses their concerns. Other times we may refer them to professionals who will humanely remove wildlife and help them prevent the return if the wildlife is truly threatening.
Russ Olivier, our Volunteer Activities/Advance Training Director (class of 2018), joined our team in 2020. He handles emails and chats and has filled in on one hotline shift. He said, “I have been impressed at how grateful almost everyone is for our help. Everybody is so happy to find someone that cares about the animals as much as they do. I can see that in the chats and emails as well as when I was on the phone. I would also say that you don’t have to be an expert to help people, most of the time it’s just basic information they’re seeking.”
To learn more, please check out https://dfwwildlife.org. To volunteer, reach out to Prudi Koeninger at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email any questions you may have before volunteering at email@example.com.
Please consider joining our team!