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Classes at WildCare


We offer a variety of classes at WildCare, some of which are open to the public. All classes require registration. Please call 415-453-1000 x21 or email volunteer@wildcarebayarea.org to check availability and to register.


New Volunteer Orientations for the Wildlife Hospital

Orientation for volunteers ages 15 and over is offered annually in late January or early February. Other orientations and basic skills classes may be added in the summer. Please contact Jessica Grace-Gallagher, Volunteer Services Manager at volunteer@wildcarebayarea.org or 415-453-1000 x21 or visit wildcarebayarea.org/hospitalvolunteer for status updates on orientations and an online application to join our volunteer waiting list for an upcoming orientation.

Community Service Orientations for Student Volunteers (ages 12 - 14) are scheduled in March. Attendees must be 12 or older by the day of orientation; no exceptions. Registration and a completed application packet are required. Click to visit our Young Adult Wildlife Hospital Volunteers page for more information and registration materials.


Wildlife Rehabilitation Classes

Click the class name to view its description. All classes marked with an asterisk (*) have prerequisites (see descriptions).
Zoonoses Foster Care — Opossums
Basic Songbird Care Intro to the Med Room*
Handling and Restraint Radiology*
Intro to Baby Mammal Care Baby Pigeon Care
Corvids in Rehabilitation Raccoon Rehabilitation
Veterinary Drugs and Dosages Wound Treatment

Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Orientations

New Volunteer Orientations

Orientation for volunteers ages 15 and over is offered annually in January or early February. Other orientations and basic skills classes may be added in the summer. Please call WildCare or visit our volunteer page for status updates on orientations and new volunteer classes

The orientation is FREE but there is a $75 fee for class materials if you decide to become an active volunteer (includes a year's membership to WildCare).

Click to visit our Volunteer Page and register for an orientation online.

Student Volunteers
Community Service Orientations for Student Volunteers (ages 12 - 14) are scheduled in March. Attendees must be 12 or older by the day of orientation; no exceptions. Registration and a completed application packet are required. Click to visit our Student Volunteer page for more information and registration materials.
  101C Zoonoses $10
Zoonoses are diseases that transfer from animals to other species — including people. This lively class will introduce the various zoonoses that volunteers may be exposed to while working with wildlife and covers proper handling and transmission-prevention techniques. This is information that every volunteer should know!
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  102 WildCare Basics Skills Series: Living with Wildlife Hotline FREE
Presented by Melanie Piazza and Alison Hermance
The telephone is our first chance to save the life of an animal and educate a member of the community. Learn how to respond to many of the most commonly asked questions, determine if an animal should be brought to WildCare, answer WildCare’s Night Line, and much more. Melanie and Alison will also show you how to utilize the reference books in the WildCare library.
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  102 WildCare Basics Skills Series: Basic Songbird Skills $10
Every year hundreds of baby songbirds come through the doors of WildCare. This class will review the basics of caring for baby songbirds and introduce new procedures and policies. All bird room supervisors and those interested in training new volunteers are strongly urged to attend. This is a required class for all new and returning bird room volunteers.
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  201 Wildlife Handling & Restraint $10
Proper restraint protects the animal receiving treatment as well as the humans treating it. In this lecture/demonstration, Paulette and Melanie will discuss the role of the animal handler, signs of stress in animals being handled, and how each species is likely to defend itself. You'll learn safe handling and restraint methods for the animals at WildCare.
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  202A Captive Care for Wildlife $10
Captivity is stressful for wild animals, especially with so many two-legged predators around. In this class you'll learn how to provide patients with the most natural and comfortable environment possible. We'll also discuss feeding habits and preferred foods, as well as how anatomy affects dietary considerations. Seabirds, songbirds, raptors, and mammals will all be covered.
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  203 Introduction to Baby Mammal Care $10
Baby mammals have common requirements — warmth, food, sleep, stimulation, and someone to watch over them. Only the specifics change. Whether you can take an animal home overnight or not, come learn the finer points of this fascinating and engaging side of rehabilitation.
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  203A Corvids in Rehabilitation (emphasis on baby crow care) $10
Presented by Elaine Friedman, The Corvid Connection
Corvids have the largest cerebral hemisphere relative to body size among birds, and ornithologists think they're probably the most intelligent in the bird kingdom. Using photos, demonstrations, and discussion, Elaine will present the natural history of this interesting family, discuss rehabilitation and orphan-rearing techniques, and outline specific problems encountered with corvids. Although the principal focus of this class will be caring for baby crows in WildCare's rehabilitation hospital, many of the ideas presented will help with the rehabilitation of all songbirds.
Elaine Friedman is the founder of Corvid Connections, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing educational programs using permanently injured wild birds. She has been working with and rehabilitating corvids for 20 years and has published rehabilitation papers on the subject through NWRA and IWRC.
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  207 Necropsy $10.00
Jeanine Richardson is a health technician and WildCare's volunteer microbiologist. In this class, Jeanine will lead us through a typical necropsy, the animal equivalent of the human autopsy. Necropsy is one of the most basic sources of information about anatomy, physiology, and pathology, as well as a useful tool for learning what healthy tissue should look like.
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  209 WildCare Advanced Skills Series: Introduction to the Med Room $10
Taught by Melanie Piazza and Paulette Smith-Ruiz
Prerequisite: One year of volunteer service
Melanie and Paulette will introduce the medications, instruments, and supplies we use in treating animals at WildCare. They'll also cover ways to maintain cleanliness and protect yourself and patients from hazardous materials and infectious diseases. Due to the small space, this class will be limited to 10 people. A second class may be scheduled for a later date.
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  210 WildCare Advanced Skills: Veterinary Drugs & Dosages $10
Taught by Paulette Smith-Ruiz, Assistant Director of Animal Care
Veterinary drug dosages are determined by the animal’s body weight in kilograms. In this class, Paulette will discuss the most commonly used drugs at WildCare and their applications, as well as how to convert pounds or grams to kilograms and then calculate the appropriate dosage. Bring a calculator and sharpen your pencil.
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  213 WildCare Advanced Skills Series: Radiology $10
Presented by Melanie Piazza and Paulette Smith-Ruiz
Open to current shift supervisors only.
Melanie and Paulette will introduce the basics of radiology for veterinary medicine. We'll cover machine settings, recording exposures, processing film, and reading x-rays, as well as restraint techniques and proper alignment.
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  214A WildCare Advanced Skills Series: Adult Songbird Care $10
Presented by Françoise Samuelson
Françoise will introduce basic adult songbird care including initial physical exam, handling considerations, and follow-up procedures. She'll also discuss medications, wound and fracture management, fluid therapy, and basic avian anatomy.
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  214C WildCare Advanced Skills Series: Baby Pigeon Care $10
Presented by Françoise Samuelson
In 2006 WildCare admitted 326 Rock Doves, also known as pigeons. Captive care of Rock Doves is different from other songbirds — WildCare's pigeon expert Françoise will introduce the basics of baby pigeon care, including tube feeding, handling considerations, caging, and hygiene requirements.
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  219 Diagnosing Health Issues in Raccoons $10
Any species in captivity is susceptible to diarrhea, bloat, dehydration, and behavior problems, but raccoons are also susceptible to serious illnesses caused by things other than husbandry. This PowerPoint presentation, presented last year at the IWRC and CCWR conferences, discusses how to recognize the differences between a serious illness and a manageable condition in raccoons and is a great refresher course for all mammal teams.
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  219 WildCare Advanced Skills: Raccoons in Rehabilitation $10
Presented by JoLynn Taylor
Working with raccoons at WildCare (including persimmons!), we'll cover foster care of raccoons from neonates through release, common zoonotic diseases and how to avoid them, plus natural history  and how to advise hotline callers on the most common nuisance issues. Class is approved by California Fish and Game for continuing education.
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  310 WildCare Natural History Series: Hungry Owl Project (HOP) $10
Presented by Alex Godbe, HOP Executive Director
HOP has been working for the past 5 years to provide safe habitat and release sites for raptors in general and Barn Owls in particular. Local schools make nest boxes; the boxes are then erected in places such as vineyards, golf courses, and parks where rodents are a problem. By providing a natural predator, we hope to discourage the use of dangerous rodenticides. Come and learn the details of this innovative project as well how to care for baby owls in rehab.
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