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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

WE’RE DEEPLY GRATEFUL to all Trust volunteer sanctuary monitors for all they do to help keep our lands and the wildlife they support safe. For our 2019 Christy Caswell Volunteer of the Year, we are pleased to honor Edward Stepec, who monitors our 3,621-acre Greenwood Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Oregon. To oversee this vast sanctuary, he combines hiking and flyovers in his Cessna 172 or his Piper Cub. “Early in my aviation life, I would gain a perspective on where to hike or ride a bike from flying over,” says Ed. “At Greenwood, I can see natural streams and dry beds where water once flowed. I see movement of large animals, such as deer and elk, and trails leading to guzzlers, showing that wild animals do benefit from them.” Ed also enjoys kayaking with his wife Mary and wilderness hiking as he trains for a 30-mile mountain bike race in Big Sky Montana.

He began bonding with nature in childhood, while hiking, canoeing and camping throughout Ohio with his family. His resolve to defend nature was further fueled by stories his father shared about Yugoslavia during World War II and the abusive and destructive behaviors toward life and land that occurred. Those dark times took a deep personal toll on his family and deprived them of their land and livelihood. “That struck a nerve with me,” says Ed, “so I search for ways to be effective in preventing abusive behaviors. You find opportunities to help where you can.” Thank you, Ed, for your true compassion for all living things and for your time, effort and dedication in helping protect Greenwood and its wildlife.

Edward, we celebrate your crucial role in our shared mission. Congratulations and we thank you!

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
New Hampshire: Keene
New York: Buffalo
Vermont: Newport

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. Fill out an application now.


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