Work at Mission: Wolf
Mission: Wolf operates as a cooperative community of volunteers who live and work together. All staff are responsible for teaching volunteers and visitors in a positive manner. We are a facility dedicated to educating people about wolves, the environment, sustainability, community living, self awareness and self reliance. Our goal as teachers is to inspire all visitors regardless of their age and background.
Our volunteers and staff come from all over the world and contribute a wide range of skills and knowledge. Mission: Wolf is very isolated, and your success here will depend largely on your ability to live and work in a diverse group of humans.
Who We Are Looking For
In addition to the interpersonal skills mentioned above, we are looking for staff members who demonstrate competence and experience in one or more of the following areas: animal care, experiential education, non-profit management, general tool use and maintenance (especially automotive, carpentry, and welding), or sustainable systems.
Mission: Wolf staff are well-rounded people who can excel in a variety of situations. Robert Heinlein put it well: "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal ... Specialization is for insects."
We don't expect you to do everything, but our ideal staff member can adapt and apply their experience to new situations to figure things out.
Long-Term Core Staff (One Year Minimum)Our core staff demonstrate outstanding leadership and communication skills. Core staff are responsible for the long-term success of Mission: Wolf, providing oversight, continuity throughout the seasons, and training our new staff members. We're looking for applicants with substantial leadership experience and solid skills.
More Core Staff Information and Application Form
Summer Volunteer Staff (May 15 - September 15)
Summer Leadership (March – September)In preparation for our busy summer, we invite 3-5 strong candidates to join our staff in the spring and spend a few months learning the ropes here. When summer arrives, these volunteers will assist the core staff in creating a successful summer for our staff and visitors. We're looking for at least one volunteer with extensive garden or farm experience to take charge of our greenhouses, gardens, and permaculture efforts for the growing season
More Summer Leader Information and Application Form
More Garden Manager Information and Application Form
Other Timeframes and SeasonsDon't fit into the timeframes listed above? Want to stay through the winter? Fall, winter, and spring at Mission: Wolf are hard work, but lots of fun. Our staff is smaller (8-12), and things are much quieter than the summer, with only a fraction of normal visitor traffic. We like winter staff to commit to our entire off-season (September through May), and ideally stay for at least one summer as well.
More Information and Application Form
Short-Term Volunteers (2 Weeks Maximum)Don't have a whole season to devote to Mission: Wolf? We welcome volunteers to come camp out, provide their own food, and help out around the sanctuary for up to two weeks. Our general rule: if you can find the place, we'll give you a tour. If you don't scare the wolves or place a burden on the staff, you're welcome to camp out. We always have projects to work on and we're glad for the company!
We recommend that everybody visit us for a few weeks before committing to a longer stay. The rigors of life here are not for everybody, even if you think they are. Most of our successful long-term staff first visited Mission: Wolf as short-term volunteers.
More Short-Term Volunteer Information
What to Expect as a Volunteer Staff Member
1. Community Chores: Mission: Wolf is not an escape from everyday chores. We wash dishes, take out the trash, recycling, and compost, sweep indoors and outdoors, shovel snow, etc.
2. Cleaning: We deep clean all community spaces, work spaces and vehicles once a week.
3. Watering the Wolves: When our pipes freeze during colder months, we haul water to the wolf enclosures and greenhouses in five-gallon buckets. A full load of water weighs over 60 pounds (27 kilograms).
4. Processing Meat: Food for our wolves comes in the form of donated horses and other livestock that have died naturally or that are very ill and need to be put down. Several times a week, we process deceased livestock to feed the wolves.
5. Big Feeds: On Wednesdays and Saturdays, we feed large buckets of raw meat to our wolves, hauling meat and throwing it to the animals.
6. Daily Feeding: Every morning, staff members prepare and feed a small meal to the wolves that includes medications and supplements.
7. Teaching Groups and Visitors: We interact with visiting groups of youth and adults daily. This includes teaching people how to use hand tools, explaining appropriate behavior around the wolves, and guiding groups on projects and tours.
Working with People
Mission: Wolf is isolated geographically, but we are by no means an escape from society. Our primary work is not with wolves, but with humans. The wolves attract a wide variety of people and personalities. People who have little in common with each other find themselves living and working in close quarters here. You will be expected to integrate into a diverse community of volunteers who share a kitchen building and bathroom. We all interact with and lead work projects for visitors who come to the sanctuary every day.
A Variety of Tasks
Mission: Wolf has an informal, unstructured work environment. You will be expected to oversee and complete projects independently. Everybody needs to be flexible and help with all aspects of our operation. In a single day, you might be expected to cut meat, help with data entry in the office, haul water and firewood, plant seedlings, cook dinner, and greet visitors. Much of the work we do involves heavy lifting and hauling.
VERY LITTLE Direct Contact with Wolves
Although we live with wolves, our contact with them is limited. Mission: Wolf strives to offer wolves a peaceful life with limited human interaction. Some of our wolves are social, but do not expect to interact with them often. We do have some resident dogs that staff can walk and play with.
Living Outdoors With Limited Facilities
Our facilities are powered by solar panels with a battery bank for nighttime power use. Our water is pumped from a well by solar power. We have limited electricity and water available for personal use, especially on cloudy days. Staff members shower once a week or less, and wash clothes infrequently. We cannot offer shower or laundry facilities for short-term volunteers (less than two months), but they are available at your own expense in the town of Westcliffe (about 45 minutes away).
Most volunteers live in tents. Depending on availability, we may be able to offer you a tipi as personal sleeping space. Tipis are generally reserved for long-term core staff, and a tipi will sometimes open up as time goes on. Most volunteers start their time at Mission: Wolf in a tent.
Some Internet and Phone Access
Mission: Wolf is not completely out of touch; we have a phone with long distance and international calling, wireless internet, and a few community laptops available for our support staff. The weather can affect our phone and internet connections, so volunteers should not expect communication to be totally reliable.