I have been a volunteer at Antler Ridge for the past 3 years and love every minute I get to help the animals. It is so rewarding to see a young animal come in and get the care it needs to be released back into the wild. I have always loved helping animals and here at Antler Ridge I get a chance to make a difference. I'm so glad I am part of this extraordinary organization.
When my wife and I moved to the area 2 years ago, we searched for almost a year to find the right volunteer situation for us. We knew we wanted to do something with animals/wildlife. We found Antler Ridge on a whim, and from the moment we stepped foot on the sanctuary, we knew we made the right choice.
Owners Kelly and Jim could not have been more welcoming and accommodating from day one. We instantly knew how much both of them cared for these animals and how clear their mission was. Kelly also takes the time to answer every question you have and really educates you on the rehab process and each animal's behaviors.
They really do so much for not only the rehab and release of animals, but for the community. Everything from educational programs for kids/adults, tours, and fundraisers for breast cancer, this place does it all. I just cant say enough good things about Antler Ridge and how it operates.
After our first full season of volunteering here, it is like our second home. In fact, it is not only our second home, but it has become family.
Kelly and Jimmy (the owners of Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary) are beyond amazing and truly dedicate their lives into providing vital care and treatment to sick, injured or orphaned wildlife on their 120-acre preserved farm.
As a proud volunteer, rehabilitating wild animals back to health so they can be returned to where they belong is extremely enjoyable and rewarding.
I am happy to help them achieve their mission educating the public on the importance of caring for the ecosystems, supporting the environment in which we live, respecting the wildlife with whom we share this environment and protecting and preserving our native lands for the future wildlife habitat.
I am in my seventh year of volunteer work with Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. It has been such a rewarding and enriching experience to rehabilitate wildlife and to be able to reach out to the community about our mission. The volunteers that I work with are so dedicated to our cause and we are so grateful for the support we get from so many people .
I have been a volunteer for almost 5 years. Antler Ridge is a second home for me. The work we do there is very rewarding. I hold it very dear to my heart, all the volunteers do !
Everyone here is so kind and caring. The work they do to rescue and care for injured animals is top notch.
Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is a wonderful organization. They save so many animals. The volunteers and staff are all amazing people. Thank you to everyone at Antler Ridge!
My name is Steve Matlaga and I'm a father of six beautiful kids and husband to my amazing wife, Karen. We've been married 25 years. Raising a family is certainly a story in itself. However, I'm here to tell you about my experience with Antler Ridge. It’s a long review, but hope you find it worth it and get something out of it.
I'm just finishing up my first year as a volunteer at Antler Ridge. I've always had a love of animals. You name it, we've had one. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, and recently, chickens. Last year, we started fostering dogs, which was definitely a positive move in my life. However, I wanted to do even more. My wife mentioned something about an opportunity to work with wildlife at a local sanctuary. My interest immediately peaked! Karen had been going to Antler Ridge for some time with a group of home schoolers. My youngest daughter enjoyed this program that Antler Ridge supported called 'Discover Nature'. I never actually had a chance to go see what it was about, but it sounded cool. So I applied with my daughter, Abby. Abby also shares my love for all creatures great and small. (some of the greatest creatures are small by the way)
After applying online, we attended our ‘Intro to Antler Ridge’ meeting. Both of us being shy and not a fan of crowds, found ourselves leaving the meeting shortly after arriving, feeling defeated and disappointed. You could not believe the amount of cars and people all lined up and packed into this local town meeting room! I said something to the affect, 'if there is this many people wanting to volunteer here, maybe we are needed elsewhere... We left and that was that.
After I got home, I composed an email to Kelly Corless, the Director of the sanctuary. I thanked her for the opportunity, but it looked like they had things covered. To my surprise, Kelly got right back to me and explained that only a small amount of those who show up for the introduction meeting will actually become volunteers. She continued to invite me and my daughter to the first training class. We eagerly accepted. Sometime not long after our initial correspondences with Antler Ridge, we were heading to our first training session. When we first showed up, neither of us knew what to expect. However, it took all of 10 minutes of listening to Kelly and her team talk about what we’d be doing, before Abby and I were hooked! Handling and feeding baby animals? What? Are you kidding me? They spoke about how much work it was, the intensity levels during the various parts of the year, and some of the less enjoyable tasks a volunteer will be taking part in. (like cleaning out poop from the cages! YUK!). I don’t think there was single thing that they could tell us that would keep us away from this amazing opportunity. We both agreed to our work schedule at the sanctuary, and awaited our next training session. After another few weeks went by, we complete our training, ready, well mostly ready to start down the road of wildlife care and rehabilitation.
I could certainly fill a novel with our experiences at Antler Ridge. From initial disappointment, to pure joy and excitement, we both felt like part of something so much bigger than us. No words can express the emotions. The first time I got to feed a baby squirrel (us insiders call them pinkies, lol), my hand was shaky, I was nervous, felt like I was way outside my ability levels. Yet, something inside me pushed me forward. I think it was compassion. I couldn’t help but have an incredible amount of compassion for this little tiny life that I was about to help get its next feeding. The experience was a game changer. This was just incredible. Wait, it got better! Shortly after getting some hours behind me, a bit more experience and a comfort level, I got a chance to feed a baby raccoon. I knew immediately, that raccoons were my thing! There’s something about their eyes. Their personality just comes right through. I was in love with these critters! Their sounds, their silly behaviors, and just how sweet they are all around. Things just kept getting better and better each week. I learned to work with skunks (never got sprayed by the way, despite lots of scolding and critiques of my confidence in handling them), opossums, and of course fawns. I think fawns deserve their own story! These little babies are nothing less than addictive to be around. I never really understood how needy baby animals are after they lose their mom until I was there first hand to see and experience this first hand. We always are told, stay away from wildlife. They will do fine without us. You’ll just make it worse. Blah blah blah. Well, to a point, maybe that is true in some situations, but for the babies that get abandoned, orphaned one way or the other, they do need us! As Trump might say, BIGGLY. These little buggers are so happy to get a bottle from their human caretaker. Having a fawn sit on your lap while you help nurse it back to strength is certainly a special opportunity. They all just seem to understand that we are there to help them. It’s pretty bizarre. As they grow, they actually seem more like puppies than wild animals. NO, this isn’t an invite for you approach a fawn in the wild. However, you should understand, these animals do in fact have emotions, love and I think, care for their caretakers. They understand that we are trying to help them. Naturally, the end game is release back into the wild with as much of a chance as we can give them at success. In the meanwhile, every moment leading up to and including a release is just one big beautiful experience.
Before I summarize, I feel I must mention a few of the negatives of my volunteer experiences. Animals Die! It happens, not every animal makes it. Far more than I’d like, pass along to the rainbow bridge. I always keep my eye on the big picture though. We can’t save them all, but we save many! Also, not every visit to the sanctuary is perfect. Being that we are all human, many a day I’ve found myself dealing with my own feeling as I’m being scolded for some minor infraction of ‘good practice’ handling wildlife. I know it’s important to follow protocol, but I’m a big mush. Everyone there is usually trying to promote the best environment for these little buggers to flourish and be released. Rehabilitators are really strict about best practices, as they should be. They will look out for the animals best interest, which sometimes might mean you’ll want to cuddle a little squirrel in your arms while walking around, but that is going to be met with a good verbal lashing! I must admit, one of the hardest things for me is not treating these animals like my own pet. You fall in love with them, all of them. You just instinctual want to cuddle them and protect them. You want to carry them and shelter them from all the nasties in the world they will soon face. It’s a struggle coming from a world of love, hugs, cuddles and kisses of domestic pet care to wildlife rehab. Easy to lose sight that we are there to help rehab animals, not prep them to be domestic pets. But, I’m only human. So that little challenge will continue.
In summary, the experience at Antler Ridge gives me a chance to do something beyond the normal life experience. We are going to a place where we can all come together to work on our compassion, our patience, our understanding of ourselves, and those we work with. We are not just observing nature, we are being part of it! We are all doing something good for the community. I think the animals are more or less the ones helping us rather than the other way around!
I hope I’ve inspired you to look into Antler Ridge or your local wildlife sanctuary. Even if you only volunteer for a day or a weekend, I assure you, it will change your life! God bless and thanks to my friends at Antler Ridge.
PS: Lucky, Crackers, & Delilah say hi! (did I mention I adopted a duck, a goat, and a chinchilla from Antler Ridge? Yes, they rescue just about everyone)
Volunteering at ARWS was the most rewarding experience ever for me because it felt like being in a mutually supportive community of animal lovers who actually do something to help animal welfare. Getting to know Kelly and seeing her work with animals is an experience in itself. She is super knowledgeable, experienced, supportive, wise and real. All shift supervisors I had contact with were also totally experienced to handle whatever came our way that day. They happen to be all women and they were impressive in their approach, warmth and wisdom toward animals and people. If i had a daughter i would definitely want her to spend a season volunteering here because the impact of this experience, helping sick animals get better, or feeding orphaned animals, in combo with people who have given so much from their life for these animals, is definitely life changing. We
I have worked at Antler Ridge for two years now and continue to be amazed at the depth of love and caring that is found there, not only for the animals but the staff as well. The owner, Kelly, has a wealth of knowledge that she shares with us and the more we know the better we can care for the animals. The animals are given the best start to life that we can give them and released to find their own way. I only wish I had known of them sooner, I have found my own sanctuary.
Great place to volunteer! I've learned a lot and have made many new friends that share the same passion. Everyone is helpful and supportive. Its a well organized effort that benefits wildlife. Highly recommend giving your time to this organization.
I started volunteering for Antler Ridge this year, and the past few months have been amazing. Here at the sanctuary we care for hundreds of wild animals, there's no animal too big or too small, we care for them all! Everyone at Antler Ridge is very kind and knows how to properly rehabilitate the animals for their release back into the wild.
The volunteers are filled with energy, enthusiasm, humor and compassion. The sanctuary provides care for so many critters, with the help of the volunteers and Dr. Karen. Any donations made to this organization are put to good use.
Amazing animal sanctuary run by caring volunteers. There is no other nonprofit organization like Antler Ridge in the area and to get the opportunity to volunteer with this organization is a true gift.
Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary is run by people who are caring and committed to the welfare of animals in need. I'm proud to be a volunteer at ARWS and enjoy working there each week to help the animals. ARWS has a great relationship with the community which has come to respect and depend on Antler Ridge as a safe refuge for sick or injured animals.
I have been volunteering at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary for nearly seven years and I am constantly impressed by the individualized care and compassion the animals receive. All of the creatures at our facility are afforded the best treatment by a dedicated staff of volunteers and apprentices,
veterinarian Dr Karen, and most notably Kelly, our hands-on director. All of the animals that find themselves at Antler Ridge are given a second chance at life to live free and healthy as the wild beings they are!
A dear friend of mine volunteers at Antler Ridge (AR). It has been through her work there that I have developed a greater awareness and appreciation of my surroundings since I live in rural Sussex County. AR is a wonderful place for abandoned or injured animal wildlife like squirrels, opposums, bats that are well taken care of from as young as new borns to adults and released to their natural habitat when appropriate. I have had opportunities to see the volunteers in action caring for their "charges".. The volunteers are experienced in animal care and handling, and/or animal housing maintenance. The love they have for these animals is evidenced by the excellent work they clearly do. Also, they routinely educate the public in the ways of care for the surrounding wood lands shared with these critters.
You don't need to travel to Orlando to find the Magic Kingdom - it's right here in New Jersey at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. This is a place of magic and miracles supported by amazing dedicated volunteers with a mission to serve the area wildlife in peril due to injury or being orphaned. In addition it's an organization that partners within the community to support initiatives such as Project Self Sufficiency, environmental education seminars for the public, internship opportunities, nature programs for kids and work study for teens - and much more. Antler Ridge clearly deserves thumbs-up recognition on the list of GreatNonprofits!
My friends volunteer at Antler Ridge. Their dedication is only matched by how hard they work , how tired I see them, and how much they care about the "critters" to whom they give such great care.
Each time I have needed help with an injured animal , someone is right there to assist! I can see how much all are concerned and their knowledge and expertise is wonderful. It's a place I truly would like to volunteer and I'd better get to that!! Thanks Antler Ridge folks!
I volunteer with Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary and know they are one of the best non-profit organizations. Totally professional, excellent care for the animals, great people. Top-notch all the way.
I started five years ago as a volunteer, and I'm still loving my experience there. It gives you a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that you are helping to rehabilitate orphaned and injured animals back into the wild. I received the training I needed to feel confident working with the animals, yet it is a constant learning experience. Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary provides a great service to the community, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.