As a volunteer bear handler for 12 years at Wildhaven, I am also intricately involved in bear awareness on the mountain. On our tour the public will see our Animal Ambassadors that are indigenous to our mountains and receive education on how to co-exist and share habitat. Our resident animals are the heart of Wildhaven. "If we do not know them, we will not love them, if we do not love them, we will not protect them."
I've had the some of the most wonderful experiences of my young life while volunteering at Wildhaven Ranch. Not only have I formed bonds with the beautiful animal that the ranch cares for, animals of every shape, size, and character, but the relationships I've made with other staff members, including the lovely owners of the ranch, have certainly changed my life. Wildhaven is an exciting place to be, and when I first arrived as a visitor in a tour group, I could feel the energy. For the last 3 years, I've enjoyed this same energy weekly, whether by feeding my 'boyfriends' Stubby and Bandit, the raccoons, or brushing my deer friend, Buckwheat, or simply enjoying the day with other volunteers. I thoroughly Wildhaven to any visitor, volunteer, or donor.
I had the pleasure of volunteering at the San Bernardino Wildlife Society back in 2013 and throughly enjoyed my experience. They provide a great atmosphere to grow and learn. It really sparked my interested in working with wildlife and has led me to peruse a career in animal care. They really care about thier animals and would do anything for them as well as providing an educational experience for the public. I highly reccomed them to anyone wanting to gain experience working with wildlife or anyone wanting to have a unique close up expereicne with the animals at their facility.
I have been a volunteer with Wildhaven Ranch for 7 years. It was a matter of "timing is everything" when I first began as a WCP (Wildlife Care Provider). After receiving training from seasoned "veterans", I began working with the animals. The timing part, an orphaned bear cub made her arrival at the Ranch. I started bearsitting and can say I helped raise a California Black Bear! The love and dedication that both Diane and Roger have for the facility and all that they put into it is phenomenal. It is not "just a business" for them, it is their passion. Having worked in the animal business for over 38 years, I know, people don't do the things they do for money...it is for the love of the animals. There is a passion they display whether it is for the littlest animal ambassador or the senior member of the bear family. I believe this is a very worthy facility and I plan to continue my involvement with them in order to help preserve our local wildlife.
I had the honor of being a volunteer Wildlife Care Provider at Wildhaven. It was an exciting and educational experience. The love and devotion that both Diane and Roger have for all of the wildlife in their care is inspiring. They provide a safe and nurturing place for non-releasable wild animals, while educating the public about the wildlife in our mountain community. Every person, young and old, that attends their educational tours leaves in awe of this up-close and personal experience with bears, birds of prey, a bob-cat, raccoons, coyotes, and mule deer, to name a few. They come to respect the wildness of these creatures and learn much needed information about living near them safely. "Do not feed" is repeated throughout their informative talks. Wildhaven Ranch is a treasure in our mountain community. I am proud to have been a part of this wonderful sanctuary and educational facility.
Wildhaven Ranch in the San Bernardino Mountains is truly a unique experience. The animal residents are all there because they could not be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. When you watch the wonderful bears lumbering about their enclosures and listen to the knowledgeable handlers, it truly is special. There are a variety of animals you see when you take one of their public tours. And as you observe each animal, a guide provides you with valuable information about them. Mountain residents often visit Wildhaven and tourists to the Lake Arrowhead area find Wildhaven to be an interesting and different activity to learn about the local wildlife. All and all Wildhaven is truly a wonderful place run by 2 dedicated people who are devoted to the animals. Phyllis B.
My son and I began voulunteering at Wildhaven in March of this year. We immediately fell in love with the beautiful site and of course the animals, But we were most impressed with Diane and Rodger (director/owners). They are exceptionally loving and dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of indigenous animals. Their expertise in the care of multiple species of animals is astounding and earned over years of schooling and hands on learning. As vouunteers we were provided with training in site maintenance, the characteristics and needs of each animal as well as important protocols for maintaining hygenic conditions. Dianne and Rodger have a mission to provide educational programing around the animals at Wildhaven as well as the understanding and protection of all animals. Their outreach programs are extended to schools, youth centers and any one who will listen. They are community heros doing kind, important work.
I have volunteered at Wildhaven for about 4 years. The care and love that the animals receive there is amazing. The animals that have been saved over the years would have died without the help of the great people there. They would have either been euthanized by fish and game or died in the wild if not for this sanctuary. I have taken part in many tours and educated the public about the importance of saving our wildlife and protecting their natural habitat. Wildhaven truly is a sanctuary to be preserved!
Being a volunteer here has allowed me to understand the balance between the animals of our mountain and the people. I used to visit and learn about the animals here as a child in elementary school, and that experience made me want to become a volunteer. It is a great non-profit with a great mission! I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to interact with the animals that Wildhaven taught me about as a kid!
I have been a volunteer for about 2 years I have had a lot of experience with the animals I have learned some things about the animals and really have enjoyed my time there I never thought that I would be able to get so close to an animal as I can thereI really enjoy being able to go there and help take care of the animals and the propertythe other people the volunteers that I work with are very nice helpful and always willing to give any kind of information you may need to do your job roger is a wealth of informationI am always learning something new when I go thereI hope to be able to be a volunteer there for a long time
Wildhaven Ranch is a great non-profit organization where people are welcomed to learn about the natural wild life in the mountains and in California. I love being a volunteer there, it is such a great environment and the owners are fantastic and loving Christian people. They are able to brighten up one's day and are able to teach great skills while working. As I have first started working I knew very little about the wild life or even how to fix simple things. After a few months I am constantly learning either a new skill or learning something new about the animals. If only they were able to get more funding then I think they would be able to buy better facilities for the animals and be able to rehabilitate more animals as well. overall it is a amazing place and I love working there!
WOW! I have had an amazing, wonderful, life-changing experience as a volunteer at Wildhaven! I started this past summer (2014) and have loved every second of it. I've learned so much about the mountain's wildlife. It is run by passionate, committed people who has inspired me in so many ways. Wildhaven's tours are a great way to spend time with family on the weekends and learn about animals while actually seeing them in person!
I have always been an animal lover and when I retired I was lucky enough to become involved with this organization. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to help in any way I can to improve their lives. The work that is being done here is amazing. A lot of time, money and effort is given by the director of this organization as well as all the volunteers.
I have been a volunteer for this organization for about a year and a half. In that time I have been able to experience many things that I feel very fortunate to have been a part of. Sometimes, I help shovel snow or clean animal enclosure, which isn't always fun, but they are things that need to be done to keep the facility functioning. Other times I get to give some of the animals attention, which is for their enrichment, as well as mine. One of the animals I enjoy spending time with is Wiley the coyote. I take him on walks and help show him when the public is on site for a tour. He loves to get out of his enclosure and I feel very privileged to be able to spend time with him. The ranch is located in a beautiful mountain setting and the tireless administrative staff does a great job keeping the facility running smoothly. Of course, they can't do it all, and that is where the many volunteers come into play. I am proud to be one of those volunteers. Thank you for reading. Rodney Ninow
I have been a volunteer at Wildhaven Ranch (San Bernardino Mountain Wildlife Society) for more than three years. In this time I have had the opportunity to work with most of the animals on site, this includes permanent residents and future rehab animals. When I went through the initial training I was told that it is a privilege to work with the animals...they were right. Every day I spend with the raccoon's or the foxes or the great horned owl makes me realize how lucky I am to be able to be so close to these wonderful creatures! Spending time with all of them heals my soul and reminds me what really is important in this world! Like any small/big facility it suffers from growing pains. The need for qualified employees, a steady cash flow. That way the founders could just spend time taking care of the administration of the property. Instead of being stretched so thin, ending up being responsible for so many different jobs! I think that the land that has been purchased for Wildhaven has benefits far beyond the obvious. Their presence means there are 35 acres that won't be developed in future years. That is a huge thing in So. California. It means that not only are we trying to protect the natural wildlife of the San Bernardino Mountains but that we are protecting the habitat these animals need to live. WHR is a very
"Bears With Us" a bear education program I developed and direct has become my mission. As a bear advocate I give presentations at schools and community events. I respond to bear nuisance calls, evaluate the problem, educate the homeowners and have hazed bears back into the forest - emphasizing "A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear." In 2003, two day old bear cubs, Quincy and Woodie, ignited my passion for bears. Sadly, both died, leaving me with my commitment that through education our mountain residents could co-exist and live in harmony with bears. My continual education consists of attending bear symposiums, visiting renowned wildlife biologists, bear trainers, anything - Bear. I have been a caregiver to Little Bear and Snickers since 2005. They teach me on a daily basis! Native American legend believes bears are head of the Animal Council because of their strength, courage and fairness. These are attributes I endeavor to achieve. The bears have given me purpose and renew my life.
I have been a volunteer at Wild Haven Ranch AKA San Bernardino Mountain Wildlife Society for about 3 years. I feel like I am giving back to the Earth when I work with Wild Haven. As two leggeds we take more than our share and wildlife suffers. If we can save and give back wildlife then we are helping to preserve the Earth. As for my life personally; I feel as if my life has been healed and maybe saved. I started nearly full time volunteering while I was on disability from my job. I was very depressed and full of anxiety about my job and life in general. Working with and for the animals made me feel whole again. I soon noticed how easy it was to be relaxed and at peace with myself and my world. After just a very short time I feel I received a lifetime of healing. I hope to be able to continue my work and keep giving back for years come. I have learned so much about animals that I am now considering a change in career to be able to work full time with animals and help even more. I love talking to others and teaching them about the animals and the forest we share with them. We spend much of our time educating others to live in harmony with our Earth. I thank you for your time. Aiyana
I've been with Wildhaven Ranch as a volunteer since it's beginning. One of the important works the ranch does is informing/teaching the public about our wildlife and how to live with them. In my neighborhood, church, and different groups they know I work at the ranch and often ask my advice. It is so fulfilling to see rehab animals return to the forest AND the 'educational' cuties are so wonderful to be with. They are so beautiful. In fact just the other day I reported a dead bird to the local West Nile Research Ctr. If it wasn't for Wildhaven I wouldn't know where 'to go' Wildhaven really makes a difference to our community. It is a wonderful place. Thanks to Diane & Roger Williams
I first heard of Wildhaven Ranch, which is under the umbrella of The San Bernardino Mountains Wildlife Society, about 3 years ago. I saw a story about their first two bears and became interested in volunteering. I emailed back and forth with the Executive Director, Diane Dragotto Williams for some time before I finally made the long trek up the mountain to the facility. Now I make that trek almost on a weekly basis! I took the Wildlife Care Provider class and began helping clean and feed some of the resident animals. As we have all heard th saying
I have been a volunteer at Wildhaven Ranch for almost 4 years. I started out as a Wildlife Care Provider which means feeding dead rodents to animals and cleaning up poop and a lot more. I still do all of that but have taken advanced courses in Wildlife rescue and care and have been a Bird of Prey handler for over 2 years. Every bit of the cleaning and feeding and hard work is more than worth standing a foot from a magnificent eagle and seeing the colors and configuration of their feathers. To have a raccoon digging through your pockets. To hold a beautiful hawk or owl on my fist and have children ooh and ahh because they have never seen one so close is the most wonderful experience imaginable. Aside from all that the ultimate is to see an injured or orphaned animal released back into the wild. A few hours with the animals at Wildhaven make all the problems and pressures of life bearable.