Core Staff

Core staff are leaders in our community. They provide oversight for one of the four main areas of work (animal care, refuge care, operations, education) and coach assistant staff in these areas. Core staff provide continuity between seasons and train new staff, especially in the summer. For these positions, we seek applicants who demonstrate outstanding leadership and communication skills. Core staff should have the skills relevant to their area, but it’s often more important that they are good at working with people and can see a big-picture view in our complicated organization.

All new staff members begin as assistant staff. For the first few months, we expect volunteers to learn about our daily operations, settle into the lifestyle, and slowly begin taking on more serious responsibilities. Mission: Wolf is a hard place to work, living in isolation with your co-workers, and it does not always work out. Your first few months are a test to see if you work for Mission: Wolf, and if Mission: Wolf works for you. Some volunteers can step into a core staff role after 2-3 months, while others might take 6 months or longer before being ready to take on that level of responsibility.

Strong preference will be given to applicants who are able to come out as short-term volunteers for a working interview, prior to their intended commitment.

Our Requirements

Minimum one year commitment. For the animal caretaker role, we require a minimum two year commitment. We ask that all core staff stay through the entire summer season, with no significant time off taken during June, July, or August.
Mission: Wolf core staff should have expertise in one of our four main areas of work. We are looking for people who demonstrate competence, leadership, and the ability to look at complicated places with a big-picture view. We have no education requirements, but most of our staff have a college education or are in college. We need staff members who understand the science behind what we do and can communicate it clearly to a public audience. In general, our core staff are “good at stuff,” using experience and judgment to do things they aren’t familiar with and often teaching other people to do it at the same time.
Working at Mission: Wolf is a way of life. We live in incredibly close quarters and spend far more time dealing with humans than we do with wolves. Our core staff are in the position of keeping things running smoothly through changing seasons with a changing staff. It’s rewarding, but requires humility, patience, and a strong educational ethos. Our successful core staff are people who devote their lives to what they believe in: helping animals, advocating for the environment, and providing inspiration to young, like-minded people who come to visit.
Core staff need to be excellent communicators. You will run staff meetings, assign tasks to other volunteers, and mediate when interpersonal problems arise. We expect direct conflict resolution, constructive delivery of feedback, and timely action.

Community Living:
Mission: Wolf operates as a close-knit community, isolated from towns and cities. Our core staff need to have great communication skills, experience working with people, and be comfortable living and working with others in close proximity. We set no minimum age, but we do set high expectations for how our volunteers will do their work, interact with the public, and contribute to the community. We judge people based on the work they do and their maturity in human and animal interactions. Core staff need to be comfortable leading people older than themselves.

Time Off:
We encourage all core staff to take at least a few weeks off each year, to relieve the stress of living and working in an isolated community for months on end. This is an opportunity to make money, gain perspective, and become refreshed and better able to contribute.


Housing: Core staff live in heated cabins or tipis. Some of these are bedrooms in public buildings, like our office and vet buildings, while others are private cabins. Core staff have access to our community kitchen building and staff bathroom (towels provided), as well as access to our washing machine.

Food: Mission: Wolf provides the food for all full-time staff (staples, not junk). You prepare breakfast and lunch on your own, and we all participate in daily community dinners.

Transportation: Transportation to and from local airports, or bus and train stations. Parking space for a car if you choose to drive. Use of Mission: Wolf vehicles for personal trips when appropriate (option to combine personal trips with Mission: Wolf errands).

Technology: Wireless internet, access to community laptops, access to a landline with free long distance and limited international calling.

Compensation: After two months, staff begin receiving an expense reimbursement of $15 per week. This amount increases to $25 per week after four months, and to $50 per week after six months. Core staff also begin receiving a small, taxable income after one year, which increases annually.

Bonus Stuff:

  • Potential participation in wildlife chemical immobilization course
  • Staff camping trips funded by Mission: Wolf several times each summer
  • Access to our collection of outdoor equipment
  • Growth in leadership skills from leading a community of 8-20 volunteers from diverse backgrounds
  • Potential to learn new skills: caring for animals, working with “horse-whispering” body language techniques, welding, carpentry, chainsaw use, permaculture practice, solar electric systems, automotive mechanics, and much more

Core Staff Job Descriptions

Animal Caretaker

Overlooks the health and safety of all resident animals, including wolves, wolf-dogs, and horses. Ensures that enclosures are safe living environments for animals. Teaches staff and visitors about animal behavior and safety. Responsible for preventative vet care and emergency response. Maintains necessary animal-related paperwork and licenses for the facility.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Vet tech experience
  • Animal handling experience
  • Degree in biology or a relevant field
  • Experience specifically with canines and horses
  • Teaching, leadership, or camp counselor experience
  • Good organization skills and ability to multitask

Currently accepting applications

Refuge Caretaker

Overlooks maintenance of facilities — including buildings, systems, landscapes, greenhouses, and vehicles — to ensure the safety of people and animals, and further our sustainability efforts. Manages the tool shop and teaches visitors and staff how to use equipment safely and properly. Leads construction and maintenance projects. Maintains necessary paperwork for vehicles and overlooks building permits.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Teaching, leadership, or camp counselor experience
  • Construction experience
  • Degree in engineering, architecture, or a similarly relevant field
  • Carpentry, welding, electrical, and/or plumbing experience
  • Landscaping or forestry experience
  • Preference given to applicants with small engine or automotive maintenance experience

Currently accepting applications

Operations Caretaker

Overlooks non-profit logistics and operations. Manages scheduling, correspondence, finances, and membership database. Works with grant-writing, marketing, and public relations.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Degree in business, non-profit management, or other similarly relevant field
  • Computer proficiency, especially with Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, etc.
  • Willingness to learn and manage our database system
  • Basic accounting and finance experience
  • Experience with scheduling, logistics, and coordination
  • Marketing and PR experience

Currently accepting applications

Education Caretaker

Overlooks experiential education for visitors, groups, and staff. Maintains safety of visitors and animals, ensuring all visitors are greeted and given an introduction to refuge operation and rules upon arrival. Manages publications, including flyers, newsletter, and website content. Trains new staff members.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Teaching, outdoor education, and/or youth leadership experience
  • Experience working with a variety of age groups
  • Excellent interpersonal skills (enthusiastic, dynamic, personable)
  • Degree in education, natural sciences, or other similarly relevant field
  • Wilderness medicine certifications (WFA or WFR) preferred
  • Ability to lead groups in a variety of projects
  • Tour guide experience
  • Computer proficiency and ability to learn how to update our website
  • Proficiency with InDesign and/or other graphics software

Currently accepting applications

We accept applications on a rolling basis, with the exception of fall and summer arrivals. If you are applying to arrive in the fall:

Application deadline: July 15 (Early applications are appreciated, since we prefer to interview qualified candidates. However, applications received before May 15 will be be placed on hold, and reviewed after our summer staff arrive on May 15)

Notification date: August 1 (For international applicants, July 21 or earlier to allow visa application time)

If you are planning to arrive in the summer, please apply as summer staff (you can mention in your application/interview that you are interested in staying past summer). Applications for arrival at any other point in the year are accepted on a rolling basis. We try to notify volunteers no later than two months prior to their start date. For international volunteers, we try to give three months notice to allow for visa applications.

If you have any questions about core staff positions, responsibilities, skills, or your suitability, please contact us. We accept core staff applications on a rolling basis, unless otherwise stated in the specific job descriptions.