The wild horses who live in the greater Reno area have a storied history and are part of what makes living here special. Now you can be part of the amazing community effort to protect these cherished mustangs and humanely manage their population in a habitat that is increasingly challenged by development.
Working in coalition with local organizations, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) volunteer program connects people with opportunities to share and grow their love of wild horses and other wildlife, science, and nature. Opportunities abound, so get your boots on and join up with us in the great outdoors!
Darters - Become certified to dart horses with birth control! Requires a minimum monthly time commitment and completion of a 3-day certification course and field training.
- Eligibility: Must take a 2.5-day training and certification course. Inquire to learn more about being a certified darter and fee.
- When does it occur: Flexible schedule. Usually, all or half-day in the field. 1-3 days/week.
- What is needed: Suitable clothing for weather conditions & terrain, sunscreen, snacks & water. Current darting certification.
Spotters - Learn how to identify horses and match them to records in our database to help darters find mares (female horses) who need to be darted.
- Eligibility: Responsible and detailed person who can read a darting report and match with horses on the range.
- When does it occur: Flexible schedule. Usually, all day in the field, some half days. Volunteer times coordinated with darters.
- What is needed: Suitable clothing for weather conditions & terrain, sunscreen, snacks & water. Camera, tablet.
- Skills needed: photography, knowledge of horse colors and markings are very helpful.
Data Entry & Analysis - AWHC maintains a comprehensive database that has individually identified over 3,000 wild horses who have lived in the Virginia Range over the last five years. The database is the foundation of the fertility control program and we rely on volunteer assistance to keep the database up-to-date.
- Eligibility: Experience in databases, data entry and creating reports for data analysis.
- When does it occur: Flexible and work can be done from home.
- What is needed: Fairly updated computer, Wifi.
- Skills needed: Data analysis, troubleshooting.
Habitat Stewardship - Whether it’s protecting and cleaning up habitat, monitoring gates to keep horses safe and off of roadways, repairing fences, maintaining water sources or delivering hay to keep horses out of neighborhoods, volunteers are outdoors daily - hiking, enjoying the landscape and helping the wild mustangs of the Virginia Range stay wild, safe and free. Habitat steward opportunities abound!
- Eligibility: Suitable for all ages and all fitness levels. People go out in groups of 5 - 25 people. Experienced stewards will accompany each group.
- When does it occur: Once a week but varies according to need and weather.
- What to wear: Suitable clothing for weather conditions, sturdy shoes, work gloves, sunscreen, hat, snacks & water.
- Skills needed: Hiking, bending over, digging, lifting.
Rescue - If you have a background in animal sciences or horse experience, or if you’d like to learn about hands-on help for mustangs who are injured, ailing or orphaned foals, then rescue might be for you. Become certified in Technical Large Animal Rescue by attending training classes offered regularly throughout the year.
- Eligibility: Ideally have knowledge of horses but if you do not, having a strong passion for the safety of animals and people is also welcomed.
- When does it occur: Varies based upon need presented. Hours vary depending upon emergency.
- What is needed: Sturdy work gloves, safety helmet, orange safety vest.
- Training & Certification: Must attend Technical Large Animal Rescue Training certification classes to learn how to move & manage mustangs for rescue.
Public Education & Outreach - Many people have seen the beautiful mustangs that grace the open spaces in Northern Nevada, but few know about their history or the extraordinary, community-based effort underway to save them. Help us educate the public through outreach and educational presentations at schools and community organizations. This is ideal for people with experience and interest in education, public speaking or community relations & networking!
Become a wild horse warrior! Use your skills, learn new skills, meet like-minded people, and find out more about wild horses. It’s not all work and no play! Our volunteers are a close-knit community, and we hold educational sessions and social events throughout the year to help you continue learning… and having fun!
Have Questions? Contact Deb Walker, AWHC's Nevada Lead Field Representative, VR@americanwildhorsecampaign.org