Volunteering at Lower Sherwood
Volunteers are an enormous asset to farms, and Lower Sherwood is no exception. All ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to learn and gain hands-on experience not only with raising llamas and alpacas, but all aspects of our operations at the farm.
There are a number of opportunities, both seasonal and ongoing, around the farm:
- Animal care
- Animal training
- Showing animals
- Light agriculture
- Mechanical, electrical, and construction
- Guest services
- Data entry/clerical
- Grounds keeping and trail maintenance
- Llama and alpaca snuggles
- Free admission to special events
- Annual volunteer reception
- Educational and learning opportunities
How to Volunteer
Anyone wishing to volunteer should complete the following forms:
You can also read our Volunteer Handbook that covers our volunteer policies and procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve compiled a list of the questions that we are most frequently asked about volunteering at Lower Sherwood.
I have no experience with handling large livestock, can I still take part?
Absolutely! No experience with large livestock is necessary to help volunteer at the farm. We’ll show you everything you need to know before activities begin.
Are there opportunities for volunteers with disabilities?
In general, volunteers should be able to stand, kneel, and walk on the uneven terrain that is typically found at a farm, however there are a number of opportunities that don’t involve physical labor and may be more suitable for volunteers with disabilities.
What volunteer opportunities do not involve physical labor?
We have plenty of opportunities throughout the season and around the property. We have several events during the year where we need help with all sorts of things like setting up and preparing for shows, event planning and coordination, as well as managing the farm store and helping around the office with tasks such as veterinary record transcription. Other opportunities such as fiber sorting and preparation are also available, and we also always need people with specialist talents, such as graphic design, assembling educational materials, and photography.
Let us know what you can do and we’ll try and work with you.
I’d like to volunteer, but I don’t live locally. Is there anything I can do?
There’s a limited number of opportunities that can be done remotely, including:
- Computer/IT Work
- Data Entry
- Event planning and coordination
- Administrative and Legal
- Graphic design
What do I need to wear/bring with me?
All volunteers are required to wear close-toed shoes and are encouraged to wear long pants to deter ticks. Bring anything you’ll need for working outdoors and with animals. Please apply sunscreen or bug spray before your shift. Bring plenty of water to drink! You may also bring food to eat. We have a refrigerator for volunteer and staff use.
Please DO NOT bring valuables to the farm. We do not offer a place to lock up your things.
Items left in the office are at your own risk.
What time should I arrive?
Volunteer shifts will be scheduled by emailing email@example.com and coordinating by shared Google calendar. Please plan on arriving 15 minutes prior to the start of your shift in order to prepare and learn of your tasks for the day.
Where do I park as a volunteer?
Volunteers should park in the designated parking for volunteers on the property. This will be shown to you during orientation on your first day.
What if I get to the farm and don’t know where to go?
If you reach the farm and are unsure about where to go, please call the office 434-286-4494. If we do not answer, it probably means we are with the llamas or hiking with visitors and are unable to answer right then. Please be patient! Keep in mind, we do our best to work with our volunteers and schedule things to ensure wires don’t get crossed, but we are a working farm and cannot always respond immediately.
Can children volunteer? What about older kids?
We love volunteers of all ages, but have to be cautious when working with the animals and handling the equipment around the property. You must be 12+ years of age to volunteer. Youth 12-15 years old must be accompanied by a parent and the tasks they perform may be restricted to those that are more age-appropriate. If you are 16+ years old, you may volunteer without an accompanied adult, but we ask that you have reliable transportation. Tasks for 16-18 year olds may also be restricted to those that are more age-appropriate.
I need to complete “Community Service” hours for school/work/etc. Can you accommodate that?
Yes, we have many high school and college students who choose to complete their service hours at Lower Sherwood. If there is paperwork that needs to be signed, we are happy to do that once the volunteer hours are complete. The age guidelines above still apply to those students.
Do I need to fill out a waiver ahead of time?
It is very helpful if you are able to complete a waiver before you come in. You only have to fill it out once per season.
What about group volunteering?
Lower Sherwood has many groups that join us for volunteering as well. If your work or community group would like to coordinate a day to help out, please mention this on your Volunteer Interest Form or contact us via email so we can schedule a time for you.
Who do I coordinate my volunteer time with?
Please coordinate your volunteer time with our Volunteer Coordinator and the Owner. They can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I can’t volunteer? Or make my scheduled shift?
Volunteers are expected to be reliable, punctual, and dependable, but we understand that life happens. If a volunteer is going to be late for their scheduled shift, they should email the owner or Volunteer Coordinator (email@example.com) as soon as possible. Repeat late arrivals or absences may result in a volunteer being removed from the schedule with no notice.
How do I stay in the loop on volunteer opportunities?
The best way is to sign up for our newsletter. The newsletter provides information on all the upcoming events, important information about the farm, and special volunteer opportunities. You can sign up by entering your email address underneath “Join our Mailing List” on our website and checking the “Volunteering at the farm” box. Or if you don’t wish to sign up, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to hear about upcoming service opportunities.
I still have questions…
For more information about volunteering at Lower Sherwood, please contact the Owner and Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com.