About our volunteers
At Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch (CABBR), volunteers are essential to our ability to provide care to more than 1,200 domestic and exotic animals daily. They contribute in a wide variety of ways ranging from administrative work, helping with maintaining the grounds, building enrichment toys for the primates, grooming and caring for the equines, and coordinating special events such as our open house or tabling events. Importantly, our volunteers have fun and make new friends, while helping animals.
Black Beauty Ranch location
The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch is located in Murchison, Texas.
Click on role title to view an expanded position description.
Equine Team Assistant: Assist the equine care team with mucking, feeding, grooming, and provide other equine care as needed.
Facilities and Maintenance: Assist with general maintenance and repair of the ranch.
Garden Club: Help keep our gardens flourishing by providing general garden care.
Office and Outreach Assistant (not currently accepting applications for this role): Provide administrative support to staff by helping with common office duties such as data entry, photocopying, filing, and answering phones. Represent CABBR at local community events to promote our programs and services, as well as promote our volunteer programs to members of the public.
Primate Team Assistant: Assist the primate care team with cleaning, feeding, and providing enrichment for primate residents.
Wildlife Team Assistant: Assist the exotic care team by cleaning, feeding, and providing general observation of the exotic animals at CABBR.
Note: Volunteers may be considered for other volunteer positions once they complete 60 hours of service.
What our volunteers say
“Black Beauty Ranch is heaven on earth for animal lovers. Volunteering at the ranch makes me feel good about helping animals, and it’s a great feeling to know that when I leave, the animals are in such good hands. I leave the ranch feeling like a million bucks after I’ve spent the day there, and on top of the having the privilege of hanging out with some fun animals while volunteering, I get to do it among some very cool people. As animal lovers, we never meet a stranger at Black Beauty Ranch.” —Pam Duffy
“There is nothing like the feeling of driving home after a hot, sweaty, dusty afternoon at the ranch smelling like a burro and knowing that I made a chimp happy that day.” —Stacy Smith
“I just love coming home hot and sweaty with hay in my hair and horse slobber on my clothes. It comes from knowing I've had a wonderful day with the hands on experience and the unconditional love I receive from these magnificent horses.” —Donna Talley
Benefits of volunteering
Regular volunteers at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch are able to meet and work with like-minded people while having the opportunity to learn about animals. Volunteers have the opportunity to make a real difference for our animals while participating in activities that involve caring for more than 40 different species ranging from tortoises to horses to chimpanzees.
Becoming a volunteer
- Our goal is to ensure you have a good volunteer experience, while creating consistent, trained volunteers to assist our staff. We maintain a minimum 4-hour volunteer shift. Depending on the volunteer role, shifts are somewhat flexible, but work typically needs to be completed when the majority of our staff works: between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- There are 3 options for the initial volunteer commitment depending on the role: Fast Track (4 shifts in 8 weeks), 24 in 90 (24 hours in 90 days) or Group / Occasional Volunteer (1-4 shifts per year). After the initial commitment period is complete, continuing volunteers are asked to work one, 4-hour shift each month, if possible.
- The Photography Club and Tour Guide Team roles have different commitments (not currently accepting applications for these roles). Please review the position descriptions linked above for additional information.
- Please let us know your initial and long-term availability in your application.
- Must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer. Teens 16-17 must volunteer with a parent or guardian as their partner at all times.
- All volunteers must have current tetanus inoculation and provide proof of a negative TB titer. We recommend all volunteers have vaccination against Hepatitis A & B.
- Volunteers must meet the requirements of the Essential Capabilities document.
- We can accommodate some court-ordered community service in our program. Please note there may be restrictions on the types of volunteer activities allowed for mandated service.
- Volunteers must pass a criminal background check.
- Volunteers are provided with one t-shirt to wear during their volunteer service; additional shirts are available for sale.
- Complete an online application form linked below. A staff member will contact you to discuss opportunities and schedule you for an orientation.
- If, after the orientation, we mutually determine that the opportunity appears to be a good fit, you will be asked to fill out an authorization form allowing us to carry out a background check based on the type of position for which you are applying.
- Following the orientation, a nominal fee of $25 will be due to help cover our expenses and to cover the costs of the first volunteer t-shirt. (These fees may be waived upon request if they would cause a barrier to an applicant’s ability to become a volunteer; please contact us directly if you would like to discuss the fees.)
- Before your first shift, you will be asked to sign a volunteer agreement and a waiver and release of liability.
- After you are made an official volunteer, you will be trained in all aspects of your volunteer work.
Please apply for the position that interests you most. After you submit your application, you’ll have the opportunity to indicate other roles in which you might be willing to participate. Be sure to list all of the opportunities you're interested in so we can assign you where your help is most needed. Please also be sure to indicate the days/times you are available to work.