Volunteers

As a volunteer-based organization, we couldn't do what we do to save red pandas without our amazing team from around the world.

Interested in joining the RPN team? Check out our volunteer opportunities here and send your interest and experience to volunteer@redpandanetwork.org.

What RPN volunteers are saying...

Like most people, the first time I saw a red panda, I instantly fell in love. I was young when I first saw one at the Columbus Zoo, but even still, I tried to learn as much as possible about the unique little animal. When I found out the grave danger they are in, I became highly invested in the cause to help them. 

Besides red pandas, I have always loved animals. I am planning on majoring in zoology in college, but have also been interested in the environment that the animals have to live in, and the conservation efforts humans can make. I found out about the Red Panda Network when my parents “adopted” a red panda for me as a gift a few years back. After that, I received emails regarding the different initiatives RPN was taking to not only help red pandas, but also help the community that overlaps with the same environment.  During my senior year of high school, I realized that I could volunteer with RPN to help its causes and also gain a better understanding of what the non-profit sector is like. I always wanted to help, and now I feel like I can really benefit something that I care so much about through an organization that truly is trying to make a difference.

Christina is an awesome volunteer who wrote the article Red Panda: Two Species Or One? We are so proud of her!

Christina Barba
Writing and Communications - USA

There are over 40,000 endangered species in the world, and while 'cuteness' is a subjective trait, we could argue that a good number of these at-risk creatures fall somewhere pretty high on the cuteness scale. Red Pandas in my view rate pretty dang high and while that characteristic alone encouraged me to donate to the Red Panda Network cause the first time, it wasn't what convinced me to offer any assistance I could behind the scenes. RPN isn't focusing solely on the Red Panda alone, but is working in a far more expanded manner to affect not only their immediate chances of survival, but also to increase and improve their environment and that of the native people they share the land with. They are just as concerned with the aspects of forest health, community prosperity and education because they know how dependent the entire ecosystem is on each of those conditions. This is what impressed the heck out of me and spurred me to reach out and see how I could help.

I've recently retired from a 30 year career focused on statistics, analysis and decision-making support for a university, an international software company and two healthcare organizations. During this time I've done everything from serving as the president of the University Classified Association in Alaska to answering an IT help desk phone to creating and implementing a reporting service for a multi-state hospital system. The link between all of these is my true appreciation for the hard work and passion of my co-workers. I have always done everything I could to ensure we as a team are working with the best information available to make the best decisions for our goals. Okay, that and having fun while we do it (yes, you can have fun with statistics!). I look forward to putting my skills with all things data to good use for the RPN and hope to be able to identify and maximize trends and progress due to the many efforts currently underway. As a volunteer newbie, I also look forward to providing whatever feedback I can with an objective point of view. RPN has already accomplished so very, very much and I am honored to be able to help continue these efforts!

Jules David Joanna Belyea
Content Writer - USA

From a very young age, conservation of the outdoors and the creatures inhabiting them has been extremely important to me. Through the Red Panda Network’s excellent outreach and social media efforts, I learned how concerning the plight of red pandas had become and knew I wanted to help. Designing for this organization since 2015 has been so wonderfully rewarding and is made even greater by the tireless dedication of the others involved."

Bryan has donated his exceptional design skills to provide us with compelling annual reports, infographics, event posters and other education and outreach materials. We are forever grateful!

Bryan Filarsky
Graphic Design - USA

The first time I saw picture of a red panda I thought they were too cute to be real. I instantly fell in love with them. I remember reading up about them and quickly discovering the sad reality of how critically endangered they are. I found the Red Panda Network online and seeing the amazing work that they do, I decided to lend a helping hand in the best way I could.

Working with the Red Panda Network as a graphic designer I’ve been able to bring attention to this wonderful charity and the people behind the scenes who work tirelessly for the red panda cause. Over the last 4 years we’ve created many digital campaigns together, educating and informing along the way. My small role has been hugely rewarding and it’s great to be able to help them in their efforts to save the red panda."

Laura's design talents and passion for pandas have made a huge difference for our efforts to save this endangered species. Thank you Laura for being such an awesome volunteer!

Laura Finnegan
Graphic Design - UK

I originally started volunteering for RPN in 2016 because I thought it would be a great way to build my portfolio in social media management across different types of brands/businesses. Helping cute red pandas in their natural habitats seemed like an interesting and fun opportunity, and the ins and outs of a non-profit was something I wanted to learn more about. Since then, I've gotten to see passion and enthusiasm for red panda conservation in all sorts of ways from people ranging from young panda fans, to zoo staff, to professional conservationists, and its this inspiring community that's kept me here. Plus, as a bonus, volunteering for RPN has given me amazing experiences like meeting REAL red pandas and their keepers in so many zoos across America and even Europe, and let me connect with people across the globe that I would otherwise never have met, all because of this shared interest. Someday, I hope to make it on an eco-trip to see them in the wilderness of Nepal!

Minami Furukawa
Social Media Guru - USA

My first encounter with red pandas was when my girlfriend mentioned that it was her spirit animal! I legitimately thought they were just red coloured pandas – but upon googling, noticed that they were adorable little critters that needed help.

So off I went searching for organizations that were dedicated to helping red pandas – and that’s how I discovered RPN. Reached out to the chair of the board, got plugged into the team and started discussing how I can add value!

One of the most impressive things about the network is not just the amazing work they have done for red pandas so far, but also how smart, agile, open, and friendly the team backing the network is. It’s great working together with high performers in the pursuit of one common goal. As a chartered professional accountant and consultant by trade, I’ll be adding strategic and operational value to the network so that we can better help red pandas everywhere!

David Huang
Finance – Canada

Frankly, I did not pay much attention to red pandas at first. It was not that rare of an animal to me because I got to see them whenever I would visit zoos in Japan. 

They came to my attention when I helped my daughter’s summer science project on red pandas, which we did together. That was when I came to realize red pandas are endangered. When I told my daughter this, she seemed to be in shock and I'll never forget the sad face she made. I know there are a lot of people who care about red pandas including young kids and I find not want to see their sad faces too. We agreed we must conserve them!

We then thought about what we can do to save them. My daughter was just 8 years old and I was just an ordinary mother who loves animals...what could we do?? We tested ourselves to see how much we knew about red pandas. Shameful! We did not know much besides the fact that they are cute. We visited libraries and looked for red panda books written in Japanese. We found none.

So we searched online but I was not sure if the information was credible. Luckily we were able to read English and found Angela Glatston's red panda textbook! We spent lots of time learning about red pandas, which my daughter included in her report and she won the first prize! After that, my daughter wanted to publish a book on red pandas in Japanese to help raise awareness. We thought THAT’S IT!!  Let’s publish a book about red panda!!

In order to publish the book, I had to see red pandas in the wild. That was when I learned about Red Panda Network (RPN) and I signed up for one of their ecotrips right away. My daughter also wanted to come but she was too young.

The trip was totally unforgettable experience. It was not that easy because I had never hiked at such high altitude. RPN staff, the guide, local people, and the other ecotrippers were very nice and I had a chance to learn about wild red pandas, their habitat, as well as the local communities and threats to this endangered species. I learned that in order to protect red pandas, we need to support local people in improving their lives. This is exactly what RPN is doing and I truly appreciate their work.

I also learned that even just an ordinary person, like me, can help change things for the better. That is why I choose to support RPN in any way I can.
Kuniko Kai
Outreach - Japan

When the pandemic turned everyone's lives around this past Spring, I suddenly found myself with a ton of free time. I wanted to use this time towards something meaningful and rewarding and I came across RPN's site by chance. After reading up on the organization's mission and current projects, I was impressed by their multifaceted conservation efforts and wanted to help. I have been interested in the nonprofit sector for a while and conservation of the planet is something I care a lot about personally so I thought this would be a great opportunity to put my writing skills to good use!

Esther Kwak
Grant Writing Intern - USA

I’ll never forget my first glimpse of a red panda. I was admiring the birds, animals, and exotic plants at the Minnesota Zoo when I rounded a corner and saw an animal unlike anything I’d ever seen before—a red panda. I adore animals, yet I hadn't known this gorgeous creature existed. How many other natural wonders was I unaware of?

That feeling of awe, delight, and curiosity stuck with me. To me, red pandas are a reminder that nature contains so many extraordinary things yet to be discovered. I wish everyone could experience the feeling I had when I saw a red panda for the first time, even if only briefly.

I volunteer for Red Panda Network (RPN) not only because of the incredible work they do in the field of red panda conservation, but also because of the way they do it. RPN researched different approaches to conservation and found that involving and educating the local (and global) communities who coexist with red pandas is the most effective way to save this important and awe-inspiring species.

Since I started volunteering in October of 2018, I’ve had some incredible experiences with the RPN team. These experiences have deepened my knowledge and appreciation of red pandas and the natural world around me in unforeseen and wonderful ways. I recently joined RPN at the 2019 WCN Expo in San Francisco where we met a conservation icon—Dr. Jane Goodall. Our faces in this photo say it all.

I’ve gained so much by volunteering for RPN—the opportunity to do something good for others, a chance to give back, and the feeling that I’m helping an animal and community I care deeply about. I’ve also made some incredible friends in the process. If you haven’t volunteered or contributed to conservation efforts before, I highly recommend it. The red pandas, all living things, and this glorious ecosystem we call home need you.

Holly MacCormick
Writing and Communications - USA

The first time I "saw" a red panda was when I came across a video of a couple red pandas playing in the snow. I was immediately struck by how cute, intelligent, and playful they were. Going down the rabbithole of red panda videos soon had me hooked. What I didn't know at the time was the threat they faced as a species. From poachers to environmental changes, it was sobering to learn how few of them were left in the wild. My research led me to the Red Panda Network though. I was excited to learn that there was a dedicated organization that worked on so many levels - helping educate people worldwide, but also creating measurable change in the local communities. I first became involved by symbolically adopting a red panda, and donating monthly. I eventually reached out to the RPN team to see if there was anything more I could do to help, and I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer. I've had a chance to work with RPN now for over three years and have been really pleased to see the organization grow and accomplish so much, and I'm excited to continue helping RPN achieve our mission!

Brian Sim
Development strategist, Researcher, Outreach, Writing and Communications

RPN has been blessed by Chris Turner-Neal's volunteership and superb writing abilities since 2014! He originally joined RPN to help with grant writing and now he is a member of our Writing and Communications team.

Chris's interest in red pandas developed from the moment he found out about them. He shared with us that a friend told him that his "frequent snacking and awkward gait reminded him of a red panda". Who wouldn't want to be compared to a red panda? Unfortunately, Chris lacks the false thumb that helps red pandas gather bamboo efficiently so he'll have to stick to his own diet.

One of Chris's favorite aspects of his work with RPN is when he gets to collaborate with our team in Nepal. As Chris puts it, "they work so hard to hit these conservation goals and build an infrastructure on the ground, and I get to help be sure their work is presented as cleanly and effectively as it can."

Chris lives in New Orleans where he is managing editor of 64 Parishes magazine. He is super excited about RPN's pangolin expansion, also supports the Chimp Haven chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, Louisiana; and his red panda tattoo is from Chris Handford at Black Torch Tattoo in Baton Rouge.

Chris is also a member of our team of dedicated monthly donors that we proudly call 'Panda Guardians.' We are honored to have someone so #passionateaboutpandas on our volunteer and Panda Guardian teams!

Chris Turner-Neal
Writing and Communications - USA

I didn’t know a whole lot about red pandas prior to volunteering at RPN, but I remember them being one of my favorite animals to see at the Columbus Zoo growing up. After completing my business degree, I was looking for ways to apply my design skills towards a good cause. I stumbled upon RPN while searching for freelance design projects and after doing some research, I was incredibly impressed by the work they do. RPN’s community-based approach to wild red panda conservation allows them to develop solutions that not only benefit red pandas, but also local people and the environment.

Since joining the team, I’ve grown to love red pandas even more than I did as a kid (my Instagram feed is now flooded with adorable red panda pics). Volunteering with RPN has been a great reminder of how we as humans are just one part of our local community. Having a better understanding of the local wildlife and habitat is what makes our communities flourish—leading to a brighter future for all of us.

Lily Wang
Graphic Design - USA

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