How do I work towards being a wildlife ecologist?

I have been thinking about going to school again, after being 5 years out of high school. Wildlife ecology is something I am interested in. A dream of mine is to work with apes or an animal sanctuary, etc. My question is where do I even begin when I don’t have the funds to do anything?

I live in the Seattle area. I noticed that WSU seems like the only place that really offers the the program I am thinking about. However, I may need other credits before I can get in and there are community colleges in this area too.

Honestly I am having trouble knowing what to even ask about right now. I have spent the last 5 years messing around with partying and drugs and alcohol. Now I am almost 2 years clean and in recovery. I just have no idea what to do first and it seems so hard and complicated knowing what to do. Any guidance where to post this would be greatly appreciated.