Calling all animal lovers! Want to get involved in your community while spending time with your favorite furry friends? Here’s how YOU can become a volunteer at your local zoo in four easy steps:
1. Do your research! Head online and track down the website for the zoo nearest you. Learn more about your zoo by reading its history, background and mission statement. Visit the volunteer section of the website and see what kind of programs they offer. Although some zoos only take volunteers that are over 18, many zoos have special teen volunteer programs for middle and high school students.
2. Visit the zoo! Before you apply, it’s a good idea to check out the animals, facilities and potential volunteer duties. Even if you’ve already been, grab your friends, a pen and paper and make a day trip of it. While you’re there, jot down what inspires you to want to volunteer at the zoo and the areas where you’d want to work — this will make the application process easier!
3. Apply early! Application processes can be lengthy. After you submit your application, you will have to wait for it to be reviewed and then for the zoo to (hopefully!) contact you for an interview. Although deadlines vary from place to place, it’s best to apply a couple of months before you’d actually like to get involved. Most zoo volunteer programs have applications open year round.
4. Applied, but haven’t heard anything? Don’t hesitate to follow-up! There is usually contact information for the volunteer coordinator listed on the website under the volunteer section.
Are you thinking of applying to be a volunteer at a zoo? Or are you already a zoo volunteer? We want to hear from you! Share your zoo stories with us in the comment section below.