Posted on February 5, 2020 at 12:54 PM by Blog Author
The Volunteer Team (Chris and Erica – Hello!) work with all ages of volunteers at the Blank Park Zoo. Our teen volunteer program, Zoo Crew is a special opportunity for youth ages 13-17 to get involved. If you would like to apply to be a part of Zoo Crew we are accepting applications until March 1st. For more information click here to visit our website!
A few of the main objectives of the program are to teach teens jobs skills, increase interpersonal skills and engage them with the natural world. We achieve some of these by having them apply, interview and attend a training to be accepted into the program. Once those have been completed they have numerous volunteer opportunities to choose from.
The program is progressive which means each year the volunteer opportunities change and increase in responsibility. First year members can volunteer with education (teaching guests about animals, helping with Summer Safari camp) and guest services (helping with the train, cleaning up around the zoo, answering guest’s questions). This lays a foundation of knowledge about the zoo and teaches them the basics of providing good guest services. Second year members can build upon what they have learned throughout the first year as well as animal care (assisting staff on the Small Mammals team, preparing diets for animals in Commissary). Third, fourth and fifth year members continue to build upon skills and responsibilities learned the previous two years. They also serve as mentors and leaders to the first and second year members.
Zoo Crew members are required to volunteer a certain number of hours throughout the year and be good volunteers in order to be invited back for the next year.
Working with the Zoo Crew volunteers is definitely one of the highlights of our job. It is very inspiring to see their dedication and hard work. If you would like to apply to be a part of Zoo Crew we are accepting applications until March 1st. For more information visit our website!
As a first year Zoo Crew volunteer, Ty Kenan provided over twenty hours of service by educating the public via exhibit guides (52 total hours for 2019). Through exhibit guide opportunities volunteers can choose from a handful of animals, learn about that animal and convey that information to the public. Ty was a very dependable and energetic exhibit guide volunteer. Thanks Ty for all your hard work!
As a second year Zoo Crew volunteer, Celise Rogers provided over thirty-five hours of service by volunteering with our summer camp program, Summer Safari (59 total hours for 2019). When volunteering with Summer Safari volunteers are able to assist Camp Counselors with camp activities and crafts, they interact and engage with campers and also assist with keeping campers on task. Thanks Celise for all your hard work!
As a third year Zoo Crew volunteer, Will Thornton has almost twenty hours of service as an Animal Presenter (42 total hours for 2019). As an Animal Presenter volunteers have the opportunity to provide guests with an interactive and close-up animal experience. They also gain skills with formal and informal presentations. During these experiences guests learn about the animal and their natural habitat. Will enjoys being an Animal Presenter because he gets to work with a variety of animals and likes how much information he was learning just by being up close with the animals! Thanks Will for all your hard work!
As a fourth and fifth year Zoo Crew volunteer, Bobby Schaer has provided over 350 hours of animal care (528 total hours for 2019). Animal care volunteers work alongside Zookeepers on various animal care teams; carnivore/primate, education, small mammals, large mammals, avian/reptiles or aquatics. Volunteers assist keepers in the everyday care of zoo animals. This requires a lot of learning and hard work. Examples of duties may include: sweeping, mopping, moving hay and/or raking. It is not a glamorous job but a very important one that has to be done daily. Bobby enjoys volunteering with the large mammal team and often makes enrichment for the animals on that team. Thanks Bobby for all your hard work!