Becoming a Zoo Volunteer:
Please read the information on this page to learn more
about volunteer opportunities at Dickerson Park Zoo.
Volunteers interested in serving as a Zoo Docent must commit to one year as a Zoo Ambassador.
For further questions regarding volunteer opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Volunteer at DPZ?
Dickerson Park Zoo Volunteer Orientation
Docents assist Friends of the Zoo’s Conservation Education Department staff in several capacities on the zoo grounds and in the community with outreach programming. These “volunteer teachers” share their knowledge of the zoo and support the zoo’s conservation education mission. Docents may be stationed on the zoo grounds to enhance our guests’ zoo visit and help make a connection to nature. Docents may also become an educator in our outreach programming for schools and organizations or assist with Z.E.B.R.A. classes.
Adults age 18 and older who are seeking a degree or career with animals or who like working with animals and interacting with people of all ages are invited to join this committed group of volunteers. No experience is necessary. However, you must complete the required training sessions, and you must serve as a Zoo Ambassador for one year before applying for a docentship.
Additional training will vary with the position, and some docent positions are limited in availability. Volunteering as a docent involves lifting, carrying and walking somewhat strenuous distances with crated animals and biofacts. Volunteers work indoors and outdoors.
Twenty-four service hours per year are required to be an active docent. In return for their dedication of time and talent, volunteers receive numerous benefits: free zoo admission, a discount in the Safari Trading Company gift shop and employee prices on food at the Bush Country Café. Active volunteers are invited to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. Volunteers are also eligible for Friends of the Zoo memberships based on their total service hours for the year. In addition, awards for cumulative hours are given. Volunteers who give 250 hours of time and at least five years of service are honored with a name plaque on the Volunteer Wall of Honor.
Ambassadors assist Friends of the Zoo’s event and guest services staffs in several capacities. Zoo Ambassadors are enthusiastic, people-oriented volunteers who supplement zoo staffing and interact with guests during events and throughout the summer season. When the zoo hosts an event, it is staffed almost entirely by volunteers. During events, Zoo Ambassadors assist at admissions, sell or serve concessions, and staff activity areas. Throughout the main season, Ambassadors also help host after-hours company picnics and assist zoo staff by monitoring animal feeding stations, selling tickets at the train station, selling Friends of the Zoo memberships, interacting with guests, monitoring the gift shop, and directing crowds on busy days.
The Zoo Ambassador program is open to anyone 18 and older. For some events, volunteers must be 21 years old. Most events are on Saturdays, with a few on weekday evenings or Sundays. No experience is necessary.
Fifteen service hours per year are required to be an active Zoo Ambassador. In return for their dedication of time and talent, Volunteers receive numerous benefits: free zoo admission, a discount in the Safari Trading Company gift shop, and employee prices on food at the Bush Country Café. Active volunteers are invited to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner along with other social gatherings throughout the year. Volunteers are also eligible for Friends of the Zoo memberships based on their total service hours for the year. In addition, recognition for cumulative hours and longevity are awarded.
Zoo Crew is a youth development program at Dickerson Park Zoo. This program is open to 14-20 year olds who have completed the 8th grade. Being a crew member will provide fun and enriching experiences to young people by gaining an understanding of the husbandry of exotic animals. The zoo crew will assist keepers with daily animal feeding and exhibit cleaning as well as providing enrichment opportunities. In addition, they have the opportunity to help with research, data entry, observation, and renovating exhibits.
Contact April Marler at email@example.com or call 417-874-2402 with any questions.
The ZooTEEN volunteer program empowers youth ages 13-17 to become conservation ambassadors and community leaders. ZooTEENS assist Friends of the Zoo’s Education Department as trained teacher aides and interpretive guides, allowing them to share their knowledge of the natural world with the public. ZooTEENS may assist education staff with summer Z.E.B.R.A. classes, conduct educational activities on the zoo grounds, and present animal biofacts to the public. ZooTEENS may also assist the education zookeeper with animal care duties.
The Summer 2022 application is now available!
Applicants will need to read the application letter carefully and fill out the corresponding documents. Applications are due April 15!