Animal lovers unite: The Woodland Park Zoo needs volunteers

Jan 6 2020, 9:30 pm

Animal lovers with some extra time on their hands are invited to hang with the hippos and volunteer at the Woodland Park Zoo. The zoo is currently seeking people who have enthusiasm for both people and animals, and want to make conservation a priority in their lives.

The Woodland Park Zoo works year-round towards raising conservation awareness while saving species both in the northwest and around the world.

If working alongside animals seems like something you’d enjoy, sign up to be a Woodland Park Zoo volunteer.Ā All volunteers must be 16 years of age or older and start out by being a zoo ambassador. Once in the program, volunteers can apply for positions in other aspects of the zoo’s operations.

Information sessions are mandatory and are being held this Wednesday, January 8 from 1:30 to 3 pm, Saturday, January 11, from 10:30 am to 12 pm, and Saturday, February 8 from 10:30 am to 12 pm.

The many roles of zoo volunteers include the following:

Zoo AmbassadorĀ 

The Woodland Park Zoo considers all of their volunteers to be ambassadors of the zoo. Each and every volunteer plays a role in interacting with guests and works towards raising awareness of conservation. Every zoo volunteer is required to complete the zoo ambassador training program which consists of a two-day training session followed by a minimum of two three-hour mentored shifts. The role of Zoo Ambassador offers the most flexibility in scheduling and is required in order to proceed to another position.

Zoo Ambassador roles include:

  • Ambassador Roving Shifts: Actively greet and help guests by giving directions, pointing out animals, and answering questions.
  • Community Outreach: Engage with the public and assist staff at events outside of the zoo
  • Community Science: Help the zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Division gather data and help monitor local wildlife species. You’ll also engage with local community members.
  • Contact Area at the Family Farm: Provide guests with hands-on animal experience. You’ll have to clean the yard, but will be able to work directly alongside wildlife.
  • Exploration Stations: Teach zoo patrons about recycling, animal enrichment, and more.
  • Special Events: Help out at zoo events, including providing directions, crowd management, and helping children with arts and crafts.
  • Zoomanium: Help teach young children about animals in the Zoomanium.
volunteer woodland park zoo

John Loughlin/Woodland Park Zoo


Docents are the informal educators at the zoo. They’re required to devote 30 hours per year of volunteer hours to docent-specific activities and must work at least six hours per month.

Docent roles include:

  • Discovery Station: Teach guests about objects on a cart. The objects and cart station is to further zoo exhibits and allow guests to make new observations.
  • Conservation Connection Cart: Using props, docents must encourage conversations around empathy, perspective-taking, and learn about conservation actions that guests can take.
  • Exhibit Interpretation: Move through the exhibits at the zoo while engaging guests in conversations using animal biofacts, props, and exhibit features.
  • Tour: Provide tours on specific bioclimatic zones at the zoo, specific animals, and more.
woodland park zoo volunteer

Seattle Met for Woodland Park Zoo

Animal Unit Volunteer

Animal unit volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and can commit to a regular weekly shift for a minimum of six months. They assist animal keepers by cleaning and maintaining animal areas and workspaces.

Horticulture Volunteer

Horticulture volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and can commit to a regular weekly shift for a minimum of six months. They assist in the care and maintenance of various plants and gardens on zoo grounds.

Woodland Park Zoo Volunteer Info Session Dates

When: January 8, 1:30 to 3 pm; January 11, 10:30 to 12 pm; February 8, 10:30 am to 12 pm
Where: Zoo’s PACCAR Auditorium in the Education Center — at the entrance, tell a staff member that you’re here for the volunteer info session.

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Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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