Volunteers & Docents Wanted

August 1, 2018


Are you looking for a fulfilling way to help out your local community this year? Utica Zoo has a variety of volunteer opportunities available for 2018-2019:

Docent (Age 18+):

A zoo docent is a trained volunteer, teacher, or guide who is dedicated to educating the public about the environment, wildlife, conservation, and the Utica Zoo. Docents lead guided educational tours and assist with classes both on and off zoo grounds, help during special events, and interact with and educate zoo visitors with bio-facts, live animals and other educational tools. Docents also participate in animal enrichment activities and act as a zoo ambassador.

Anyone looking to become a Utica Zoo docent must be at least 18 years of age and must complete the Docent Training Course. The course will cover important information that all of the Utica Zoo docents are required to know and maintain knowledge of. Attendance at each class is mandatory in order to officially become a Utica Zoo Docent.

The next Docent Training Course will be held over 2 days on November 29-30 from 4pm-7pm. Prospective Docents must attend both training sessions and pre-registration is required. 

Zoo Crew (Age 15-17):

Zoo Crew members are trained volunteers that are 15 to 17 years old. The Zoo Crew Training Course is held over a period of five consecutive days. It will train your child to become an effective and independent zoo ambassador who is capable of interpreting his/her environment successfully.

Jr. Zoo Crew (Age 12-14):

Jr. Zoo Crew members are trained volunteers that are 12 to 14 years old. The Jr. Zoo Crew Training Course is held over a period of four consecutive days. It is designed just like zoo camps but will explore the zoo, its animals, and critical conservation issues in greater detail.

Volunteer applications for the following can be found at uticazoo.org/volunteer. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee placement at the Utica Zoo as a volunteer.


Special Events Volunteers: 

Special events at the zoo are not easy to host. The zoo relies on volunteers to facilitate their success. Volunteers can choose to help with set-up, take-down, decorating, and logistic needs, before, during, and after each event. Please apply at least 3 weeks prior to each event. Volunteers may sign up to help with various tasks for the following events: Eggstravaganza (must be 18+ years old), Earth Day (must be 18+ years old), Wine in the Wilderness (must be 21+ years old), Brewfest (must be 21 + years old), Wildlife Festival (must be 18+ years old), and Spooktacular (must be 18+ years old). Events dates can be found at uticazoo.org/events.

Administrative Volunteers

From time to time, the office crew has large projects that require extra hands. Some of these projects include bulk mailing, rolling change, filing, data entry, and general clerical work. These positions are filled on a per diem basis.

Animal-Care Volunteers

If you love working with and learning about different species of animals, this program may be for you. Animal-care volunteers work side by side with the animal-care staff to keep animal exhibits clean, safe, and healthy. This can involve physical work in harsh weather conditions. Those applying for animal-care volunteer positions should note that there is a time commitment of at least 4 hours per week with a minimum of 6 months. Also, these positions are limited and filled on an “as needed” basis. You must be at least 18 years old to apply and submit a current Mantoux (TB) test.

Zoo Ambassadors

This program centers on customer service. Zoo Ambassadors serve as a host for visitors with questions/comments about the zoo. You must have excellent people skills. Some of the duties associated with this position include: set up and manage a membership table during weekends and high-traffic days, greet and direct visitors to exhibits, and assist gift shop with crowd control. This position requires an extensive knowledge of the zoo. Must be 18 years or older to become a Zoo Ambassador.

Grounds and Maintenance Volunteers

Utica Zoo has over 30 acres of lawns, gardens, forests, flowerbeds, ponds, and buildings to maintain. If you have experience in painting, carpentry, or landscaping, this is the position for you. Maintenance volunteers work directly with zoo Maintenance and Grounds staff to keep the zoo a beautiful and clean place to visit. Must be at least 18 -years old to apply.

Group Volunteers

Do you have a group of 5 to 25 people who want to volunteer at the zoo? Group volunteers help at the zoo for school projects, corporate benefits programs, or family time. Utica Zoo asks group volunteers to help with grounds work, clean up before and after events, and other large outdoor projects. All participants must be at least 14 years old and anyone under the age of 18 must be chaperoned (there must be 1 chaperone for every 5 children).

To stay up-to-date on all things Utica Zoo, visit UticaZoo.org. Daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @UticaZoo.