Do you love animals, wildlife, nature, conservation and helping out your community? Potter Park Zoo offers the perfect opportunity for you to become involved! No special skills or previous training is necessary. Just bring your passion for adventure and desire to make a difference and let us show you how! At Potter Park Zoo we offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. From big events like Boo at the Zoo (fall family event) and Zoo Nights (21 + event), to anytime projects like gardening and grounds beautification, there’s something for everyone! Volunteer opportunities include:
No matter what your gardening skills, we can use your help on our zoo grounds! Take on your own garden space or simply help us weed and rake. You choose the task and your schedule. Looking for a little more? Consider our Adopt-a-Garden program!
Guest Services Support
Are you a people person? We have ongoing opportunities to help with greeting guests, assisting in our Animall Gift Shop, or helping with membership sales. We especially need help on weekends and during our busy spring and summer days.
Conservation Education (with additional training)
Zoo volunteers who educate are the friendly, fun-loving and knowledgeable individuals who (after additional training) help with Conservation Education. They are often seen at Conservation Education Stations (near an animal’s habitat in the zoo) or leading tours and share what they’ve learned with tour groups.
Training for Conservation Education activities: After completing volunteer orientation, volunteers are eligible to take additional training on interpretation and activity specific content. After training you will shadow experienced volunteers to receive additional on-the-job training.
Throughout the year, Potter Park Zoo hosts many private and public events. A wide variety of volunteers are needed for these, from greeters to craft assistants; food service helpers to holiday light installation; ticket takers to registration helpers and more! Help us create unforgettable experiences for our community!
Occasionally we have special projects of all kinds were we could use helpers – from conservation projects; to painting; to office support, organizing and sorting – there are a variety of opportunities.
Specialized Areas of Support
Do you have professional experience in things like grant writing, donor relations, or other specialized areas? We have the occasional need for help calling our supporters to say “thank you,” or assisting our development department with various projects.
Seasonal Zoo Teen Program Volunteers (separate page/application)
The Zoo Teen program at Potter Park Zoo is a volunteer opportunity which allows young people the chance to be a part of the daily operation of the zoo! Sound like fun? Check it out! These programs are open to teens ages 14-18 and require a separate application process. Please visit this page for more information.
All new Individual Volunteers (EXCEPT Zoo Teen Program & Junior Zookeeper Volunteers – see above) must first complete the Individual Volunteer Application (see below for Group Volunteer information). After your application has been submitted, you will receive a welcome email, as well as an email to complete a required background check .
Once you have completed and passed your background check, you will receive an email to do an online orientation. After completing the online orientation, you will be able to make arrangements for a brief tour of the zoo. There is a $20 Volunteer Orientation Fee, that will be collected at your onsite tour. This covers your on-boarding process and a uniform t-shirt, which will be given at the time of your tour.
Please note: The minimum age to be an individual volunteer is 18. For those ages 14-18, you may be interested in the separate Seasonal Zoo Teen Program HERE.
Group Volunteer Opportunities
Potter Park Zoo welcomes corporate, student, and other community groups to volunteer and connect with our mission. The first step is to complete the Group Volunteer Application Form (by clicking this link). Please note: The individual completing the application will be considered the contact person for your group, but can be changed at a later date. Orientation is not required for group volunteers.
Do I get to interact or go behind the scenes with any of the animals?
Our volunteers do not interact with our animals or go behind the scenes with animals. However, we always encourage volunteers to come see our zoo residents during their free time.
Is there an age requirement for volunteers?
The minimum age to be an individual volunteer is 18. For those ages 14-18, you may be interested in the separate Seasonal Zoo Teen Program HERE.
How do I sign up to become an individual volunteer?
Fill out a Individual Volunteer Application on our website. Once we have received your application and completed your background check, the Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to complete our online orientation.
What is the volunteer commitment?
We don’t have a current hours requirement, however, to stay up-to-date on relevant knowledge, it is recommended to do at least 20 volunteer hours a year. Additionally, we have incentives for those who generously give certain amounts of their valuable time to help the zoo. Check out our volunteer incentives here! Volunteers self-schedule, so you can volunteer when your availability allows, however, daytime availability is typically our greatest need.
Do you offer court-mandated community service opportunities?
We do not offer court-mandated community service opportunities at this time.