Be A Volunteer

Become a Volunteer

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 Fall Zootacular (fall family event) and Zoo Nights (21 + event), to anytime projects like gardening and grounds, there’s something for everyone! Volunteer opportunities include:

Gardening/Grounds Beautification

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 summer season.

Special Events

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!

Special Projects

Occasionally we have special projects of all kinds were we could use helpers – from conservation projects; to painting; to organizing and sorting – there are a variety of opportunities.

Office Support

Our office staff sometimes need help preparing mailings, memberships or other clerical projects. If you can sort and shuffle, we can use your help!

With Additional Training… Conservation Education

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 and donating at least 20 hours of non-education volunteer work, 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.

   

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.

Individual Volunteers

Please note:  The minimum age to volunteer is 14.   For those ages 14-15, a parent or guardian must be present each time you volunteer (UNLESS – you are part of the separate Zoo Teen Program or Junior Zookeeper Program) AND this parent/guardian must also go through the volunteer application process with you, including attending orientation. If you are 16-18 years old, a parent/guardian does not need to be present when you volunteer, however, a parent/guardian must attend the volunteer orientation with you.

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 a request for information to complete a required background check (not applicable for those under 18).

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 volunteer is 14.   For those ages 14-15, a parent or guardian must be present each time you volunteer (UNLESS – you are part of the separate Zoo Teen Program or Junior Zookeeper Program) AND this parent/guardian must also go through the volunteer application process with you, including attending orientation. If you are 16-18 years old, a parent/guardian does not need to be present when you volunteer, however, a parent/guardian must attend the volunteer orientation with you.

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.  

FAQ

Do I get to interact or go behind the scenes with any of the animals?

Unfortunately, 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?

Please note:  The minimum age to volunteer is 14.   For those ages 14-15, a parent or guardian must be present each time you volunteer (UNLESS – you are part of the separate Zoo Teen Program or Junior Zookeeper Program) AND this parent/guardian must also go through the volunteer application process with you, including attending orientation. If you are 16-18 years old, a parent/guardian does not need to be present when you volunteer, however, a parent/guardian must attend the volunteer orientation with you.

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 sign-up for orientation.

What is the volunteer commitment?

As a volunteer, there are no minimum amount of hours you must complete. However, we do 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.

Do you offer court-mandated community service opportunities?

We do not offer court-mandated community service opportunities at this time.