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Where the Wild Things Are: Volunteers in Zoos and Animal Parks

Where the Wild Things Are: Volunteers in Zoos and Animal Parks

We typically write about volunteers in human service settings, but we don’t want to overlook the enormous popularity of volunteering with animals and the volunteer management involved with these unique settings. In this issue, Along the Web highlights the many roles volunteers take up in zoos and animal parks – including  working alongside rather than ‘hands on’ with animals and the many human-facing roles volunteers often play with paying customers. Writer Arnie Wickens provides links to websites of zoos around the world to illustrate some of the volunteer experiences to be found, and also includes links to videos of volunteers, volunteer managers, and relevant academic research about volunteers in zoos.

To read the full article

Sat, 08/24/2019
Greetings! AZA-accredited zoos across North America have worked together to create AZA's Volunteer Management Committee (VMC). We have a regional communication plan for ease in connecting Volunteer Managers both locally and nationally. Many wonderful things have come out of this committee and collaboration, including Best Practices documents, shared resources, a robust network, webinars on hot topics and more. In addition, we participate in an annual benchmarking survey to help leverage our profession, and share important service statistics that help us garner support. Statistics are shared with participating organizations, and are this year being shared outside of the VMC as an annual conference session. There is much work being done in this unique volunteer management arena to insure we are working together to mitigate risk and sustain and grow valuable volunteer engagement, furthering the conservation of species.

Wed, 09/11/2019
Thank you for this information, San Diego Zoo, the AZA looks like it is doing some impressive stuff. Are you able to share contact details of AZA with us all in case there should be volunteer managers or other zoos which would like to be in touch? Thanks - and apologies for the late posting of this response to your comment.