Family Volunteer Program
Connecting families to conservation, community and nature
The Family Volunteer program is an opportunity for parents and children to spend time together learning and having fun outdoors! The Family Volunteer Program at Zoo Atlanta empowers children and parents or guardians to begin their volunteer experience together as a family and expand their awareness of the purposes of zoos, animal science and conservation.
The Family Volunteer program is designed for parents or guardians to volunteer with family members who are between 8 – 13 years old. To become active Volunteers, applicants must: apply online, submit negative TB tests for each family member each year, and register for and attend a Volunteer Orientation. Each adult must also submit and pass a background check.
After attending orientation, Family Volunteers complete a guided scavenger hunt and purchase a Volunteer T-shirt and nametag for each family member. Family Volunteers maintain active status by volunteering 50 hours per year per family member (approximately four hours per month per family member) and by serving with at least one animal awareness day of their choice per year.
Our dynamic Family Volunteers make a difference for wildlife by inspiring our guests to appreciate animals and helping to provide a lively, fun and educational experience to guests. Continue reading below to learn more about the many options Family Volunteers may choose to become involved in while learning what it means to serve!
Family Volunteers have a variety of service areas to choose from to fit the skills and availability of their families. Family Volunteers start off their Volunteer experience by volunteering at our public events or as Zoo Ambassadors, in which Volunteers welcome guests, provide answers to questions, and promote excellent guest experience at the Zoo’s entrance in Flamingo Plaza. At Zoo Atlanta’s public events, such as animal awareness days like World Elephant Day, Family Volunteers run themed craft tables and educational activities. The activities vary with the events and change from year-to-year, but Volunteers can always expect to engage with guests of all ages and take part in the fun on these special days! Volunteers use these experiences to familiarize themselves with the layout of the Zoo, learn the answers to frequently asked questions, and become comfortable with the dynamics of a Volunteer shift.
Is your family as passionate about conservation as Zoo Atlanta is? Family Volunteers are involved in some of Zoo Atlanta’s conservation projects through Quarters for Conservation. Family Volunteers engage in conversation with older guests and invite younger guests to play a matching game about our three Quarters for Conservation programs. The end goal is to encourage guests to vote at the Quarters for Conservation kiosks in Flamingo Plaza and to #changetheworld. Family Volunteers receive training on the three Quarters for Conservation species each year, and Volunteers may further increase guests’ participation in conservation by suggesting that guests check out other actionable items such as the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping Guide or the Seafood Watch app.
For families looking to step up their animal knowledge game, Exhibit Interpretation may be a great fit for you. Family Volunteers can learn and then share our animal’s stories with guests at specific animal habitats! As Exhibit Interpreters, Volunteers share biological information, animal stories and conservation messaging with the Zoo’s guests at specific habitats. Family Volunteers may complete online training to interpret at three different animal habitats. Family members first complete a set number of hours each as Zoo Ambassadors or in Public Events to be eligible for the first exhibit interpretation training, and training is completed together as a family.
Families with members who love a good mystery or have expert sleuthing skills should volunteer with Zoo’s Clues! Family Volunteers challenge the Zoo’s guests to solve a monthly mystery by running the Zoo’s Clues booth by Jessica’s Pride as guests enter the Zoo. Family Volunteers explain the game, provide clue sheets, and stamp badges of guests who correctly solve the month’s mystery every Saturday.
Has your family visited Zoo Atlanta on a holiday and seen special surprises in some of the animal habitats? Be a part of the magic by volunteering with our Enrichment Team to build and craft enrichment items for our animals! Family Volunteers will work alongside Volunteens, Docents, and Adult Volunteers to use craft or building materials to make items for the Zoo’s animals that encourage their natural behavior. Enrichment is used throughout the year for all of Zoo Atlanta’s animals, although there are public events for which special enrichment items are requested, for example: Boo at the Zoo.
Family Volunteers are the first component of a continuum of Volunteer experiences at Zoo Atlanta. Family Volunteers will learn about the Zoo’s Volunteen, Adult, Docent, and Internship Programs and are encouraged to continue their growth alongside the Zoo’s other Volunteers. Family Volunteers may also meet Volunteens or Docents during their orientation, and will work with other Volunteers throughout their time in the Family Volunteer program. Once younger family members “graduate” the Family Volunteer Program, they are encouraged to consider applying for the Volunteen Program at Zoo Atlanta, and parents or guardians can continue to serve Zoo Atlanta and our community as Adult Volunteers!
Important dates for 2017:
- Please fill out and submit a Family Volunteer Application by October 15, 2017 to attend the Family Volunteer Orientation in early November.
8-13 years old
- Complete a Family Volunteer application
- Be able to commit one year of Volunteer service and commit to 50 service hours per year per family member (approximately four hours per month per family member).
- Purchase a name badge ($5) and uniform T-shirt ($10) for each family member, as well as an orientation fee for each adult in your family ($15)
- Ability to pass a background check (adults only)
- Provide a negative TB test for each family member each year of active service
- Maintain a current Zoo Atlanta Family Membership
- Attend a Family Volunteer Orientation
For further information, please contact the Volunteen Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions about everything our Family Volunteer Program has to offer.