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For long-term assignments (interpreters, keeper aides, behavior watchers) we recommend that you only apply to the area where you are most interested in working, as you will not be eligible to volunteer with another unit for at least six months.

These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis however submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement.

 

Washington, DC Positions:

Zoo Help: Horticulture

Horticulture volunteers assist the Zoo's gardeners and horticulturists. The Zoo places special emphasis on the interconnectedness of all living things. Volunteer tasks include all forms of plant care in and out of the animal exhibits. You may find yourself planting flowers at the front gate, watering the hummingbird garden or pulling weeds in the flamingo exhibit! Every day is a new experience.

Age Requirement: 18+

Special qualifications: This position is mostly outdoors, so tolerance for all weather conditions is a must. Volunteers should be physically fit and able to lift 50 pounds. Some gardening experience is preferred.

Time commitment: In order to be considered, you must be able to make a season's commitment to the program (This program is open from March until November; winter months are closed), and must be able to work two shifts each month. Shifts are from 7-10am Monday-Friday. Limited space is also available on Saturday.

Training: Once accepted, you must attend a mandatory general orientation session, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional training will be provided on the job.

Uniform Requirement: Volunteers must purchase and wear a Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and a name badge which is included in the orientation/training fee of $20. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.

Application Process and Background Check Requirement: These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide prior to beginning to volunteer.

Membership and Additional Information: Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must sign up and complete General Orientation training, submit proof of required vaccinations (negative TB test and tetanus) to the NZP health unit, become a FONZ member in their first year of volunteering, and pay the orientation fee (includes volunteer shirt and name badge). Options are available for individuals for whom the fees and membership may not be manageable; please inquire with the Program's Supervisor for available options.

Application: Apply now to our Horticulture Zoo Help program.

Questions: For additional information, email us or call 202.633.4453.

 

Front Royal, VA (SCBI) Positions:

SCBI Ecology Aide: Fieldwork

Please note: this is a continuation of a short-term volunteer opportunity at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The work dates will be on Tuesdays beginning May 12th through June 2nd. If the weather is inclement, the work days will be rescheduled to Thursdays. (Volunteers will be notified, via email, 24 hours prior to the work date, if the workday will be postponed due to weather.)

SCBI’s Conservation Ecology Center focuses on how ecosystems function to support wildlife and maintain biodiversity. It is our obligation to be good land stewards by managing forests and grasslands to encourage conservation of our natural resources.

A minimum of ten volunteers are needed to help maintain a site as part of a major long term biodiversity study.

BiodiversiTree @ SCBI: BiodiversiTree is a long term forest ecology study looking at native tree species interactions and the services they provide. BiodiversiTree is designed to see what forest combination is best suited for providing these services. There are a total of 16 native species that occupy sixty four 35m2 plots. We are recruiting volunteers to help maintain our BiodiversiTree plots by installing weed mats. Volunteers will help place weed mats around the 10,000 trees inside the BiodiversiTree plots.

Special Qualifications: Volunteers should be physically fit, able to walk, bend, squat and move comfortably over uneven ground. Volunteers will spend three to four hours in the field each day. Volunteers must provide appropriate layered clothing, including long pants, boots and gloves. Hats, sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottles are recommended. Additional planting bars and spades are encouraged but not required.

Daily time commitment: 8:30 am until 12:30 pm each Tuesday (work days will be rescheduled for the following Thursday in the event of inclement weather).

Schedule:

  • 8:15 am check-in and registration and promptly leave for field work (no late arrivals).
  • 12:30 pm: return to campus.

Age requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Training: On the job training. Work will be conducted along with and under the supervision of SCBI ecology staff.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 11th, or until all available positions are filled. Go to the on-line registration form or forward your name and contact info, including phone number and email address, to SCBIeducation@si.edu. You will receive a confirmation email with more details.

Address: 1500 Remount Road Front Royal, Va. 22630. Additional location information will be included in your confirmation.

Questions: Contact Suzanne Hough houghsm@si.edu or Kristin Lee leekr@si.edu

Grassland Vegetation Survey Volunteer

Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL), a program convened by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) located in Front Royal, Virginia, studies and encourages the sustainable use of Virginia’s landscapes in order to promote native biodiversity. VWL uses community engagement and research to communicate the importance of restoring native habitats. The program utilizes citizen scientists to help collect data on grassland bird, plant, and pollinator species in order to further this effort.

Our goal is to:

  • Create a community network to promote dissemination of information from neighbor to neighbor.
  • Network landowners with state and federal agencies that can provide them with specific technical and financial assistance.
  • Establish and highlight demonstration sites that showcase best practices for different land uses, including opportunities for landowners to visit and tour working farms that serve a dual purpose in agricultural production and biodiversity.
  • Advance the science of land management and develop best management practices relevant both to working farmers and conservationists.
  • Survey Region: Piedmont Region of Virginia.

    Position Description: Volunteers will be required to survey at least one assigned site, and will be paired off in teams of two. Most sites within the VWL network are either working farms or privately owned properties. Plants will be identified to species and recorded; specimens may be collected in the field for further identification.

    Survey Time Period: There are two survey periods; June 1-31 and July 27th-August 31st. Assigned site(s) will be surveyed once during each period. Volunteers should also allot time for data entry and for at least one plant identification training session later in the summer.

    Requirements:

    1. Valid driver’s license, access to vehicle, and willingness to drive long distances.
    2. Attend a training session. This year’s training session is scheduled for April 25th from 9-12pm.
    3. Ability and willingness to work outside exposed to the sun in hot temperatures that may reach over 90F, and in conditions that may expose you to biting insects (including ticks), poison ivy, livestock and wildlife. Some hiking over uneven ground should be expected.
    4. Volunteers should be able to interact professionally with local landowners and other citizen scientists.
    5. Knowledge of or experience with identifying Virginia native grassland plant species and introduced plant species.

    Age requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

    Questions: Contact Celia Vuocolo, MSc. Candidate for more information.

    Application: Apply now through the on-line registration form

    Pollinator Survey Volunteer

    Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL), a program convened by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) located in Front Royal, Virginia, studies and encourages the sustainable use of Virginia’s landscapes in order to promote native biodiversity. VWL uses community engagement and research to communicate the importance of restoring native habitats. The program utilizes citizen scientists to help collect data on grassland bird, plant, and pollinator species in order to further this effort.

    Our goal is to:

  • Create a community network to promote dissemination of information from neighbor to neighbor.
  • Network landowners with state and federal agencies that can provide them with specific technical and financial assistance.
  • Establish and highlight demonstration sites that showcase best practices for different land uses, including opportunities for landowners to visit and tour working farms that serve a dual purpose in agricultural production and biodiversity.
  • Advance the science of land management and develop best management practices relevant both to working farmers and conservationists.
  • Volunteers will be required to survey at least one assigned site, and will be paired off in teams of two. Most sites within the VWL network are either working farms or privately owned properties. Plants will be identified to species and recorded; specimens may be collected in the field for further identification.

    Survey Region: Piedmont Region of Virginia.

    Survey Time Period: There are two survey periods; June 1st-July1st for the General Pollinator Surveys and June 15th- August 15th for the Rare Bumble Bee Project. Volunteers can participate in one or both surveys.

    Position Description:

    General Pollinator Surveys: Volunteers will be required to survey at least one assigned site, possibly two. Most sites within the VWL network are either working farms or privately owned properties. Blue Vane traps will be set out at predetermined points and collected two weeks later and replaced with a fresh trap. This will occur three times for each site during the survey period.
    Rare Bumble Bee Project: Volunteers will be required to survey at least one site, or possibly more, and will be paired with another volunteer. Volunteers will be trained on bumble bee identification, handling and sampling techniques.

    Requirements:

    1. Valid driver’s license, access to vehicle, and willingness to drive long distances.
    2. Attend required training sessions. The first training session is scheduled for May 9th, from 9am-12pm at SCBI. All volunteers must attend, regardless of survey assignment. A second training session will be held for volunteers that signed up for the Rare Bumble Bee Project on June 20th, from 10am-12pm. This session will be held in the field at a location TBA.
    3. Ability and willingness to work outside exposed to the sun in hot temperatures that may reach over 90F, and in conditions that may expose you to biting insects (including ticks), poison ivy, livestock and wildlife. Some hiking over uneven ground should be expected.
    4. Volunteers should be able to interact professionally with local landowners and other citizen scientists.

    Age requirement: You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

    Questions: Contact Celia Vuocolo, MSc. Candidate for more information.

    Application: Apply now through the on-line registration form

     

    Upcoming Recruiting:

    Check back frequently! There's always something going on at the Zoo! Information on applying will be posted along with each recruitment.

    Want to help the Zoo in another way? Join Friends of the National Zoo today.