Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Currently Recruiting For . .

The National Zoo is currently accepting applications for Special Event Volunteers at the Autumn Conservation Festival and Keeper Aidesat the Kids' Farm.

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.

Special Event Volunteers: Autumn Conservation Festival
Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, VA

Saturday, October 4, 2014  and Sunday, October 5, 2014 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Volunteer shifts run from 10:00a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Autumn Conservation Festival will be held on Saturday, October4th and Sunday, October 5th. This event offers two days of unforgettable fun, tours, and activities at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is the only time each year that SCBI Front Royal is open to the public.

This event offers opportunities for guests to learn about the fascinating research that our world-famous scientists are conducting around the globe. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the partnership between the Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University (GMU) which established the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Its mission is sustaining global biodiversity by advancing the theory and practice of conservation biology with transformative, transdisciplinary education.

We are seeking volunteers to assit at this unique event at the SCBI campus in Front Royal, VA. Please note: Terrain at SCBI is hilly, and volunteers should be comfortable with a hilly, possibly lengthy, walk to their assigned station.


Volunteer duties: Volunteers will help in a number of capacities: helping animal keepers and scientists run their booths, helping with kids’ activities, ticket sales and line management, and serving as event hosts. You will be assigned a role when you check in at the event. We thank you in advance for your flexibility and willingness to work where we most need you!

Time commitment:
Volunteers are expected to work the duration of each day: Shifts are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. You may sign up to work Saturday or Sunday, or if you like, you can sign up to work both days.

We will provide lunch to all volunteers who work each day. (If you have special dietary restrictions or allergies please plan to your own lunch with you.)

Age Requirement:
You must be 15 or older to volunteer at this event. Any volunteer younger than 18 must have their parents’ or guardians’ signed permission to participate.

Uniform Requirement
: Current volunteers should wear their red Zoo volunteer uniform shirt and khaki pants/skirts. First time volunteers should wear a plain white shirt and khaki pants/skirts. No jeans please. A name tag (if you do not already have one) will be provided at volunteer check in.

Zoo-SCBI Shuttle Service
: Shuttle service from the National Zoo’s Bus Lot to SCBI in Front Royal, for volunteers who would like to use it. You must indicate on your registration form if you will be using the shuttle. Please note that teen volunteers may only use the shuttle service if they are accompanied by an adult parent or guardian who is also volunteering for the event. 

The shuttle will leave the Zoo Bus Lot promptly at 7:30 a.m. The return shuttle will leave SCBI at 3:30 p.m. and return to the Zoo at approximately 5 p.m. Please note we are unable to hold the shuttle for latecomers.

To apply:
Please click on the link below and fill out the online form by September 22nd. You will receive event confirmation information after that time.

ACF Registration Form-Click Here

If you have questions, please call the the SCBI education office at 540.635.6540.

Keeper Aide Volunteer-Kids’ Farm
The Kids’ Farm is home to various farm animals, some of which are rare breeds, including the San Clement Island goats and Ossabaw Island hogs.

Special Qualifications:
Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather as our collection is exhibited outside and in an open barn.  Applicants should be interested in learning about and caring for a variety of farm animals. Keeper Aides at Kids’ Farm will assist animal keepers with all aspects of animal husbandry including: cleaning feces and soiled wood shavings from overnight holding stalls, preparing food and water for animals, and walking goats and donkeys (on leash) to and from animal enclosures.  Some animal care experience is preferred, but not required.

Time Commitment
:  There are currently openings for keeper aides on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday.  The shift times are from 7:30am to 10:00am.  You must be able to volunteer at least one day each week for one year.

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

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. There is a probationary period for keeper aides.

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, Health Requirement 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 of $20 (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.

Questions or to apply:
For additional information and to request a registration form email us or call 202.633.3056.




Upcoming Recruiting:
Boo at the Zoo & Night of the Living Zoo!

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

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