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Currently Recruiting For...

The National Zoo is currently accepting applications for Zoo Guides, Education Volunteers on American Trail, Keeper Aides at Elephant Trails, and Amazonia, as well as assistance in our Clinical Nutrition Lab.

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.

 

Education Interpreters: Zoo Guides

Zoo Guides offer insight into the animal world with engaging stories, interesting facts and animal observations as they lead tours for groups of all ages.  The Highlights Tour gives visitors a broad overview of the entire Zoo and the work being done here to save species. The Children’s Tour introduces young children and their parents to animal adaptations in a classroom setting followed by an interactive tour designed especially for them.  A shorter Upper Zoo tour takes groups around the Cheetah Conservation Station and up Asia Trail and includes a stop at the new Elephant Community Center.

Zoo Guides also learn tours to help orient new employees and volunteers to the Zoo.
When no tours are scheduled, Zoo Guides act as interpreters for a variety of outdoor areas around the Zoo including Great Cats Circle, bison and anteaters. Because of the breadth of their knowledge, they may also be asked to lead special-request tours.


Special Qualifications:
Prospective volunteers should have a broad interest in the Zoo and its mission, the interest and ability to manage groups, and a willingness to walk the Zoo for two hours at a time year-round in all kinds of weather.


Time commitment: Three three-hour shifts a month on weekend or weekday mornings and monthly meetings for a minimum of one year.

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

Training:  Attending eight weekend days in February and March is required.


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 $30. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants, shorts or skirts of appropriate length (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.


Application Process and Background Check Requirement:
Zoo Guide 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 staff and those who are provisionally accepted into the program must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting prior to beginning to volunteer.


Membership Requirement and Additional Information:
Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must successfully complete training, 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.


Questions or to apply:
For additional information and to request an application email us or call 202.633.3056.

Education Interpreters: American Trail

The National Zoo is currently recruiting volunteers to serve as interpreters on American Trail, which houses a variety of species, from seals and sea lions to wolves, bald eagles, river otters, and ravens. The exhibit is a popular destination for Zoo visitors, and families love to visit and learn about the animals in the collection.
Interpreters play an important role in enhancing the experience of Zoo visitors by interacting with the public, answering questions, and sharing interpretive objects such as animal skulls, feathers, and pelts. Interpreters will acquaint visitors with the animals, their natural history, ecology, and conservation issues affecting them today; creating a more interesting and enjoyable experience for our visitors.
Volunteers will learn the natural history, conservation status, and Zoo management of exhibit species. They will also learn the individual histories of the animals and share all this information with visitors in a largely conversational manner. Volunteers do not have direct contact or interaction with exhibit species.

 

Special Qualifications:A strong interest in the exhibit's species and the National Zoo, as well as the desire and ability to speak with a wide variety of people. American Trail is virtually all outdoors, so volunteers should be comfortable walking and working in a range of weather conditions.


Time commitment: In order to be considered, you must be able to make a year’s commitment to the program, and must be able to commit to three 3-hour shifts each month. This program runs from March through November, with the option of continuing over the winter. Days of the week are flexible. Shift times are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Additionally, you must be able to attend monthly evening meetings, and support exhibit-related special events.

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

Training:  Trainings sessions will be held on Saturdays during the day (9:00am-3:00pm) and Thursday evenings (6:30pm-9:00pm), on February 19, 21, 26, 28, March 5, and 7. You must be able to attend all the training dates.


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 $30. Volunteers must also wear khaki pants, shorts or skirts of appropriate length (no jeans) and sturdy closed-toed shoes.


Application Process and Background Check Requirement:
Volunteer 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 staff and those who are provisionally accepted into the program must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting prior to beginning to volunteer.


Membership Requirement and Additional Information:
Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must successfully complete training, 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.


Questions or to apply:
For additional information and to request an application email us or call 202.633.3058.

Zoo Help: Clinical Nutrition Volunteer

The National Zoo’s Department of Nutrition is a comprehensive zoo and wildlife nutrition program dedicated to providing the best diets to each animal in our care, including everything from scientific diet formulation to assembling and delivering diets to over two thousand individual animals.  

Volunteers are needed to assist the Department of Nutrition with summarizing and logging data, diet information, nutrition research, and other information using computer software. 

Please note that this is a lab position and the volunteer role is primarily data entry.
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Age Requirement:  You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer.

Special Qualifications:
 Applicants must be detail oriented, organized, computer literate, and capable of understanding and summarizing basic scientific information.  Preference is given to applicants with experience using Microsoft Excel and Access.  An interest in zoo nutrition is ideal, but not required.

Time Commitment:
  Volunteers are asked to commit to one shift per week for at least one year.  Shifts are available on all weekdays, with opportunities available to volunteer in the morning or afternoon. 

Training: 
Once accepted, you must attend a mandatory General Orientation session for volunteers, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. Additional training will be provided on the job, including specific training on the software and database used for data entry and summarization.  There is a mandatory 3 shift probationary period for new volunteers.

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 with limited spacing 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 Clinical Nutrition staff, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check (which includes fingerprinting) as a prior to their first volunteer shift.

Membership and Additional Information:
Once the background check has been passed, volunteers must sign up for and complete General Orientation training, become a member of FONZ 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.

Questions or to apply: For additional information and to request an application email us or call 202.633.4453.

Keeper Aides: Elephant Trails

The Zoo’s Elephant Trails exhibit is a state-of-the-art facility for the care, conservation and research of Asian elephants.

Special qualifications:Volunteers must be physically fit and willing to work both indoors and out and in all types of weather. This job requires hard and often constant physical labor. It includes, but is not limited to: cleaning, shoveling, raking, hosing, hauling carts and food and hay, and food preparation. Some professional animal care experience is preferred, but not required. Applicants must have the ability to follow unit rules and supervisor instructions, be detail oriented, and be able to work independently.
Please note that volunteers do not have any contact with the animals.

Time commitment:
 We have openings for one keeper aide each day of the week.  Shifts are from 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  You must be able to volunteer one day a week for a minimum of one year.

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

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. 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 or boots that must be dedicated for wear at the elephant exhibit. These shoes must be changed into on arrival and out of on departure.


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 (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 an application email us or call 202.633.3057.

Keeper Aides: Amazonia

The National Zoo's Amazonia Exhibit leads visitors into the realm of the Amazon River Basin where giant arapaima, pacu, catfish, turtles, and stingrays swim underwater, and sunbitterns, poison dart frogs, and sloth inhabit the forest world above. More than 350 species of plants, including kapok, avocado and cocoa trees, tropical vines, and epiphytes, live in this enclosed tropical habitat.


Volunteer keeper aides are needed to help the staff clean and maintain enclosures, prepare diets, prepare enrichment items, observe animal behavior, and assist with other projects when appropriate.


Special Qualifications:
Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work in all types of weather as some of our collection is exhibited in a greenhouse environment. Keeper Aides should be interested in learning about and caring for a variety of amphibians, reptiles, plants, fish, birds and mammals. Applicants must be comfortable working around/with insects. Some animal care experience is preferred, but not required.

Please note: It is National Zoo policy that individuals who keep venomous animals in personal collections will not be accepted as volunteer keeper aides.


Time commitment:  Volunteers should be available from 8:00am to 2:30pm at least one day a week for a minimum of one year.  Shifts are currently available on WEDNESDAYS only. Please do not apply at this time if you are not available to volunteer on this day.


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

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. 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 (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 an application email us or call 202.633.3058.

Upcoming Recruiting:

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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