The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Volunteer Citizen Scientist

  • BiodiversiTree Plot

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, serves as an umbrella for the Smithsonian Institution’s global effort to understand and conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. SCBI's Conservation Ecology Center is currently recruiting volunteer citizen scientists to assist with ecology research projects.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to gain experience in habitat conservation, land management-based research and applied ecological monitoring by working on a wide variety of fieldwork projects.

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of one year. Available shifts are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays. There are no weekend opportunities.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Volunteers should be reliable, physically fit and able to walk, bend, kneel and move comfortably over uneven terrain in the field. They must be willing to work in all types of weather. No previous experience in ecology fieldwork is required; however; an interest in learning is preferred.


Once provisionally accepted, volunteers must complete a mandatory online orientation. Additional training will be provided on the job under the supervision of SCBI ecology staff. There is a probationary period for all volunteers.


Front Royal




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for staff and volunteers. Staff will interview applicants, and those that are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background investigation (which includes fingerprinting) as a requirement for approval as a volunteer citizen scientist.