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.

Share this page:

Zoo Help, Red Siskin Project

  • red siskin sitting on a branch

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is recruiting volunteers to help translate email communications (English/Spanish) or to work on grant proposals to support the Zoo’s Red Siskin program. The red siskin ("cardenalito" in Spanish) is a small, red and black finch native to Venezuela. The Smithsonian Institution is part of the Red Siskin Initiative, which helps to protect these birds and restore sustainable populations through reintroduction.

This volunteer position supports the program coordinator at the Smithsonian, facilitating work with scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and other research locations. Volunteers can work remotely or can make arrangements to come to the Zoo. Volunteers must commit to between five and 10 hours per week for a minimum of one year.

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be fluent writers of English and Spanish, or must have experience submitting grant proposals. They must have strong communication skills and be able to use Microsoft Office tools, such as Word and Excel, and must also be comfortable using communication tools, such as Skype or WhatsApp. An interest in animal conservation is preferred but not required. There is a no contact with animals in this position.


Volunteers must complete mandatory online training as well as probationary shifts before being accepted. Additional training will be provided on the job.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by Smithsonian staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo a background check, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a Zoo Help volunteer.