Volunteer
 
Volunteering at Zooville is fun, challenging hard work, out in the hot Florida sun with a great opportunity for learning. By providing care to animals, educating our community, providing administrative support and more, ZUSA volunteers gain a deep sense of satisfaction in contributing to the health and well-being of animals while working alongside others who desire to take action on their behalf.
 
We provide the training for all volunteer positions, so no prior experience is required. Whether preparing food or feeding our zoo family, cleaning habitats, or helping to make an event successful, you can be a part of the rewarding work we do. Before considering volunteering with us, please ask yourself the following:
 
Can I commit to a minimum of 4 hours per week - EVERY WEEK, NO EXCUSES, NO EXCEPTIONS - EVERY WEEK?
 
Can I be at the zoo at 8:30 am on my volunteer days?
Will I be happy to work in the rain, mosquitoes and other biting bugs/spiders, 90+ degree heat or old and occasionally freezing temperatures? The animals have to be cleaned and fed every single day; regardless of the weather.
 
Am I willing to spend 3 months working in the Commissary before I get to work around the animals? We use this time to make sure that you are reliable and you can follow directions.
 
Can I lead tours and do public speaking? All animal keepers must be good tour guides and have great people skills as well as animal skills.
 
Am I willing to make a long term commitment? These positions require extensive training and you should come with the expectation of committing for no less than 6 months.
 
Am I able to speak, read and write in English?
Do I have a valid driver’s license?
Do I have adequate vision and hearing?
Am I willing to disclose any medications I am currently taking?
Can I easily lift 50+ lbs?
Am I able to stand or walk for extended periods?
Am I willing and able to work varied and long shifts including holidays and weekends as needed?
Am I able to bend, lift, rake, sweep, and shovel without difficulty?
Do I live nearby so that the commute does not become too much?
 
If you truthfully and enthusiastically answered “YES!!!” to each of the above, then please keep reading to see if you are our next valued team member.
 
You must be at least 18 years old to participate in Zooville’s Volunteer Program without a parent/legal guardian volunteering with you. For teens 14-16 there are options to join our program as long as you are accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. For 17 year olds a parent/legal guardian must volunteer with you for the first month and only then can he/she sign off on you continuing to volunteer without them. There is no cost for Volunteer Orientation, however there will be a fee on the first day of volunteering. This fee is $25 per person. The fee covers the cost of your training manual and a volunteer shirt. If you successfully complete the minimum 6 months of service with no absences or infractions, we will refund this fee upon written request.
 
The Zooville Volunteer Program consists of several departments with multiple skill levels and responsibilities designated by shirt color. These colors reflect the colors of a stoplight, which are universally recognized. Red being the most restrictive, yellow for advancing but still requires caution, and green showing the highest commitment and most experienced.
 
All volunteers begin in Commissary training, to learn about preparing our various zoo diets and maintaining a well-run kitchen. During this time trainees learn the basic knowledge and skills needed to be a valued volunteer. As a trainee advances through our program, they will learn specific skills pertaining to a particular department in the path they wish to purse - Animal care or non-care. In order to progress from level to level in either department, there are classes which must be taken, and corresponding tests that must be passed. With each level-up, the responsibilities grow and the hours required increase as well. At the red level, you are required to commit 4 hours/week and can apply to level-up after 6 months in service. At the yellow level, you must spend no-less than 6 hours per week, pass all courses/tests at that level before applying to level-up to green. You can apply to level-up to green after 12 months at the yellow level. At the yellow level you may be considered for a shift supervisor. Shift Supervisors are responsible for overseeing the performance of all volunteers scheduled for the day. At the green level, you will be required to commit to 8 hours per week, pass all courses/tests at that level before you can be considered for promotion to Zoo Manager. The Zoo Manager is nominated and majority approved by the Volunteer Committee. The Zoo Manager must be able to perform at least Senior Keeper as well as Senior Associate and Zoo Chef (green shirt level) duties. Zoo Managers are required to commit 30 hours per week.
 
Expectations of ZUSA volunteers
 
  • Dedicated volunteers make up the majority of our workforce and we schedule their hours according to animal care needs. It is vitally important that volunteers show up for their shifts.
  • While people come to ZUSA because they love animals, ZUSA volunteers must also be able to work well with other people. ZUSA isn’t just about animals - it’s about people helping animals.
  • For everyone’s protection, volunteers must use the safe animal handling techniques taught in their required training.
  • All tasks, from cleaning cages to stuffing envelopes, have specific procedures. Volunteers must adhere to these procedures unless a staff member directs them otherwise.
  • Once volunteers know their work routines, they are expected to work with minimal supervision. Following through on tasks ensures the animals are receiving the best possible care. Staff are always available to answer questions.
Working in a zoo is HARD WORK! If you think you have what it takes, we would love to meet with you. We are still growing. We hope you will come grow with us.
 
  • To start the process, fill out the Volunteer Application.