Volunteer Opportunities

*Attention Current Zoolunteers: Click here to find out what current volunteer opportunities exist and how to get signed up!

There are many ways you can help out at the Zoo. Chances are we have the perfect job to meet your unique set of skills and talent. As a volunteer, you can choose to work with Animal Corps, Education, Guest Services and Special Events.  No matter what area you are looking to join, you must attend either a Fall or Spring Volunteer Orientation in order to be certified as an officical Zoolunter.  Be sure to check application deadline and meeting dates so as not to miss your opportunity to get involved.  Our Education Department will provide workshops for volunteers on various topics to help train volunteers to reach new opportunities.  These may include: horticulture workshops, animal handling workshops, education instruction workshops, tour workshops and much more.  

Animal Corps

The Chattanooga Zoo Animal Corps serves a vital role in the overall functioning and health of the Zoo. Volunteering with this particular department requires a medium to high time commitment on the volunteer’s part as well as a passion for animals and their care.


Different positions within this department are as follows:

Keeper Assistant

Under the direct supervision of the Curator and/or Keeper. Assistants encourage interest in the animals by answering questions and interacting with the public. Work will involve, but is not limited to, feeding and watering animals, cleaning exhibits, washing windows, sweeping pathways and making diets and enrichments.

* Please note: Due to strict animal husbandry guidelines, there is no contact or inside-exhibit work with the majority of animals at the Zoo. Remember, this is for the animal’s safety and well being as well as yours.

Horticulture/Landscaping

Will operate under the supervision of the Zoo Maintenance Supervisor. Main duties will include daily watering and weeding in the Zoo Art Gardens, as well as assigned special projects (which may include taking cuttings, starting seeds, planting and maintaining ornamental beds, etc.) Volunteer can expect exposure to a wide variety of plants within the Zoo, including tropicals, annuals, perennials, water plants. This opportunity will give hands-on experience and firsthand knowledge of the maintenance and beautification of the Chattanooga Zoo. Dates and times are flexible, but must commit to working at least 8 hours per month. Shifts usually run from 9 am-1 pm or 1 pm-5pm.  

Enrichment

Enrichment volunteers research, design, and assist keepers in implementation of enrichment for the Zoo animal collection. This includes but is not limited to: researching specific animal enrichment activities via Internet or Zoo literature, preparing lists of low cost materials needed for enrichment, assisting in the creation and implementation of animal enrichment activities. Enrichment volunteers will also be involved with creating a wish-list for donations as well as being involved in the Zoo Enrichment Committee.


Nutrition
Under the direct supervision of the General Curator or Assistant Director, Nutrition volunteers assist with diet preparation for animals throughout the zoo. Their work also involves researching animals changing diets and observing specific animals on diets. Work will include, but is not limited to, chopping fruits and vegetables, washing dishes, packing foods for delivery, weighing and measuring produce, weighing out meat and fish products, unloading food deliveries, and cleaning the prep kitchen.

Education

The Chattanooga Zoo Education Corps is critical to fulfilling the Chattanooga Zoo’s mission of engaging and inspiring the local community to better understand and preserve wildlife. Volunteering with this department requires a low to medium time commitment on the volunteer’s part as well as a passion for education and awareness-building.


Different positions within this department are as follows:

Interpretive Volunteers

Interpretive Volunteers are specially trained volunteers who do such things as exhibit chats, critter chats, help with teaching on site programs and assist with special events.

Duties:

  • Answer guest questions about animals around the Zoo
  • Interpret animal facts and behaviors at exhibits 
  • Extend hospitality and directions to guests touring the Zoo
Training:

Complete 3 training classes that will include: Interpretive Skill training, Animal Handling training, and Informational Training

    Education Assistants

    Assist Chattanooga Zoo Educators in providing conservation based educational programs to the general public by presenting or assisting with on- or off-site programming ranging from short impromptu on-site “chats” to longer structured off-site programs and festivals.

    EZO/ZOO Club Instructor

    EZO and Zoo Club are two of our premier youth programs put together for aspiring adolescences looking to get involved with the Zoo at a younger age (12-16). Each year from August- April, we need two dedicated educators to help teach this once a month program on specified Saturdays.

    Administrative/Guest Services

    Get real life business experience and build your resume while supporting a good cause at the same time! The Chattanooga Zoo is always looking for friendly, resourceful individuals who are interested in representing the organization and interacting with the public. Volunteering in this area requires a low to medium time commitment on the volunteer’s part.


    Different positions within this department are as follows:

    Member Assistant

    Be a part of our Admissions and Membership teams. Help promote and sell annual Zoo memberships. Assist Guest Services staff in answering guest questions, preparing membership promotion materials and mailings, etc.

    Guest Relations

    Help our guests maximize their time and experience at the Zoo by handing out maps/brochures, giving directions, answering guests’ questions, etc.

    Office Assistant

    Under the supervision of the Administrative staff, office assistants help with filing paperwork, answering phones, answering questions about the agency, retrieving and distributing mail, correlating promotional materials and other office work as needed.

    Special Events

    Throughout the year, the Zoo hosts a variety of events for the public. Some events are quite large and geared towards fundraising while other events are smaller and designed to provide services for the community. If you like working with people and multi-tasking then this is the department for you. There is never a dull moment!


    Different positions within this department are as follows:

    Set up Assistant

    Assists with pre-event set up, this may include but is not limited to: table and chair set up, decoration, exhibit trimming and cleaning, and possibly helping guest service staff create event packages.

    Booth Companion

    Help run a game booth. Volunteers must be able to deal with small crowds and be friendly with customers.

    Costume Character

    Volunteers here need to be outgoing and not shy. They will be dressed up in a Zoo costume meeting and greeting children throughout the Zoo. Volunteers in costumes do get breaks or have the option of switching with a costume assistant throughout the night.

    Costume Assistant

    Be the eyes and ears of a costume character as well as help with activities and handing out candy. You will also be the relay person to the event coordinator for breaks, any restocking of candy or water as well as any issues that may come up.

    Event Manager

    Oversee all aspects of one of the following areas to ensure it is running smoothly:

    • Scavenger hunt restocking, set up, water distribution and breaks for costume characters
    • Game candy distribution, water distribution, volunteer placement and game day training
    • In charge of getting food for volunteers (pizza and doughnuts) and signing in volunteers

    Volunteer

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