By: Savannah Beverly, Development Intern
In honor of National Volunteer Month, the Akron Zoo would like to send a huge THANK YOU to our dedicated volunteers, who donate over 13,300 hours each year. That is a value of $285,000! More than 62 million people in the U.S. volunteer every year, and the Akron Zoo is lucky to have 143 adult volunteers and 20 teens in training. The zoo would not be able to run smoothly without these individuals. They play an important role in helping the Akron Zoo continue to achieve its mission.
There is something for everyone to get involved with at the zoo. Whether you consider yourself a night owl, love crafts, or enjoy collecting animal facts, there is a volunteer opportunity specifically for you!
Our most popular volunteer opportunities are special events. Volunteers at these events help children make crafts, answer any questions, and generally keep everything running smoothly. For our nocturnal volunteers, the zoo also has opportunities to participate in our Snooze at the Zoo program. Here, volunteers help organize groups of children and prepare them for an overnight stay at the zoo filled with fun treats and exciting animal encounters.
If special events are not your thing, but you love learning about animals, volunteering in the education department might be for you. Through training, you will be equipped with general animal knowledge and information about the way the Akron Zoo works behind-the-scenes.
The Akron Zoo’s volunteer manager, Shelley Orloski, expressed that the best part about volunteering at the zoo is that it can be tailored to fit your availability. With the plethora of opportunities that meet everyone’s interests and the flexible hours, there is nothing that should stop you from swinging by the zoo and volunteering!
How can you get involved?
There are two programs available at the Akron Zoo to give individuals an opportunity to get involved.
Our adult volunteer program, Edzoocators, requires no training or background in education, but you must be 18 years of age and have completed high school. The zoo’s adult volunteers participate in special events, community displays, education, and horticulture. In this program, volunteers will help educate others on our beloved animals and how they can help protect them.
To apply for the adult volunteer program, you can fill out an application here or contact the Education Department at 330-375-2550 ext. 7286. The only requirement is that 25 hours of volunteering be completed annually.
Our teen volunteer program is available for ages 14-18. Here, students will aid the zoo in areas of education and conservation through active participation in education programs and special events. It is also a chance for students to get to know our animals and meet others with similar interests. Volunteering at the Akron Zoo is a great way to make a difference in the lives of wildlife and the Akron community.
The teen volunteer program application process requests that the individual fill out an application and include a typewritten essay as prompted. In addition to this, students must provide two sealed reference letters, with at least one letter coming from a teacher/administrator. Forms may be given to these individuals providing reference letters as well. Everyone that completes an application will be invited to attend a required information session. Once accepted, teens will have five mandatory training sessions to prepare them for volunteering. Applications are open in the early spring every year.
What is the best part about volunteering at the Akron Zoo? No experience needed! The only requirement is a desire to serve. Our volunteers are truly dedicated to educating others on the importance of conserving wildlife by developing sustainable ways to coexist.
You can learn more about volunteering with the Akron Zoo at https://www.akronzoo.org/volunteer.