If you’ve ever visited the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, you’ve encountered one of our volunteers. This 1,451 people of all ages and walks of life – from neighborhoods, schools, and businesses throughout Central Florida – selflessly dedicate their time to the Zoo. They are here educating, providing up-close animal encounters, helping care for our animals, lessening the load for Zoo keepers and staff, and contributing to the family-friendly guest experience we offer.
In 2018, the Zoo’s volunteers contributed over 26,000 hours of service—equating to an economic impact of over $650,000. Their time and energy are crucial to achieving our mission of being a conservation resource providing experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to act on behalf of wildlife. To make this possible, 92% of our volunteer time is dedicated to conservation and education of wildlife.
We offer a variety of volunteer programs, including Bright Futures, Teen Teamers, Docents, Zoo Interpreters within the Zoo, as well as at our offsite conservation facility in Lake County; opportunities for corporate groups; as well as behind the scenes positions with our Administrative and Animal Nutrition teams. The Zoo Team works very hard to ensure that volunteers are matched with positions that match their skills and areas of interest.
Volunteer work at the Zoo is driven by passion and a commitment to our cause. They love our animals and strive to educate others in our community about conservation. As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 7-13, 2019, we asked our volunteers to share, in their own words. Here are just a few responses from our volunteers when asked, “Why do you volunteer?”
Barbara: “As a Zoo Interpreter, I get to act as a giraffe ambassador and connect more closely with “the boys,” plus it offers me the chance to meet people from all over the world and talk to them about the plight of the giraffe and how they can help.”
Adam: “The Zoo is a place where I can help educate others about the wonderful world of animals we share out planet with and work with people who are more like family than anything else. It’s the only place in the world where I’m treated nicely by everyone, so it’s become my happy place.”
Brooke: “I love volunteering at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens because it is my small way of contributing to saving species! By educating the Zoo’s visitors, I am able to raise awareness about conservation and get others involved in the important task of ensuring our animals will be around for generations to come!”
Maureen: “For me, it is my happy place, the camaraderie and support of other volunteers, the joy of being around the animals, but it’s much more than that. It’s the realization that we are the caretakers of the future and I am doing my very small part to help give the animals a voice.”
These are just a few examples of the dozens of wonderful responses we received. Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers—and Happy National Volunteers Week!
To learn more about our volunteer programs and how you can make a difference in our community, please visit www.centralfloridazoo.org/volunteer.