All San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance volunteers are trained Conservation Ambassadors, and most begin as Information Ambassadors. Information Ambassadors contribute 60 hours each year or more after completing a fun and thorough training checklist. They interact with visitors in a variety of ways:
- Support our organizational mission as Conservation Ambassadors
- Greet guests and help them plan their visit
- Assist guests by answering questions at several information stations
- Inspire guests to support conservation
- Assist with special events and more, all while meeting people from around the world in a beautiful setting.
Active Information Ambassadors have the opportunity to train to become Interpretive Volunteers, educating guests about animals and conservation at specific stations.
All applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Must be 18 years or older
- Have a positive attitude and strictly adhere to our world-class policies, procedures, grooming and customer service standards
- Complete an online application, including references
- Successfully complete an interview with our volunteer interview panel
- Complete all required onboarding/training
- Commit to volunteering a minimum of 60 hours annually.
NOTE: There is no animal handling or direct animal contact involved with any of our volunteer opportunities. We currently do not have volunteer opportunities for teens under 18 years of age, but those interested may be able to get involved through the Education Department's Kids Programs. Also, please note that our volunteer opportunities are primarily long-term. We invest a great deal of resources into our volunteer program and do not offer one-time/short-term community service projects. Thank you!
"Being a volunteer lets you meet guests from all over the country and the world. It is educational and entertaining."—Joyce Pickersgill
Expectations of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s World-class Volunteers
- Follow uniform guidelines – crisp, professional, and to brand standards
- Work independently
- Accept feedback and use it to constantly improve
- Lead by example and with kindness
- Read eUpdates, volunteer office boards, and keep up-to-date on pertinent information for each San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance assignment
- Share only appropriate information from approved San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance resources
- Maintain positive interactions, both internally and externally
- Treat all staff, volunteers and guests in a positive, professional, and respectful manner
- Be proactive in finding information, speaking with guests, etc.
- Uphold World Class Customer Service standards and support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s image
- Support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s strategic plan by respecting office work space and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance staff’s time
- Utilize resources first, including technology (iPad, handbook, website, etc.), before seeking additional assistance
- Retain professional communication (short, effective, no spam, to the point, keep personal opinions to yourself, etc.)
- Appreciate and respect guests of all ages, skill sets, learning styles and cultures
- Utilize technology professionally and for business purposes only (must access online resources on a regular basis)
NOTE: For volunteers needing job coaches, each job coach must successfully complete the entire onboarding process before they can assist (application, interview, scavenger hunts, mentoring, etc.)
“I am proud to be a part of such an amazing conservation organization! As a volunteer I hope I can help people see all the different roles that zoos take to help prevent extinction. The impact we have is not only assisting SDZWA in support of the conservation work they do, but also passing along the spirit of conservation and sharing simple things people can do every single day to help.”—San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Volunteer
Current Active Volunteers: Log in to the Volunteer Information Center here.
Team Building: Animal Enrichment Workshop
At the Zoo, enriched experiences enhance the quality of life for the animals in our care. Wildlife Care Specialists spend many hours developing complex ways to challenge every species, both mentally and physically, in order to elicit species-specific behaviors and elevate meaningful daily activity levels. Our Wildlife Care Specialists request over 25,000 enrichment items each year— and our enrichment volunteer team needs your help! Groups will have the opportunity to create items that may include preparing and working with gourds, reclaimed fire hoses, burlap, hay beds, and other approved materials. This is an opportunity to have fun in a social environment working alongside our wonderful enrichment volunteers, all while learning and giving back to the animal community.
This experience is currently only offered at the San Diego Zoo.
Length of Time: 2 Hours
For information, call 619-685-3259. Minimum group size required is 30 guests per adventure. Maximum group size varies.