Do you want to become a Perth Zoo volunteer?
The Docent Association is looking for friendly and outgoing people 18 years and over, who are good communicators, physically fit and can volunteer at least one day a fortnight from 9am until 3pm.
A free information session will be held at Perth Zoo at 10am on 2 April 2016 for interested applicants to learn more about the role and duties of Docents. A free walking tour with one of our experienced Docents is also provided as part of this information session.
Those who wish to proceed with their applications after this session will be interviewed and successful applicants will then be required to undertake a compulsory training course. This intensive but fun training program is spread across ten consecutive Saturdays from May to July.
What are Docents?
Perth Zoo’s volunteers are called ‘Docents’ – which is derived from the latin docere, meaning ‘to teach’. Docents belong to a separately incorporated organisation which is a significant and valued partner to the Zoo – the Perth Zoo Docent Association (Inc).
What Docents Do
Docents (over 18 years) come to the Zoo a minimum of one day per fortnight to ensure Zoo visitors have a great day. They provide the “unexpected” — informal talks about animals, Zebra Car tours, walking tours, assistance with directions and information on keeper talks and feed times. Docents become especially skilled in “edu-tainment” — combining education and entertainment to promote the Zoo’s conservation mission.
Docents are people who love animals but primarily people who love people. This is an important distinction because Docents do not get to work closely with the animals. If you are looking for voluntary work where you will have a regular contact or can feed animals and clean exhibits — then becoming a Docent will not give you the job satisfaction you desire.
No Pay, No Perks?
Becoming a Docent is a no pay job but it is definitely not a no perks job.
You will work in the fantastic Zoo environment, have access to a varied social life with dynamic people, gain as much knowledge as you want and develop both professional and personal skills. Zoo visitors will appreciate you and most importantly the animals will benefit from your work. There are regular HIGHLIGHTS such as very special opportunities to help out on behind-the-scenes, at events, at children’s activities and closely watching animals for behavioural studies. You can become as involved (or not) as suits you.
Where do I sign on?
The Perth Zoo Docent Association recruits for new adult volunteers once a year. This is because of the intensive, in-depth training program which is offered to all new recruits as a compulsory part of becoming a Docent. We may not be able to accept you as a volunteer immediately you apply but you will be invited to the next annual information morning where you hear more about what being a Docent means. After that is an interview (we get so many applicants we cannot accept everyone) and then successful new recruits go into the ten-week (Saturdays and the occasional evening) training program before graduating mid-year.
Download a Docent Application Form, print it out and fill it in and then post it to:
PZDA – Docent Application
PO Box 489
South Perth WA 6151
If you have questions that the brochure cannot answer, please contact the Visitor Services Officer on (08) 9474 0360 or email us with your specific questions.
I’m under 18, can I still be a Docent?
No, I’m sorry. Perth Zoo’s unique environment (quarantine facility, A-Class reserve and a site including dangerous animals) means that you need to be over 18 to work or volunteer here. But we would love to hear from you once you have turned 18.