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Volunteering

Love people as much as you love wildlife? Apply to be a volunteer Perth Zoo Docent! The Perth Zoo Docent Association (the ‘Association’) is looking for friendly, outgoing people 18 years and over, who are good communicators, physically fit and can commit at least two days a month from 9am until 3pm.

A free information session will be held at Perth Zoo on 7 April 2018 to learn more about the role and duties of Docents. We’ll start in the Zoo’s comfortable theatre, then one of our experienced volunteers will walk with you around the zoo and show you exactly what being a Docent entails. Those who wish to proceed with their applications will be interviewed and successful applicants will then be required to undertake an intensive and mind-bulging training course across ten consecutive Saturdays between April and June.

What are Docents?

Docents belong to a separately incorporated organisation which is a significant and valued partner to Perth Zoo – the Perth Zoo Docent Association (Inc). ‘Docent’ is derived from the latin docere, meaning ‘to teach’.

What Docents Do?

Docents provide the ‘unexpected’ – informal talks about animals, tours on foot and by vehicle, assistance, directions and general visitor information. Docents become especially skilled in “edu-tainment” to promote the Zoo’s conservation mission. Important - Docents are people who love animals but primarily they are people who love people.

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 wildlife knowledge as you want and develop both professional and personal skills. There are regular opportunities to help out at events, at children’s activities and closely watching animals for behavioural studies. You can become as involved (or not) as suits you. We only ask for a minimum commitment of a regular one-day per fortnight.

Where Do I Sign?

The Perth Zoo Docent Association is blessed to have more people interested in joining than empty spots available. To make sure you get the fairest and best opportunities to join, the Association recruits once a year just before the intensive ten-Saturday training program.

To express interest in the next recruitment, download the Docent Application Form, print it out and fill it in and then post it to:

PZDA – Docent Application
Perth Zoo PO Box 489
South Perth WA 6151

There is a minimum age requirement of 18 years. The cost of training is $90, which includes your first year’s membership fee, training materials, police check and morning teas.

Training

Trainee guides must be dedicated, outgoing people who enjoy interacting with the public. They need excellent communication and people skills. The Perth Zoo Docent Training course is structured to provide information and to develop the communication skills required.

Although exhilarating and interesting, the course is very intensive. It runs for ten consecutive Saturdays and attendance is mandatory. Each session lasts five hours approximately. At the end of the ten weeks, Trainees will undertake another two months of probation.

As one of the main duties of a docent is to provide information and tours for Zoo visitors, tour guiding skills form a major component of this course. During the ten weeks of the course Trainee docents must perform three talks, which will be assessed to determine if they have reached the required standard. They will also be expected to observe an extra two talks by experienced docents, during the ten week training period.

Probation

Following the ten-week training course, trainee docents enter a probation period of two months where they observe docents performing the variety of duties that will be required once they have graduated. For each of these months trainee docents must commit to two rostered days. Again attendance is mandatory.

Final acceptance into the Perth Zoo Docent Association is subject to successful completion of the training course and the two-month probationary period.

Graduation for the successful trainees is held at the end of August and rostered duties commence from 1 September.

If you have questions that the application form cannot answer, please contact Perth Zoo’s Visitor Services Officer on 08 9474 0360 or perthzoo@perthzoo.wa.gov.au