Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering!

There are several ways to engage with the Detroit Zoological Society as a volunteer.

  1. Core Volunteer – Core Volunteers are central to the Detroit Zoological Society’s mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife. Become a Core Volunteer and select from 10 different assignments. Receive benefits such as free admission, training and discounts on tickets. See Core Volunteer Opportunities below. Core Volunteers complete 3 easy steps – application with background check, attend orientation and complete assignment training.
  2. Community Volunteer – become a Community Volunteer and sign up for a one-time only event like Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo or Zoo Brew. Give back to your community with just a small time commitment. Contact us at volunteer@dzs.org to learn about upcoming events.
  3. Group Volunteer – sign up as group for a one-time only project like landscaping or a special event. See Group Volunteer Opportunities below.
  4. Volunteen – if you are a teen age 14-17, you can apply to be a Zoo Corps volunteer. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can apply to be a Counselor-in-Training. See Teen Volunteer Opportunities below.

Please note: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to be a Community, Core or Group volunteer. Volunteers do not come in direct contact with animals. The Detroit Zoological Society does not participate in court-ordered community service.

Volgistics Login     Ford Waiver (PDF)
  • Detroit Zoo – Core Volunteer Opportunities

    Core Volunteers are critical to meeting our mission. There are a number of Core Volunteer opportunities at the Detroit Zoo.


    Docent

    Our most intensive training prepares these dedicated volunteers to be educators and interpreters at animal habitats throughout the Zoo. In addition, they provide tours and assist with a variety of educational programs both inside the Zoo and in the local community all year long. Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 75 hours per year for a minimum of 2 years
    • Training: 10-week training course plus an online component and shadowing requirements, $50 course fee includes materials and uniform shirt. Scholarships available.
    • Scheduling: Flexible, two hour shifts
    • Availability: Year-round, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Australian Outback Adventure “Mob Squad”

    Kangaroos and wallabies call the Australian Outback Adventure home. In this popular Detroit Zoo attraction, guests are able to walk through the habitat and get a closer view of the animals. Volunteers called the “Mob Squad” interact with visitors along the winding pathway inside the habitat. Volunteers are critical to this experience and the habitat cannot be opened without a team of volunteers. Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 50 hours between April and October or 75 hours for calendar year
    • Training: one 3.5-hour training course plus online component; $10 course fee (includes uniform shirt.)
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shifts
    • Availability: Year-round or seasonal, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Gallery Guide

    These volunteers are based in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and spend their time talking about butterflies. A special projection system called Science On a Sphere and art exhibits are housed in this building and volunteers also interact with guests in these areas. Complete an application.

    Time commitment: 50 hours per calendar year

    • Time Commitment: 50 hours per calendar year
    • Training: one 3-hour training course plus an online component; $10 course fee (includes uniform shirt.)
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three hour shifts
    • Availability: Year-round, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Special Events

    Throughout the year, the Zoo offers fun and interesting themed events to encourage guests to visit. These events could not happen without the helping hands and smiling faces of Zoo volunteers. From temporary tattoos to craft assistants, story readers to wine pourers, costume wearers to registration helpers, each event has its wish list of specialized assistance. This is a terrific way to be involved with the Zoo without a big commitment of time. Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
    • Training: on-the-job, $10 uniform shirt
    • Scheduling: Flexible, events are day and evening, weekdays and weekends
    • Availability: Year-round, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Zoo Ambassador

    This is the ultimate “people person” position. Spend half of a three-hour shift greeting guests as they enter the Zoo, helping them get oriented to the map, the facilities and any special events. The rest of the time is spent walking the Zoo looking for ways to help guests.  Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 50 hours between April and October
    • Training: one six-hour course plus online component; $10 course fee (includes uniform shirt)
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shifts
    • Availability: Seasonal, April-October, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Arctic Ring of Life Guest Assistant

    This is one of the most critical positions in the Zoo. While helping with crowd control in the busy Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, these volunteers enjoy quality time with the polar bears and seal residents in this award-winning habitat. Complete an application.

    Time commitment: 50 hours between April and October

    • Time Commitment: 50 hours between April and October
    • Training: one 3.5 hour course plus online component; $10 course fee (includes uniform shirt)
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shift
    • Availability: Seasonal, April-October, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Greeter

    Greeters assist primarily in two locations: Ford Education Center Exhibit Hall and Science On a Sphere. Greeters provide a friendly invitation to guests to come in and view these exhibits/shows. Seasonal greeters are also needed at the National Amphibian Conservation Center. Complete an application.  Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
    • Training: one 1-hour training for Science On a Sphere and on-the-job training for Ford Education Center and seasonal greeters; $10 uniform shirt
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shifts
    • Availability: varies, seven days per week
    Complete An Application

    Staff Aide

    Clerical skills, phone experience and weekday availability on a regular schedule would be assets to volunteers interested in offering their services in this program. Short-term as well as long-term projects may be available.  Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
    • Training: On-the-job, $10 uniform shirt
    • Scheduling: Flexible, depends on project
    • Availability: Varies, weekdays
    Complete An Application

    Penguin Person

    These volunteers assist with crowd control and answering questions about the four species of penguins that reside in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.  Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 50 hours per calendar year
    • Training: one three-hour course plus an online component; $10 course fee (includes a uniform shirt)
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shifts
    • Availability: Year-round, seven days per week
    Complete An Application
  • Belle Isle Nature Center – Core Volunteer Opportunities

    The Belle Isle Nature Center volunteers are a group of dedicated individuals who have a particular connection to Belle Isle as well as to the mission of “bringing the wilds of Michigan to the heart of Detroit” at the Belle Isle Nature Center. Volunteers assist the staff with projects, greet visitors or field trip groups and help with public feedings at the Deer Encounter. They also answer questions about the frogs, salamanders, turtles, bees and fish that live in the facility. Complete an application.

    • Time Commitment: 20 hours per calendar year
    • Training: Orientation at Belle Isle Nature Center and job shadowing, $10 uniform shirt
    • Scheduling: Flexible, three-hour shifts
    • Availability: Year-round; weekend shifts are available year-round, daily shifts occur mid-June through Labor Day
    Complete An Application
  • Teen Volunteer Opportunities

    Volunteen Zoo Corps Program

    Detroit Zoo

    The Detroit Zoological Society is looking for energetic youth ages 14-17 to be part of our Zoo Corps. This is an opportunity to earn community service hours while working with a team from the Education Department at the Detroit Zoo. Benefits include leadership experience, customer service training, learning and practicing communication skills, and a professional work setting. Opportunities to volunteer stretch throughout the year, including weekdays, evenings and weekends.

    Apply Now

    Summer Safari Camp Counselor-in-Training Program

    Detroit Zoo

    Counselors-in-Training program matches teen volunteers ages 16 and 17 with paid camp counselors to assist during the Zoo’s Summer Safari Camp. Responsibilities include assisting with groups of 10-12 youth (kindergarten-eighth grade) on tours through the Zoo, administering craft projects and interacting with staff and guests. Camp is held Monday-Friday, 8:30-4 p.m. and is held mainly outdoors.

    Applications are now closed

     


    Nature Camp Counselor-in-Training

    Belle Isle Nature Center

    Nature Center Counselor-in-Training volunteers support paid camp counselors and assist with activities throughout the camp at the Belle Isle Nature Center. Teen volunteers assist camp groups with outdoor play, nature immersion, games and crafts. Nature Camp is held Monday-Friday, 8:30-4 p.m., and is held mainly outdoors.

    Applications are now closed

  • Group Volunteer Opportunities

    Are you a part of an organization, company or group of friends that is interested in donating your time to the Detroit Zoological Society? ? Contact volunteer@dzs.org to find out about our group volunteer opportunities!

    Upcoming group opportunities:

    • Beautify the Detroit Zoo with the DZS landscape team – daytime during the growing season (April-October)
    • Wild Lights – select evenings November 17-December 31
  • Volunteer Orientation Dates
    • November 3, 2018, 9 a.m.-noon
    • Spring 2019 – TBD
  • Volunteering Video

  • Diversity Statement

    Just as we value and celebrate biodiversity, the Detroit Zoological Society celebrates the diversity of our human community. We are committed to ensuring that our programs and facilities are fully accessible to our diverse communities and audiences and that our staff and volunteers reflect the multicultural fabric that is the strength of southeast Michigan.