The Los Angeles Zoo Announces Docent Recruitment

Last month, two Los Angeles Zoo docents were honored for their 50 years of service, a milestone achieved by a select few dedicated animal lovers and educators. Kilbee Brittain and Amy Callister where honored at a luncheon where they received a Mayor’s Certificate award for their unwavering commitment and dedication to the Zoo, its animals and the education of its visitors. Brittain is being celebrated for being a major force in the education of docents, and served as the primate lecturer for 30 years, while Callister enjoys sharing her talents in various roles in training, animal information and serving as committee chairs. The Los Angeles Zoo has more than 30 docents who have served for more than 30 years, with a combined service total of over 71,200 hours. 

“The docent program is for people with an interest in wildlife, a love of learning and the desire to make a difference in the world,” says Docent Chair Paulette Heath. “It is hard to have a bad day at the LA Zoo. Every day I see something new like tigers swimming or chimps interacting with guests. It’s fun to talk to guests about behavior and adaptations as well as give a voice to the conservation mission of the Zoo as they help visitors of all ages understand how important the Zoo’s work is to wild animal populations around the world,” Heath goes on the say. 

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) is currently recruiting docents for its next training session starting September 27, 2018. Docents serve as volunteer teachers, sharing their knowledge of the Zoo and its flora and fauna with adults and children through touring, educational activities, educational programs, classes and more.  The docent program, open to ages 18 and up, provides a comprehensive training course where individual opportunities are explored and developed.  GLAZA volunteers, numbering nearly 600 people, contributed more than 65,000 hours last year to the Zoo, with duties as varied as the men and women performing them.   

Docents complete a 23-week training program that includes lectures, tours and behind the scenes visits offered in conjunction with offered at the Zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension.  Classes, which run from October through March, meet once a week on Thursdays or Saturdays, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, and focus on taxonomy of both the plants and animals at the Zoo as well as ecology, conservation, the role of zoos in wildlife preservation, as well as interpretation and guest engagement techniques.  Docents must be high school graduates or equivalent and 18 years or older when applying and be able to commit 100 hours per year for a minimum of two years. No previous experience is necessary. 

Full descriptions of volunteer and docent opportunities and requirements are available at https://www.lazoo.org/volunteers/  and general information is available by calling (323) 644-4702 or (323) 644-4773 or emailing docents@lazoo.org . 

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  Free parking is available. 

ABOUT THE L.A. ZOO 

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing more than 1.8 million visitors each year, is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, and has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  

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