Zoo Docent

Do you like science, animals, and people? If so, consider applying for our Zoo Docent program. Our zoo features tigers, Javan gibbons, wallabies, our friendly farm animals, small birds and mammals, and much more! Zoo Docents help us greet, interact with, and educate our visitors in the zoo. Being a docent requires good people skills, a love of animals, and the ability to retain information. You'll interact with our visitors during every shift and contribute to their positive experiences here at the Science Center. You’ll share important conservation messages with our guests, an essential part of how we meet our mission to inspire scientific curiosity and encourage personal discovery about life and the natural world.

Zoo Docent

"There is always someone that will make you smile, a child or an adult that says something funny about the animals. The animals themselves can be funny and always are amazing to watch. I also love when I can share something about the animals at the Science Center that someone didn’t know. Sometimes I’ll have an adult or teacher in a group come back to tell me that one of the children shared information they heard from me. That is what we hope for, that information will be passed along. That I can be a small part of that experience for someone definitely makes volunteering fun and rewarding."

-Christine S., Zoo Docent since October 2013

Timeline

Applications Posted
March 1

Applications Deadline
April 1

Interview Deadline
April 27

Candidates Notified
April 30

Scavenger Hunt Deadline
May 21

Class: 6:00 - 8:00pm
May 24

Post Class Assessment Deadline
May 31

Mentor Shift Deadline
July 15

Solo Shift Deadline
August 31

• Must be 15 by May 24 to take this class.
• May not complete any hours in May due to starting so late.
• Expected to complete 6 hours per month starting in June.
• 6 month commitment: May - November
• Must have volunteered since November 2017 as an Aquarium Docent to get cross trained in this class.

Zoo Docent Application

FAQs

A docent is a volunteer educator. Docents are a visible part of the Greensboro Science Center team and interact directly with our visitors every day. Zoo docents have two main responsibilities: rotating through a mix of exhibit and contact areas and talking about important conservation messages related to our animals at each exhibit in the zoo.

Yes, but not in the way you might think. Zoo Docents monitor one animal contact area, Friendly Farm. That area is home to chickens, goats and sheep. Animal care—including feeding, training, cleaning exhibits, etc.—is handled exclusively by professional staff. Instead, Docents serve as animal educators by teaching our visitors about the animals in the touch tank and answering questions about other species in the aquarium. Docents do, however, learn about typical behaviors for our animals and are often the first to point out any irregularities to our staff. Our Docents are our eyes and ears!
Zoo docents are expected to volunteer a minimum of six hours per month. The shifts are split up into three hour blocks of time. The shifts are 9:45 to 1:00 and 12:45 to 4:00. There are no shifts after 5:00 unless we have a special event or rental.
Docents must be at least 15 years old to apply. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age by May 24, 2018 to be considered for the February class. No exceptions will be made.
  1. Submit an application by 5:00pm on April 1. Our staff will review all applications after that deadline and will contact selected candidates to schedule interviews. We will likely be unable to interview every candidate, so please provide thoughtful responses to your application questions.
  2. Schedule and successfully complete an interview. All interviews must be completed by April 27. You will be given a fact sheet on some of our animals when your interview is scheduled. During the interview, we'll be looking for you to teach us something about the animal you choose just as you would when interacting with our visitors.
  3. All candidates who were interviewed for the program will be notified by 5:00pm on April 30 to let them know if they have been chosen for the program.
  4. Successfully pass a background check for those ages 18+.
  5. Complete one scavenger hunt by May 21 to learn more about the Greensboro Science Center.
  6. Attend training on May 24 from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Greensboro Science Center.
  7. Complete an online assessment from home.
  8. Complete three mentor shifts with a veteran docent followed by an online assessment.
  9. Complete three solo shifts followed by an online assessment.
The fee for our docent program is $35.00. This includes the cost of your name tag and your volunteer t-shirt which you will wear during your shifts. The fee also helps defray the cost of running the program. That fee is due at the time of your entry into the program, NOT when you submit your application. This is a one-time docent fee. Once someone becomes a docent at our facility, they are eligible to take docent workshops for other areas pending good evaluations from staff in their current areas. The two docent areas include the Zoo and Aquarium.

Contact Us

Questions or comments? Email volunteers@greensboroscience.org or call 336-288-3769 x1330.