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Volunteers Needed: Be a Docent at the L.A. Zoo

The training program starts soon.

[The following information was probided by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.]

Do you love animals?  Children?  Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity?  The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) seeks docents for its 2012 training program, and prospective volunteers, ages 18 and up, are invited to an information meeting on Saturday, July 28, 2012, 10 am to noon, at the Los Angeles Zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  

Check-in tables will be set up at the Zoo entrance.  No previous experience is necessary, and comprehensive training is provided.  Reservations are not required.

“Our volunteers, who range in age from 18 to 89 are an essential part of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, creating a better environment for our animals and our visitors,” says Kirin Daugharty, manager of volunteers, who likes to say, "We have 700 volunteers and 700 reasons to volunteer.  We're looking for people with a willingness to learn and a commitment to the welfare of our animals.”

Many of GLAZA's docents and volunteers have provided over 45 years and more of service.  In 2011, GLAZA volunteers contributed more than 81,000 hours to the Zoo.

GLAZA offers a comprehensive program for adult docents, who serve as volunteer teachers, sharing their knowledge of the Zoo and its flora and fauna with adults and children through touring, use of biofact carts, and numerous educational programs and classes.  Docents complete a 23-week training program offered at the Zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension.  Classes meet Wednesdays or Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm and begin in mid September.  The weekly class focuses on taxonomy of both the plants and animals at the Zoo as well as ecology and conservation.  Docents' duties are as varied as those performing them, and individual opportunities are discussed and developed throughout the training course.  Docents must be 18 years or older when applying and be able to commit 100 hours per year for a minimum of two years.  Applications are accepted through August 6 at www.lazoo.org in the "Volunteers" section.

Docent and volunteer programs are among many Los Anglees Zoo services operated by the private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles ZooAssociation (GLAZA), founded in 1963.  For nearly five decades, GLAZA has funded exhibits, plant and animal species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs at the Los Angeles Zoo, an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  GLAZA also builds and invests endowment funds and operates five essential departments on behalf of the Zoo, including development, publications, membership, volunteers and oversight of the Zoo's food/retail concessions.  There are currently 73,000 GLAZA member households representing more than 300,000 adults and children, the largest membership base of a cultural organization in Los Angeles, and a volunteer corps of over 700.

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

Full descriptions of volunteer and docent opportunities and requirements are available at www.lazoo.org in the "Volunteers" section, and general information is available by calling (323) 644-4703 or emailing volunteers@lazoo.org.

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