Thank you for your interest in the Memphis Zoo's volunteer program. We are very pleased to have an active and dedicated group of volunteers making a difference at the Memphis Zoo – and hope that you will become a part of our team!
Explore the tab below to learn more about great opportunities to volunteer at the Zoo.
- Volunteering at the Memphis Zoo is and excellent way to support our mission and give back to the community. Interested in a Zoo career? Volunteering is an excellent way to gain practical experience in many zoo related fields.
Types of Volunteers
General volunteers – long-term volunteers who adhere to an ongoing schedule and come regularly to the Zoo to do various tasks. Level of commitment: medium.
Interns—college students who volunteer for a set period of time to gain practical and management experience within their field of study. Level of commitment: high. Click here to get more information about internships.
Special Event Volunteers—volunteers age 14 and older who work various seasonal exhibits and during special events. Level of commitment: low. Click here to get more information about Volunteering for Special Events.
Group Volunteers—groups of people who come as a whole, representing any type of organization, to volunteer collectively either during special events or periodically on small projects. Level of commitment: low. Click here to download the application.
Docents—volunteers who educate the public about our animals at the exhibit areas, conduct scheduled tours of the Zoo, and give talks to organizations. Docents are important members of the Zoo community that bring to their role a deep interest in the natural world and a desire to share that knowledge with others. Level of commitment: high. Click here to get more information about the Docent program.
How To Get Started
The following steps are required to become an active General Volunteer:
Complete our online Volunteer Application Form.
- See our list of available Volunteer Opportunities and decide which opportunities interest you most and match your availability and skills.
- Review our FAQs page.
- Attend a Volunteer Information Session to learn more about the Memphis Zoo and the opportunities.
- Pay a $50 Volunteer Membership Fee.
- Pass a background check.
- Attend an orientation to complete all paperwork and receive materials and uniform.
- Begin volunteering!
Special Event Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers are needed to help staff our special and fundraising events at the Memphis Zoo. If your business would like a great way to get your employees involved, volunteering at the Zoo's special events could be the answer! Students - Zoo Boo and SunTrust Zoo Lights events are a great way to earn your required service hours with a total of 29 nights of opportunities to volunteer! Special event volunteers are booked through one main contact at your school, organization or business and volunteers work during the event. Independent volunteers should contact the Volunteer Coordinators directly. Special event volunteers for Zoo Boo and SunTrust Zoo Lights work the entire shift of the event. No long term commitment or experience necessary.
Special Events Volunteer Requirements:
- All volunteers must be a minimum of 14 years of age. ; 14 and 15 year old volunteers must have a parent or guardian accompany and volunteer with them.
- All volunteers must be reliable, hard working, able to follow instructions, able to work independently and able to work in outdoor weather conditions.
- All volunteers must be people oriented and able to focus on the guests (refrain from using cell phones, iPods, etc.).
- All (one time event) volunteers must complete and submit a Volunteer Waiver Form prior to volunteering.
- Volunteer Groups must have a 1:5 adult (21+) to youth (18 and under) ratio and a group application on file.
- Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights volunteers must work the entire shift.
Special Event Volunteer Opportunities
- Earth Day Celebration – It’s your environment; help protect it! Raise awareness for environmental issues by operating game or information stations.
- Zoom through the Zoo – 4K run in and around the Zoo.
- Members’ Night—an event in honor of our members.
- Dreamnight at the Zoo—an event for critically ill and/or severely disabled children
- Harvest Fest—a celebration of harvest time and local artisans.
- Senior Day—a day free for Senior Citizens.
- Zoo Boo—a seasonal Halloween event with various fun volunteer positions available
- Zoo Lights—month long, winter Holiday event with various positions available. Others as they arise!
- Others as they arise
Special Event Volunteer Benefits:
- An opportunity to become a part of wildlife conservation and education in your community.
- Get your group involved with the Zoo.
- The chance to meet people and share the excitement of the Zoo.
- Complete required service hours for school.
- Get your email address added to our Event Volunteers Email distribution list by emailing our volunteer office. Put “Event Volunteer Email List” in the subject line.
- Find out specific event dates by calling the Volunteer office at (901) 333-6653.
- Commit to working a specific date and shift.
- Submit the Volunteer Waiver Form (must be updated every 6 months) prior to event.
- Come prepared to have fun, focus on our guests, and complete the shift.
Forms Needed for Special Events Volunteers
Volunteer Waiver Form
The Memphis Zoo is seeking applicants for an internship in the CHINA section for mid-August through mid-November. The CHINA section has a wide variety of animals including Giant Pandas, Sulawesi macaques, Francois langurs, Pere David Deer, Red-Crowned Cranes and a variety of songbirds and waterfowl. The intern will work with the CHINA team who will mentor and foster passion in becoming a zookeeper. That person will gain valuable experience in aspects of zoo animal care such as husbandry, enrichment, training, exhibit maintenance, record keeping, public presentations, and conservation.
Candidates for this position should be self-motivated, hard-working, positive, dependable, like to work in a team setting, and have an interest in pursuing a career in animal care.
Working conditions: Interns will work in all types of weather including heat, humidity, rain and must be able to lift 50lbs. Must also be able to stand for extended periods of time up to 8 hours. Current TB test is required as well as a flu shot and personal medical insurance. Will work 40 hours a week for length of 10-12 weeks. Length of internship can be increased if at end of internship staff all agree to extend internship.
NO HOUSING PROVIDED
Minimal physical contact with animals, NO CONTACT with class 1 animals
Must pay $50 volunteer membership fee (covers shirt, badge, and background check)
Ideal candidate will either be enrolled in college at a junior/senior level or graduated with a degree pertaining to biology/animal science/psychology and a 3.0 GPA is preferred. Preference given to those with experience working around animals in a zoo or similar setting.
Cover letter, resume, application
Reference letters (2): 1 must be from a professor/instructor in the animal science field or a previous employer
Materials to submit:
Applications must be submitted by July 1, 2017 and should include a cover letter, resume, and reference letters along with an application (downloaded here or at https://www.memphiszoo.org/volunteers#intern). All materials should be emailed to email@example.com with the applicant’s last name and “CHINA Internship” in the subject line. Applications with incomplete materials will not be considered.
Northwest Passage/Teton Trek Internship
The Northwest Passage/Teton Trek internship is designed to be a career learning experience in the field of animal care. The intern will work alongside keepers to gain firsthand experience in food preparation, exhibit cleaning and maintenance, water quality monitoring, animal husbandry for a variety of taxa (large carnivores and birds), guest interactions and animal presentations (both formal and informal). The intern will be expected to accomplish a special research, observational, or school project. A commitment of 10-12 weeks and 40 work hours per week is expected. Housing must be acquired by individual and internship is unpaid. The internship will run September through November. Start and end dates are flexible. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however the deadline for summer session is March 31, 2017
- Preference is given to those currently studying a related science field or those who have just completed one. All applicants must have completed their freshman year at an accredited college or university and must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
- Applicants should be able to work in all weather conditions, on all terrain and be able to lift 50lbs.
- Must pay $50 volunteer membership fee (covers shirt, badge, background check, etc.)
- Cleaning: Approximately 60 percent of the time is spent maintaining a clean and healthy environment for the animals, staff, and public.
- Food preparation: Approximately 15 percent of the time is spent preparing diets for all the animals. This includes thawing, sorting, weighing, cutting, and vitamin administration.
- Recordkeeping: Approximately 5 percent of the time is spent maintaining records of weights, diets, water quality, job duties accomplished, and other records that are assigned by the animal care staff.
- Public interactions: Approximately 15 percent of the time is spent interacting with the public and answering guests' questions. Interns will be expected to learn informal keeper chats as well as assist keepers with the formal sea lion show (including speaking on a microphone).
- Special project: Approximately 5 percent of the time is spent working toward accomplishing a special project. This may be a requirement of the school, or may be assigned by the supervisor.
Interested in Research Internships? Click here for further information. Internships are offered three times a year: Summer, Fall and Spring. All applicants must have completed their freshman year at an accredited college or university prior to applying, and must be maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA in the area of their major. Only applicants majoring in the sciences will be considered for animal care internships; however students in any field may apply for administrative positions. Interns must commit to working a minimum of 24 hours per week for eight consecutive weeks. All Memphis Zoo internships are unpaid. Interns will be considered volunteers, and therefore will operate under the supervision of the Volunteer Coordinators, as well as their area supervisors and also be required to pay the $50 Volunteer Membership Fee. Click here to download the application.
Deadlines for applications are as follows: April 10 for Summer (May-Aug) internships, July 1 for Fall (Sept-Dec) internships and November 1 for Spring (Jan-Apr) internships.
The Memphis Zoo will be happy to facilitate any projects or presentations deemed necessary for credit. ALL PROJECTS MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY ZOO STAFF SUPERVISOR.
If you need additional information or to submit your forms, please e-mail our Volunteer Coordinators or call the Volunteer Office at 901.333.6654 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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