This year, I started volunteering with Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, KS. There are many different volunteer opportunities with Sunset Zoo. Currently, I have completed both the basic Zoo Corps training and the animal handling training so that I can do hands-on work with animals at zoo events. Zoo Corps training is required to volunteer at the zoo, and if you want, you can go on to do animal handling training and/or docent training. During animal handling training, I learned how to properly hold and present the education animals to the public, as well as prepare them for safe transportation, and sanitize their carriers after events. With docent training, which I have not completed, you will get the opportunity to present educational programs and lead zoo tours. Even with only the basic training, there are a wide variety of events available for you to assist with. Some people even participate in “keeper shadows,” where they get to see what a zookeeper does on a daily basis and assist with their tasks. I am really excited to become more involved with the zoo and help with summer camps and other fun events!
Recently, I participated in Sunset Zoo’s biggest event of the year, SPOOKtacular. I was initially going to refill candy for the stations along the candy trail, but I was fortunate enough to be able to pass candy out to the kids as they came down the path. It was really enjoyable to see their happy faces and creative costumes. Over 100 volunteers from both the regular zoo volunteer crew and volunteers from the community made the event possible. I would recommend volunteering with the zoo to anyone that’s interested in becoming part of the Zoo Corps or anyone who wants to help out with special events. It truly is a rewarding experience.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Sunset Zoo can fill out the online application, which will add them to the list to be notified of upcoming Zoo Corps trainings. The online application can be found here: https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/ap?AP=281910207
Other volunteer opportunities for different age groups can also be found on the zoo’s website at: http://www.sunsetzoo.com/Jobs.aspx