Volunteer or Intern at the Zoo

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR!

We invite you to explore the Zoo’s volunteer opportunities and internship program. The Brandywine Zoo depends on people like you for support of its commitment to providing excellent care for our animals, a great experience for visitors and a better future for all living things.

Summer Intern Open House: For High School & College Students

February 9, 1 - 2:30pm
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Internships 18+

Animal Care Internships

Full-Time Keeper Apprentice
1 year commitment, stipend, housing

Summer Part-Time Keeper Intern
3 month commitment, no stipend, no housing

Education Department Internships

Conservation Programs Research Apprenticeship
1 year commitment, stipend, housing

Program Animal Apprentice
1 year commitment, stipend, housing

Program Animal Intern
6 month commitment, no stipend, housing [off-season]

Summer Program Animal Intern
3 month commitment, no stipend, no housing

Summer Zoo Camp Educator Intern
3 month commitment, stipend and housing available

Traveling Zoo Intern
6 month commitment (flexible), no stipend, housing (off-season)

Marketing Internship

Graphics and Marketing Intern
12-15 weeks minimum commitment, stipend, no housing

To apply for internships

Complete an online intern application via DE State Parks website.  For more information, please visit the Internship Page.

If you have inquiries about intern opportunities specific to Brandywine Zoo, please direct them to our Volunteer Manager Danielle.Levredge@delaware.gov

As of November 1, 2019 – all our internships are eligible for an optional AmeriCorps Educational Award. Interns engaged in Education, Management, Administration, or Environmental Stewardship are eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of their service if they choose. The award amount varies and is based on the total number of hours served. The award can be used for educational expenses including tuition, student loans, books, and other fees for up to 7 years after completion of service.

Docent Program

Definition
Docent = “Volunteer Teacher”

Description
Come be a part of life at the Brandywine Zoo! As a Docent, you’ll guide guests through the world of wildlife, answer questions about or narrate animal behavior and be a part of creating or sustaining the lifelong love of animals in our guests. Docents will be a large part of our changing interface here at the zoo. You’ll be a member of a critical team that assists the Brandywine Zoo staff in making sure our guests walk out of the zoo more knowledgeable and prepared to think about our animals and conservation solutions out in the world.

The Brandywine Zoo Education Department is seeking fun, mature and engaging volunteers for the Docent Program. These volunteers complete a series of 5 required formal trainings, a final exam and final presentation. The Brandywine Zoo’s Docent Program offers a new level of benefits, responsibility and commitment for individuals who can contribute consistent service and dedication to the Brandywine Zoo.

Location: Brandywine Zoo – Wilmington, DE
Supervisor: Education Staff and Volunteer Manager
Schedule: 2 shifts/month and a minimum of 70 hours/year
Apply: September 1 – December 31
Training Dates: For program year 2020, training dates are:

  • February 1: 9am – 3:30pm
  • February 8: 9am – 3:30pm
  • March 7: 9am – 3:30pm
  • March 14: 1pm – 4pm
  • March 28: 1pm – 4pm

Qualifications

  • Applicants must be 18+ years old.
  • Willing and able to complete a background check performed by the Division of Parks and Recreation.
  • Fluent in the English language (verbally and via written communication).
  • Provide proof of negative TB Test within the last 12 months before start date.
  • Must have an interest in working with the general public and effective public speaking skills such as enthusiasm, voice inflection, and varied facial expressions.
  • Candidates must exhibit consistent professional characteristics such as a punctuality, positive attitude, initiative, emotional maturity and self-responsibility.
  • Able to commit to upholding all Zoo safety and personnel policies, and support the overall mission of the Brandywine Zoo.

Responsibilities

  • Operate “Discovery Boxes” and handle rare (often fragile) biofacts: pelts, bones, etc.
  • Conduct tours of the zoo for groups and individuals.
  • Give audio-visual presentations on observations and interpretations of animal behavior.
  • Participate in the zoo’s special events as schedule allows.
  • Handle and present all program animals as programming dictates (this may include small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates)
  • Other duties as assigned

REGISTRATIONS & DUES
Pre-registration and interview attendance is required. Dues covered by Delaware State Parks.

Training: A hallmark of the program, Docents receive training from the field experts they will be working with. In addition to this formal and informal training to successfully conduct their Docent presentations, Docents will have the opportunity to build associated skills and share real-time experience with park staff and colleagues. Training will be made available to the Docents to further their personal and professional development. Additionally, the position will develop critical skills for those interested in a career in education, conservation, natural resource management, animal management, or ecological studies.

Opportunities for school credit or Continuing Education Credit are available.

San Diego Zoo Global: Full and free access to the San Diego Zoo Global Academy online course-list for the duration of the internship; certificate upon completion.

Networking: Access to 180+ years of professional experience and knowledge via current zoo staff.

Activities: Docents will have the opportunity not only to visit ALL Delaware State Parks at no fee, but also participate in many of the tours, programs, and associated events for free. Delaware State Parks span the length of the state and whether it be canoeing at Trap Pond State Park, surfing at Delaware Seashore State Park, attending a concert at Bellevue State Park, or touring the living history facility at Fort Delaware, there is certainly something for everyone.

All Delaware State Parks volunteers are required to undergo and successfully complete a background check performed by the Division.

VolunTEENs

If you’re interested in joining our volunTEEN program (ages 14–19) please apply next spring! If you have questions or comments, please contact the Volunteer Manager at 302-440-6590 or email Daneille.Levredge@delaware.gov.

Volunteer Opportunities

Summer Camp Counselors
Camp counselors will work M-F for their selected weeks assisting our Zoo Camp Staff with on-site camps. Counselors will help lead activities and games, assist staff with managing campers, and contribute to an overall FUN and educational camp for our campers! For information on the camps you will help lead, please visit our Summer Camps page.

Shifts: 8:30am-4pm M-F, minimum of 2 weeks

Goat Yard Monitor
Goat yard monitors will assist zoo guests in friendly interactions with the goats during their visit. This includes interpreting the goats, showing how to gently interact, and even brushing the goats. Goat yard monitors may also be asked to clean and rake the goat yard during their shift.

Shifts: 9AM – 12PM or 12PM – 4PM, but mornings preferred. Minimum 100 hours, preferable to select one reoccurring weekday.

Exhibit Interperter/Docent
Talk to our guests about our animals, assist with animal demonstrations or shows.

Shifts: 9:45AM – 12PM or 12PM – 4PM., but full days are preferable. Minimum 100 hours, preferable to select one reoccurring weekday.

Corporate & Groups

Many colleges, businesses, and private organizations choose to volunteer their time at the Brandywine Zoo every year! The zoo can accommodate groups of 15 or fewer adults per day. Volunteers work closely with our Animal Department to assist with outdoor projects and light horticultural tasks. Please nominate a single point of contact for the group and register via the volunteer registration link. Point of contact is responsible for logging hours of the group.

If you’d like to directly sign up for pre-planned corporate group activities, please look through our Corporate Events Calendar.

Contact Volunteer Manager directly at danielle.levredge@delaware.gov for more information

More than 20 – contact us at DNREC_HelpYourPark@delaware.gov

Maintenance and Landscape Volunteer

Reports to/Department: Reports directly to Animal Care staff and senior Maintenance staff.

Position Description: Volunteers assist in daily grounds keeping and building maintenance. Volunteers possessing special trade skills or experience may assist with more complex projects such as those involving carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, or painting.

Volunteer Responsibilities:

  • Complete odd jobs around the zoo using power and manual tools (provided).
  • Communicate effectively with staff including listening to staff concerning landscape/maintenance need and coming up with a strong solution that meets zoo and animal care standards.
  • Communicate effectively with zoo staff regarding animal and visitor impact of projects.
  • Complete tasks in a timely manner always keeping human and animal safety and welfare as top priorities.
  • Keep self-hydrated and safe according to safety protocols/guidelines.

This Opportunity is GOOD for People Who:

  • People who enjoy being part of a team and willing to learn about zoo facility management.
  • People who are happy volunteering outside in all the different weather conditions.
  • Enjoy problem solving and challenging DIY projects

Volunteer Requirements:

  • Must be 18+
  • Pass background check.

DISCLAIMER: Volunteers in Delaware State Parks are not considered employees of the State of Delaware, therefore the Division of Parks and Recreation does not provide Workers Compensation or any other insurance coverage for volunteers.

Benefits

  • Networking opportunity and access to 180+ years of professional experience and knowledge via current zoo staff.
  • Free access to all Delaware State Parks during internship or volunteer duration including Delaware Seashore and Fort Delaware.

Email Danielle Levredge with your interest, skills and availability in an email titled “[Your Full Name] Maintenance and Landscape Volunteer Application”.

Questions: Email our Volunteer Manager at danielle.levredge@delaware.gov

Camera Club Volunteer

Reports to/Department: Under the supervision of the Volunteer Manager or Delaware Zoological Society

Position Description: The Brandywine Zoo Volunteer Camera Club is for adult Zoo members with an interest in photography. Camera Club Volunteers will be invited to attend regularly scheduled photo shoots in the Zoowhich may includes early access to the Zoo or animal exhibits that you may not have otherwise.Camera Club Volunteers will contribute to the Zoo s catalogue of collection animal images and raise awareness of associated species conservation efforts.

As a member of the club, your photos could be seen in Brandywine Zoo’s marketing materials, advertising, website, ZooNews articles, eNews, social media pages and more.In addition, Camera Club Volunteers serve a vital role in documenting Zoo activities like special visits and events.

Volunteer Responsibilities:

  • Assist in documenting Zoo activities, meetings, animals and events.
  • Coordinate with staff to take photos of designated projects.
  • Volunteers are expected to produce creative, high-quality, unique images for use in a variety of media and promotional materials.
  • Club members must: attend at least five events/programs per year and provide their photos to the Zoo for use in marketing materials
  • Possess their own high quality camera, such as a digital SLR, and related necessary equipment.
  • Engage Zoo guests, providing exceptional guest service, both internally and externally.
  • Wear Volunteer Camera Club Photo Badge while taking photos for the Zoo.

This Opportunity is GOOD for People Who:

  • Have a passion for photography.
  • Photography skills ranging from amateurs to professionals; there is no required level of skill.
  • Experience photographing people, animals, and events in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Volunteer Requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Able to lift 25 to 50 pound bags with little to no assistance.
  • Must pass a background check
  • Must demonstrate photographic ability by providing examples of work during an interview.

Training: No training is necessary. As this club grows, regular meetings with other club members will be encouraged to discuss photography and share tips and pointers.

Required Time Commitment: Attend at least 5 events/programs per year.

Benefits

  • Networking opportunity and access to 180+ years of professional experience and knowledge via current zoo staff.
  • Free access to all Delaware State Parks during internship or volunteer duration including Delaware Seashore and Fort Delaware.

Email Danielle Levredge with your interest, portfolio and availability in an email titled “[Your Full Name] Camera Club Application”.’

Questions: Email danielle.levredge@delaware.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I hear back regarding my application?

Since we receive so many applications, please be patient! Keep in mind that incomplete applications will not be considered. Be sure to check the email address listed on your application, including spam folders! If it has been 2 weeks or longer since you’ve submitted your application, please reach out to the Volunteer Manager, Danielle.Levredge@delaware.gov.

Will I need a background check?

Every volunteer and intern over 18 will receive a background check as a part of their onboarding package. VolunTEENs 16+ who will assist in supporting our summer camp programs will receive an adjusted DCYF background check.

Am I allowed to touch or interact with the animals when I volunteer?

For the safety of our animals and staff, opportunities that work directly with animals are reserved for our internship program and select Docents who have been invited for the required training. All Docents and VolunTEENs will have the opportunity to work in our Goat Yard after completing training.

Can I volunteer with friends from a local group or co-workers?

Yes! We welcome groups from any organization to come and help out every Thursday throughout the year – as needed – and for any special event listed on our calendar.

What should I be prepared for when I volunteer?

Work in the zoo field is often dirty business – please wear closed toed shoes and khaki pants that you don’t mind getting roughing up. Brandywine Zoo’s perimeter is rife with poison ivy so please be prepared for potential contact if you are working in the perimeter; those with extreme sensitivity or ivy allergy should abstain from landscaping opportunities.

If I volunteer will this lead to a job at the zoo?

The experience gained through volunteering will help when it comes to applying for jobs and for interviews. But you would still have to apply and compete for any job; there is no guarantee of employment.

What if I get hurt during my volunteer service?

Volunteers engage in volunteer activities at their own risk and are responsible for their own actions.

There is an optional CIMA VIS Volunteer Accident Insurance policy available at no charge to any registered Delaware State Parks volunteer and provided by the Friends of Killens Pond State Park. The policy is in excess of any other health insurance that volunteers may have in place. Should a volunteer not have insurance, this policy would be primary based on policy requirements.

By providing this insurance, the Friends of Killens Pond State Park in no-way assumes liability or responsibility for any volunteer participating in Delaware State Parks. Volunteers electing to use this insurance have to sign a waiver acknowledging this understanding.

The policy does not include Excess Automobile Liability Insurance.

How many internship positions do you have?

During our most active time (summer) we have 16 interns operating simultaneously. Please visit check the intern tab for more information.

Can I serve court-mandated community service?

We do not accept those who need court-mandated community service hours.