Volunteer or Intern at the Zoo

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

Become part of a growing, committed group of volunteers at the Brandywine Zoo. 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.

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Internships 18+

Animal Care Internships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@state.de.us

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                                   70 Hours/Year
                         
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 is required for the classes. Dues not applicable to the 2019 class.

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.

Available Positions


Volunteer Requirements

  • Must be 14+ to volunteer as an individual without an adult companion, 16+ to handle loppers/maintenance equipment.
  • Volunteers 16+ are subject to passing a background check; if under 18, parents/guardians must sign.
  • Must attend any required trainings critical per position.
  • Must adhere to volunteer dress code (khakis, close toed shoes, zoo volunteer shirt, & ID badge) when operating as a volunteer for the Brandywine Zoo.
  • Volunteer is responsible for documenting all hours of service via Volgistics.

Steps to becoming a volunteer

Step 1: Apply via Volgistics

Complete the DE State Parks online Volunteer Application. Be sure to select the positions at the Zoo that interest you when completing this application. Volunteer group leaders should complete this form, too.

Step 2: Vetting (Interview & Background Check)

The Volunteer Manager at the Brandywine Zoo will be in contact with you shortly. Volunteers 16+ are subject to passing a background check; if under 18, parents/guardians must sign.

Step 3: Register for VolunteerMark

VolunteerMark is our comprehensive volunteer scheduler that is preloaded with all our volunteer positions and exact shift times available (iOS and Android app available!). Go to our public profile to register: volunteermark.com/brandywine-zoo

Estimated wait time to get into the zoo as a Volunteer process is 1-2 weeks. So hang tight!

For more information about volunteering, visit https://destateparks.com/Volunteer OR email our Volunteer Manager Danielle.Levredge@state.de.us.

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Volunteer Forms

Please print forms 1 and 2 (3 if applicable) and return to the Volunteer Manager in person or at danielle.levredge@state.de.us

1. Volunteer Service Agreement

2. Waiver of Liability

3. Parental Consent

Summer VolunTEENs

All application materials must be submitted by May 1.

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: 8am-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: 9:45am-1pm or 12:30-4pm, 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-1pm or 12:30-4pm, but full days are preferable. Minimum 100 hours, preferable to select one reoccurring weekday.

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.

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

For the safety of our animals and staff, there are no volunteer opportunities that work directly with animals (excluding our Goat Yard Volunteer position with our African Pygmy Goats). Contact with our animals is reserved for participants of our internship program.

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 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.

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.