Thursday, June 27, 2013

LA Zoo seeks docents- meeting July 20

Do you love animals?  Children?  Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity?  Check out the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) docent training program at an information meeting on Saturday, July 20, 2013, 10 am to noon, at the Los Angeles Zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  GLAZA's docent program, open to ages 18 and up, provides comprehensive training, with no previous experience necessary.  Reservations for the July 20 information meeting are not required; check-in tables will be set up at the Zoo entrance.

“"We have 800 volunteers and 800 reasons to volunteer,” says Kirin Daugharty, manager of volunteers, adding "Docents are an essential part of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, creating a better environment for our animals and our visitors.  All you need is a willingness to learn and a commitment to the welfare of our animals.”

Many of GLAZA's docents and volunteers, who range in age from 18 to 90, have provided over 45 years of service.  In 2012, GLAZA volunteers contributed more than 93,000 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, once per week, training program offered at the Zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension.  Classes meet Thursdays or Saturdays from 8:30 am to 3 pm and begin in October.  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 high school graduate or equivalent and 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 in the "Volunteers" section.

Docent and volunteer programs are among many Los Angeles Zoo services operated by the private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), founded in 1963.  Over 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 already operates six essential departments on behalf of the Zoo, including development, publications, membership, volunteers, special events and oversight of the Zoo's food/retail concessions.  There are 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 800.

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 in the "Volunteers" section, and general information is available by calling (323) 644-4703 or emailing

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