Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Laura Stegman
LA Zoo 

LA Zoo Looking For a Few Good Men and Women. Docent Meeting on July 15, 2017

"The docent program is for people with an interest in wildlife, a love of learning and the desire to make a difference in the world,"

 

Tad Motoyama

Docents serve as volunteer teachers, sharing their knowledge of the Zoo and its flora and fauna with adults and children through touring, educational activities, educational programs, classes and more.

Do you love animals? Working with children? Are you looking for a rewarding volunteer opportunity?

Check out the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) Docent training program at an information meeting on Saturday, July 15, 2017, 10 am to noon, at the Los Angeles Zoo's Witherbee Auditorium. Docents serve as volunteer teachers, sharing their knowledge of the Zoo and its flora and fauna with adults and children through touring, educational activities, educational programs, classes and more.

The docent program, open to ages 18 and up, provides a comprehensive training course where individual opportunities are explored and developed. GLAZA volunteers, numbering nearly 600 people, contributed more than 58,000 hours last year to the Zoo, with duties as varied as the men and women performing them. Some GLAZA volunteers, who range in age from 16 to 93, have provided over 47 years of service. No previous experience is necessary.

"The docent program is for people with an interest in wildlife, a love of learning and the desire to make a difference in the world," says Docent Chair Paulette Heath. "Docents provide invaluable support for the L.A. Zoo. They give a voice to the conservation mission of the Zoo as they share animal information and help visitors of all ages understand how important the Zoo's work is to wild animal populations around the world.

Docents complete a 23-week training program offered at the Zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension. Classes, which run from October to April, meet once a week on Wednesdays or Saturdays, from 9:30 am to 4 pm, and focus on taxonomy of both the plants and animals at the Zoo as well as ecology, conservation and the role of zoos in wildlife preservation.

Docents must be high school graduates 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 19, 2017, and can be completed on-line at http://www.lazoo.org/support/volunteer/docent/.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world's most critically endangered species and their habitats. Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats.

The Zoo's lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world.

Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children's Zoo and Muriel's Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more.

Jamie Pham

The docent program, open to ages 18 and up, provides a comprehensive training course where individual opportunities are explored and developed

The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo's popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Free parking is available.

Reservations for the July 15 information meeting are not required; check-in tables will be set up at the Zoo entrance.

Full descriptions of volunteer and docent opportunities and requirements are available at http://www.lazoo.org/support/volunteer/docent/ and general information is available by calling (323) 644-4702 or (323) 644-4773 or emailing [email protected]

 

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