Volunteer

At the Zoo, our dedicated volunteers donate 14,000 hours of their time and talents annually. You, too, can make a difference for the animals you love!

VOLUNTEER TODAY!
Don’t like computers? That’s okay! Just call (989) 759-1408 or email megan@saginawzoo.com and we’ll make it easy!

Want to learn more about volunteering with us?

Here are some frequently asked questions!

Do I get to interact with the animals?

Currently, the only volunteer position that interacts with animals are Zoo Crew and Habitat volunteers stationed in our contact yard. None of our volunteers have contact with any other animals in the zoo.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

You need to be at least 13 years old to participate in Zoo Crew. All other volunteers must be 18 or older. Volunteers under the age of 18 are welcome to participate in conservation projects and special events if they are members of Zoo Crew. These hours will count toward the 40-hour requirement.

How do I become a Zoo Crew Leader?

Zoo Crew Leaders are volunteers 15+ who have completed at least one year in Zoo Crew.

How do I sign up to be a volunteer?

If you are interested in becoming an Adult Volunteer, you can sign up here! Adult Volunteers include Garden, Conservation and Special Event Volunteers. If you are between the ages of 13-17 and interested in becoming a Zoo Crew volunteer, you can sign up here!

How often do Conservation Volunteers go out?

From Frog and Toad Surveys to our Adopt-a-Highway Clean-up, it seems like there is always something going on! As most of our conservation work is in partnership with other organizations, the dates and frequency often change from year to year. From the time we open for the season to the time we close, there is usually at least one conservation project a month. Keep in mind, some projects, such as the Frog and Toad Survey require an hour-long training before you can go out with the group. Trainings are typically offered once a month.

When should I apply to volunteer?

While the Zoo is only open from mid-April through October, you can apply year-round! Keep in mind, volunteer opportunities are currently only available while we are open.

Are there volunteer opportunities in the Fall and Winter?

While we do have group or garden volunteer come out after we close for the season to help clean up before winter, there are currently no volunteer opportunities available while we are closed from November-Mid April.

What is the application process like?

For Adult Volunteers, just fill out an online application here! You will need to pass a background check, and, depending on your role, submit proof of a TB test in the past six months.

Zoo Crew Volunteers will need to fill out an online application, have two, non-related adults complete the Zoo Crew Recommendation Form, and have proof of current tetanus vaccine and negative TB test in the past six months.

Garden Volunteers can email a request to be placed on the garden waitlist at kmccarthy@saginawzoo.com or info@saginawzoo.com. Once prospective gardeners receive a notification that a garden has become available, they can complete the Adult Volunteer Application.

All volunteers must also attend a volunteer orientation before starting. Orientation varies depending on volunteer position.

Is there a cost associated with volunteering?

Nope! We currently do not charge our volunteers an application fee. Adult Volunteers receive one free T-shirt a year, and Zoo Crew Volunteers receive two free T-shirts when they start.

Note: There may be a fee associated with the TB test or tetanus vaccine, which you will need depending on the position you are applying for.

Do I still attend my shift in inclement weather?

As the Zoo is almost entirely outdoors, we typically do not have our volunteers come in during inclement weather. Zoo Crew Volunteers may still come in as there are indoor projects available for them. Volunteers will be notified the night before or the morning of their shift if shifts are canceled due to inclement weather.

How long will it be once I am on the waitlist before I get a garden?

While we have over 125 gardens, we also have over 50 people on our waitlist! Current gardeners do leave, and new gardens are created, but it is typically 1-2 years before new gardeners are able to join our family.

 

Animal Collections

Are you interested in working in the Zoo alongside a zookeeper? This opportunity requires a weekly time commitment basis and will aid zookeepers in their schedules. Be sure to dress appropriately, rain or shine, keepers are working hard!

Conservation

Do you like hands-on, active experiences? Don’t mind getting dirty? Get involved in wildlife and habitat conservation! Contribute to community, national, and global impact while helping to spread our conservation message. Assist with habitat improvement, perform wildlife monitoring and tracking, inspire current and future natural stewards, and enjoy the natural resources all around us! Prior experience is not necessary —- we accept everyone!

Education

Assist with outreach programs, participate in amphitheater shows, be a counselor at a Zoo camp, and more. Requires a consistent time commitment on the same days of the week for a couple hours at a time because of the nature of the programs.

Gardens

Our beautiful gardens are magical to look at, but they don’t happen by magic! On the contrary, they take a whole team of volunteers to maintain! Garden volunteers weed the gardens, trim shrubberies, and water plants and flowers. A gardening schedule is made in advance for the season; however, once trained, volunteer gardeners may come when they wish to work at their leisure.

Grounds

Do you enjoy working with your hands while outside on a beautiful day? Grounds maintenance is for you — mowing lawns, weed whipping, assisting in general maintenance of the facilities. No specific time commitment required!

Internships

We currently offer two types of internships: Animal Collections and Education. Our internship programs provide hands-on, real world experience for individuals interested in pursuing careers in an animal care or education-related field. While our internships are unpaid, they offer long-term, intensive working experiences that relate directly with your preferred course of study.  Upon completion of internships, we are more than happy to offer appropriate recommendations and advice. Click here for more information on our internships and to apply!

Rides

Conduct the famous Zoo train or operate the region’s only hand-carved carousel. Ride operators conduct the train and carousel while facilitating a safe environment for visitors on the rides, and ensuring visitors treat the equipment with respect. Requires a regular commitment of at least 4 hours at a time. To ensure a safe ride for everyone; you must be 18 years of age to operate the rides.

Special events

Did you have an amazing time at one of our events? Events happen because of the dedication of volunteers. From working booths, to helping set up the facilities, we can always use an extra set of hands on our busiest days. This assignment is perfect for volunteers who want to volunteer only once or twice a month.

Zoo Store

Kids, candy, toys, and smiles are what the Zoo Store is all about! If you enjoy helping kids of all ages satisfy a sweet tooth or find just the right little plush penguin or slithery lizard toy to take home, you’ll enjoy volunteering in the Zoo Store. Whether you have lots of time or just a little bit, we’d love to have your smiling face and helping hands making our visitors happy. Zoo store volunteers are responsible for handling the sales of Zoo merchandise from our gift shop, maintaining a balanced cash drawer, and restocking merchandise. Proficiency with computers is required.