Volunteer Opportunities: General Volunteers

Group of Volunteers helping prepare for a Special Event Volunteers are vitally important to the Zoo. Some people love to interact with the public and educate about the animals and the Zoo's conservation programs. Some people love to garden and donate their time to the ongoing landscaping efforts. Others like to be indoors and help with filing or organizing. Yet others like to build or paint and help build or repair the Zoo's builings, fences, and other structures. Whatever you love to do, we can put your time and talents to good use. We are looking for volunteers from around the East Bay and Bay Area to help with:

  • Special Events: Assist the marketing and education staff in hosting successful and educational zoo-wide events, including pre-planning activities, set-up, and clean-up.
  • Education: Assist the Education Staff in a variety of jobs including record keeping, supply preparation, research, administrative/clerical support, special events, assisting zoo guests, and other programming support.
  • Horticulture: Work with our horticulture staff on the daily requirements of park maintenance and assist with landscape management and habitat restoration projects.
  • EMT: Work with our Security and Park Services staff in providing basic first aid and life support to ill or injured zoo guests. Assist with reuniting lost children and parents.
  • Conservation: Work with the Conservation Director on a variety of projects and initiatives such as Quarters for Conservation, Greening and Sustainability, Creek and Butterfly Garden, and other administrative support such as research, writing, and preparing supplies.
  • Administration: Provide clerical support to a variety of departments such as: Education, Conservation, Marketing, Membership, Group Services, and Development. Projects and tasks will vary by department.

Application Process:

General volunteer positions are for candidates age 18 and over. Interested candidates should download, complete, and submit a Volunteer Application at least 2 weeks prior to the next New Volunteer Information Meeting. All volunteers must attend an information meeting. New Volunteer Information Meetings are held three times per year (January, May, and August). Please see our Calendar of Events for specific dates and times.

The information meetings provide an overview of the zoo and all of our volunteer opportunities. There is an optional tour of the zoo immediately following the meeting. Once you have attended an information meeting and chosen an area for your volunteer service, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate department. You will be called for a department specific interview. You should expect to be contacted by the department within 2-4 weeks.

If you are undecided regarding an area for your volunteer service, please download the General Volunteer Application. If you have decided you wish to volunteer with our Animal Care Department, please download the Animal Care Volunteer Application. Completed applications can be submitted via mail to: Oakland Zoo Volunteer Program, PO Box 5238, Oakland, CA 94605, email, or fax: (510)729-7324.

Contact Information:

Have questions? Please look over our General Volunteer FAQs sheet. You may also email Lisa O'Dwyer, Volunteer Programs Manager or call her at (510) 632-9525 x141.

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