LA Zoo to Host Docent Training Program Informational Meeting, 7/19

LA Zoo to Host Docent Training Program Informational Meeting, 7/19

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 19, 2014, 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.

"All you need is willingness to learn and commitment to the welfare of our animals," 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."

GLAZA's volunteers, topping 800 people, contributed more than 74,000 hours last year to the Zoo. Many volunteers, who range in age from 18 to 90, have provided over 45 years of service.

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 training program offered at the Zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension. Classes, which begin in October, meet once a week on Fridays or Saturdays, from 8:30 am to 3 pm, and focus 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, with individual opportunities 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 12 at www.lazoo.org 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. For five decades, GLAZA has funded plant and animal exhibits, species conservation, capital projects, and education and community outreach programs at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. GLAZA also builds and invests endowment funds and operates six essential departments on behalf of the L.A. Zoo: development, marketing, publications, membership, volunteers, and oversight of the food and retail concessions. There are 65,000 member households in GLAZA representing more than 240,000 adults and children, the largest membership base of a cultural organization in Los Angeles. GLAZA additionally boasts a volunteer corps of more than 800 individuals.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, attracting 1.6 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. Its lush grounds on 133 acres feature 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. Among its most popular habitats are the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles), Elephants of Asia, Campo Gorilla Reserve and Rainforest of the Americas.

Reservations for the July 19 information meeting are not required; check-in tables will be set up at the Zoo entrance.

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. Full descriptions of volunteer and docent opportunities and requirements are available at www.lazoo.org in the "Volunteers" section, and general information is available by calling (323) 644-4703 or emailing volunteers@lazoo.org.

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