By Jennifer Thompson
Most issues of The Porch Press include a release from one of our best-known residents, Zoo Atlanta. There are animal births, the upcoming Scaly Slimy Spectacular, The Amphibian and Reptile Experience opening in spring 2015, Wild Encounters with several key species, and the most recent news about the transformations planned for the Cyclorama project. But there are other changes that are part of everyday life at the Zoo that are just as exciting. Ongoing improvements in the Zoo’s robust Volunteer Program give volunteers opportunities to explore new roles and responsibilities. For anyone who has a passion for animals, it is a wonderful chance to meet people from all over the world and talk with them about different species and their natural habitats, needs, benefits, and protection.
Do you love landscaping and gardening? Zoo Atlanta has a respected and vibrant Horticulture Department, which not only maintains all of the plants in the public areas and animal habitats, but also works with several statewide departments in conservation efforts. Plants are an often overlooked but very crucial aspect of conservation of our natural world. One case in point is the endangered long needle pine. Without this tree, the burrowing gopher tortoise and visiting indigo snake cannot find habitable roots. Zoo Atlanta’s Horticulture Team works with other entities to culture, grow, and plant this keystone species into its native habitat. The Carnivorous Bog, planted in the Zoo’s Complex Carnivores area, draws people as much as the more active animal neighbors do! Other volunteer opportunities include animal enrichment, husbandry, veterinary assistance, animal diet preparation, program animal handling, and even office help.
For kids who are interested in wildlife and conservation, Zoo Atlanta has a thriving ‘Volunteen’ Program for youth ages 14 to 17. Families looking to do more things together can join the Family Volunteer Program.
No matter what your age, background, schedule, or desires, Zoo Atlanta needs you. Think of the many ways you can join in to enjoy and enhance the lives of these animals and help protect those left in the wild by providing them a good meal, ensuring good medical care, educating the public, and learning more through research. By volunteering, you get to be an active part of all this and so much more.
Visit www.zooatlanta.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Zoo Atlanta.
Happening at the Zoo
By Jennifer Thompson