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National Volunteer Week (Spoiler: We think we have the best volunteers!)

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

ZooCorps volunteer Paul Houser, Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/WPZ

Let's begin with a quote from William James, "Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does."

When it comes to our dedicated volunteers, we could not find a truer sentiment. This National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, we'd like to acknowledge the 750+ Woodland Park Zoo volunteers who help our zoo shine.

From their devotion to the zoo's animal care mission, to their passion for protecting wildlife and wild places—our  volunteers offer a host of wisdom, kindness and patience that inspires our guests and instills in our community a sense of wonder and gratitude. 

Alycia Moncrieff assists the horticulture team in the Tropical Rain Forest. Photo by Dennis Dow/WPZ.

Volunteers range in age from 12 to 94, and come from all over the place—some commute as far as Kennewick, WA.  From ZooCorps to Counselors in training to docents and animal unit volunteers, there are a variety of volunteer jobs which are tantamount to the success of our zoo.  All in all, zoo volunteers racked up 84,184 volunteer hours in 2015 alone!

Docents Marilynn Pray and Wendie Bark give guests a close up experience with a wriggly subject. Photo by Dennis Dow/WPZ.
ZooCorps volunteers learn about tracking wild river otters. From left: Sophie Yasuda, Katherine Fry, Hannah Parker, Nyaila Flight, Ashley Huang and Emily Huang. Photo by Jeremy Dywer-Lindgren/WPZ.

If you have visited the zoo, you’ve surely encountered some of our wonderful volunteers. They are the ones with the biggest smiles, most interesting zoo tales, directions to your favorite animal and recommendations on the best-kept secret zoo spots to visit on a rainy day.  As one of the Volunteer Engagement Coordinators Julie Ann Barowski explains, “Their impact also reaches far beyond our zoo grounds. The work of every volunteer extends Woodland Park Zoo’s capacity to achieve our mission of saving animals and their habitats, both locally and around the world. Our volunteers often are directly involved in conservation actions and act as strong advocates in their own communities, educating others and leading by example to help achieve a bright and environmentally sustainable future for all.”

Here’s to our lovely volunteers, thank you for all that you do!

Taking a donkey for a leg stretch is one of the more glamorous volunteer jobs, here Judy Nyman-Schaaf does the honors. Photo by Dennis Dow/WPZ.