any other non-profit organization, the Gladys Porter
Zoo greatly depends on its surrounding community for
support. The Zoo offers several programs that are
designed to involve the community on various levels.
Contact the Education Department for more volunteer
opportunity information at Educ@gpz.org
or call (956) 548-9453. The following are just some
of the programs the Gladys Porter Zoo offers:
The Docent Council
Docents are volunteers who work at the Zoo. Each year,
approximately a dozen new volunteers join the docent
council, with the total number of active docents averaging
about 80 yearly. The docents first go through a rigorous
eight week training course that covers such subjects
as classification, taxonomy, zoo animal medicine,
zoo geography and animal behavior. Upon completion
of this training course, graduates are deemed qualified
"ambassadors of the Zoo."
Docents contribute to the Zoo in different
ways. They assist in the aviary and children's zoo,
work in the information booth, conduct tours, give
lectures and slide shows and help out with special
events. Although docents are required to volunteer
50 hours of work at the Zoo throughout the year, the
Gladys Porter Zoo docents each average over 100 hours
of volunteer service.
This unique program is designed for students in grades
8 - 12 to volunteer at the Zoo to gain valuable work
experience and learn responsibility. Teens work in
the Children's Zoo, the Education Department, the
Australian building, the clinic and the Herpetarium.
Teens must first apply to the program, and then approximately
30 teens are accepted to work each summer.