Asheboro, NC — With the beginning of a new year, the North Carolina Zoo is offering a way to experience the zoo like never before--as a volunteer.

The annual volunteer recruitment campaign has begun with orientations beginning in February. Volunteers are the heart of many organizations and the N.C. Zoo is no different.  In 2013, zoo volunteers contributed nearly 40,000 hours to the park. Giving is not always measured by dollars and cents! While financial donations are imperative to most organizations, the time and talents of dedicated Volunteers is also quite valuable.

The zoo is seeking volunteers to serve as educators, gardeners, giraffe deck operators and zoo hosts as well as animal care givers at the zoo’s  wildlife rehabilitation center where volunteers care for native injured, orphaned and sick wildlife.

Youth may volunteer beginning at age 12 with a parent or legal guardian who also signs up as a Volunteer. Young people may volunteer independently at age 16 with parental consent. Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of 90 hours of service from April through October, although some positions are needed year-round. One-day service projects are also available for groups who are looking for unique volunteer opportunities.

There are many benefits to volunteering at the zoo, including behind-the-scenes tours, training, zoo discounts, meeting others who share similar passions, earning valuable service hours for college scholarships and service-based clubs or gaining job experience.

If you are looking for fun, creative and rewarding ways to give back to the community, volunteering at the zoo could be the answer. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the N.C. Zoo and to be notified of training dates, please visit the website and complete an online application. Interested individuals can also contact the Zoo’s Volunteer Coordinator Toy Jarrett at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.