ROYAL OAK (CBS Detroit) – The Detroit Zoo is looking for a few good people who love penguins.
And, honestly — who doesn’t?
As the zoo prepares to open its new massive penguin habitat — the Polk Penguin Conservation Center — this spring, it’s looking to recruit “enthusiastic, friendly and passionate volunteers” to lend a hand at what will be the world’s largest penguin facility in the world.
In addition to the new 33,000-square-foot penguin center, housing 80 penguins of four different species, volunteers are needed in the Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life (polar bears), Australian Outback Adventure (kangaroos), Wildlife Interpretive Gallery and elsewhere around the 125-acre zoo.
Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, says that — when the penguin center opens in April — it’ll be the coolest place in town.
“There’s going to be a huge underwater viewing area, including walking through tunnels, where penguins will be flying over your head, flying under your feet. Penguins do fly under water,” he told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.
“We should see penguins in the water all the time. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Carter said the zoo will need to add to its ranks of 1,100 volunteers, some of which will be specially trained to answer visitors’ questions.
No experience is necessary, but volunteers must be 18 years or older to apply. It should also be noted that volunteers are not allowed to handle or feed the penguins or other animals (bummer).
“Certainly everyone will be talking about the amazing Polk Penguin Conservation Center, but not all volunteers will be working there,” said Volunteer Services Manager Linda Denomme. “From Bunnyville to Wild Lights, we expect to be busier than ever, and the anticipated increase in attendance this year and beyond makes all volunteer positions equally important.”
The first volunteer orientation session will be held on Saturday, March 5, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Detroit Zoo’s Ford Education Center; advance registration is required. Additional sessions are scheduled monthly through June.
For younger candidate, there’s a “Volunteen” program available, too. Students ages 15 to 17 can apply to become a member of the Zoo Corps to engage visitors in hands-on activities designed to enhance their understanding of wildlife and wild places.
In addition, teens ages 16 and 17 may apply for the Counselor-in-Training program to volunteer June 20 to Aug. 12 in Summer Safari camps, a program that allows students K-8 to discover the wonders of nature and wildlife at the Detroit Zoo. Counselors will interact with young campers while assisting with camp activities, games, crafts and tours.
Volunteen candidates have until April 1 to submit an application for Zoo Corps and Counselor-in-Training positions. An interview process and three-hour training session will follow.
Visit www.detroitzoo.org and click on the “Volunteer” link under “Support” for descriptions of Volunteer and Volunteen positions, orientation dates and details, and to download an application. For further information, call 248-541-5717 ext. 3802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.