Applications for Docent Volunteers due July 22, 2016, at 5 p.m.
Docent Job Description (PDF)
18 and older
Minimum time commitment:
60 hours a year
Phase I: Meet on Saturday for 12 weeks from August-December.
- Learn about habitats, ecology, conservation, basic biology, and the natural history of species at the ABQ BioPark.
- Attendance is required.
Phase II: Two Saturday classes in January.
- Learn different teaching strategies, how to use biofacts and logistics of volunteering at the BioPark.
Final Exam: Must be passed and can be retaken, if necessary. Staff and experienced docents provide coaching and support.
Classes are on Saturdays in even years and Thursdays in odd years. All 2017 Docent Training classes will meet on Thursdays.
For more information, email [email protected] or contact BioPark Education at 505-848-7180.
Volunteer teachers, called docents, teach about the diversity and interdependence of life and inspire a sense of stewardship for the earth.
Docents undergo a 12 week training to become volunteer teachers at the ABQ BioPark Zoo, Aquarium or Botanic Garden. They introduce visitors to the amazing diversity of life, help them see how everything is connected and encourage everyday conservation.
- Share favorite parts of the BioPark through guided tours or informal mini-tours.
- Help visitors explore nature using exhibits and hands-on biofacts such as education animals, animal pelts, shark skin, urchin spines, tree rings or insect specimens.
- Take the BioPark on the road! Visit local classrooms through outreach programs like the BioVan.
- Get free regular admission to the BioPark facilities and the inside scoop on new exhibits.
- Attend continuing education classes led by experts in zoology, botany, marine biology, veterinary medicine, ecology and other areas of science.
Download a Docent Job Description for full information about training, volunteer benefits and what to expect.
Zoo Docent Duties
- Travel around New Mexico on the Zoo To You van teaching about animals and conservation.
- Introduce Albuquerque-area children and adults to the animal kingdom through local outreach programs.
- Walk a llamas, alpacas or a porcupine, and give Zoo visitors the chance to meet them up close! A variety of birds and small mammals are also available for on-grounds Discovery Stations.
Garden Docent Duties
- Introduce visitors to the flora of Baja, South Africa, Chile or Greece inside the Desert and Mediterranean Conservatories.
- Answer the question, "Why do we need plants?" and teach about plants that provide food, shelter, clothing and medicine. Teach about the interdependence of life and the many animals (from bees to butterflies to bullfrogs) that live in gardens.
- Get your hands dirty! Involve visitors in hands-on gardening experiences.
- Travel through time with visitors at the 1920s-1930s era Heritage Farm. Demonstrate wool working, quilting, canning and cooking.
- Teach about invertebrates using butterflies, millipedes, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and scorpions.
Aquarium Docent Duties
- Reveal our connections to the sea. New Mexico may be landlocked, but you can teach Aquarium visitors about how we affect the health of the ocean and how its health affects us.
- Explore river, salt marsh, coral reef and open ocean habitats and share with visitors along the way.
- Give visitors hands-on experiences they won't forget at the Touchpool and Shark & Ray Encounter.
- Narrate as divers feed animals and clean the Shark and Coral Reef Tanks. Share information about sharks, eels, stingrays, porcupine fish and more!
Docents wear a printed fabric vest worn with uniform colored shirts/blouses and pants/shorts/skirts. Uniform colors include black, brown, tan and white. An identification badge and nametag must also be worn with the uniform.
Upon completion of the training, docents are given an identification badge, which allows free regular admission to all BioPark facilities (Zoo, Aquarium and Botanic Garden). Volunteers can receive a discount at food concessions and gift stores with their valid Education Volunteer ID during regular operating hours. Volunteers are also awarded recognition items for their service, offered discounts to all fee-based BioPark Education programs and invited to special volunteer-only events.