Getting to "Hands On" at the Zoo

5 Apr 2019 | Volunteer Stories

Libby Manning is a volunteer at Auckland Zoo. She is a graduate of the Tuatara Club, which is a 6 months programme for young volunteers, 15-17 years, to learn about the zoo before they are then able to act as Visitor guides and assist with other Zoo activities in a more 'hands on' role. Here is her story.

"A friend who had been a volunteer suggested I try it. I have always liked animals and thought it would be a fun experience. I have helped with collecting for Guide Dogs as well.

Next year I am doing a Zoology and Ecology degree at Otago University so thought it would be useful.

The Tuatara Club is focussed around New Zealand animals and talking about behavioural enrichment. After 6 months I graduated and now have a more hands on role.

We have a lot of people interaction, talking/ educating and guiding when necessary.

Each time we come we are assigned to various areas of the zoo and this gives us an opportunity to learn more about the different animals.

They like us to volunteer one day every 2 weeks although it is flexible, as we have a choice of days, either a Saturday or Sunday.

It is definitely not a ‘no rewards’ experience. You have the opportunity to meet new people, it boosts your confidence (in talking with people) and you feel you are contributing.

It is varied and definitely stops you staying at home all weekend."

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