As a charity, volunteers provide vital support to the life of the zoo. Our award-winning volunteers contribute to our success by supporting the zoo’s education, scientific and conservation mission.
Volunteers are part of the Conservation Education and Engagement team, and they play an essential role in supporting the team to achieve the goals of the Conservation Masterplan.
We engage with up to 250 volunteers every year through various roles and programmes; they provide thousands of volunteer hours and a wealth of skills and experience to support our work.
Volunteers advocate for wildlife and conservation through volunteering in the zoo, engaging visitors through unique educational experiences and fantastic customer service. Volunteers connect visitors with nature, and Chester Zoo, empowering visitors to Act for Wildlife through living more sustainably and creating habitats for native wildlife. Volunteers also support activities and campaigns such as Memory Cafe, Hedgehog Watch, Micro-Volunteering and our work with schools. We’re working to develop a programme of community volunteering. Volunteers benefit from comprehensive training and induction tailored to their roles to support them to feel confident and knowledgeable when engaging with visitors. Our research reveals the positive self-reported impacts of volunteering in zoological collections. Through volunteering, volunteers can meet new people, work on new challenges, have fun, help others, benefit from training, and enhance their wellbeing and gain experience and skills for potential employment and self-development.
Visitor Engagement Volunteer
Visitor Engagement Volunteers help visitors to have a world-class day out, providing orientation support, excellent customer service and playful interactions with younger visitors. They are positioned at habitats to help visitors understand zoo species and the conservation work we do to protect them.
Volunteers support visitors to understand our key conservation campaigns and ways to make a positive difference to wildlife through actions such as choosing sustainable palm oil products in their shopping. Visitor Engagement Volunteers sometimes use education resources such as tiger claws, smell pots and reticulated python skins to engage with visitors.
Every year, we deliver two volunteering schemes for young people to complete the volunteering element of their bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Young people participate in skills masterclasses and training to support them in engaging with zoo guests and creating conservation campaigns or projects to benefit their peers or our learning programmes.
We develop tailored volunteering schemes for youth organisations and groups. We provide short-term volunteering and learning experiences for young people aged 16-18. Our opportunities are co-designed with the programme participants or referring youth organisations.
We provide inclusive volunteering opportunities through our supported volunteering opportunities. We understand that people can face barriers to volunteering due to physical or learning disabilities and mental health conditions. Support Volunteers empower people to meet their full potential as volunteers, supporting them to connect with our community of staff, volunteers and visitors. Support Volunteers act as a mentor, encouraging volunteers to provide assistance or education to guests.
Youth Champion Volunteers
Youth Champion Volunteers offer supervision and encouragement to Youth Volunteers or young people participating in the Duke of Edinburgh volunteering scheme. Youth Champion Volunteers support youth volunteers to engage with zoo visitors and make the most out of their volunteering experience.
Our education programme provides schools with the opportunity to combine their zoo visit with inspiring classroom workshops with the conservation education team and supporting volunteers. Volunteers guide school groups from the zoo entrance to the classrooms and help learners understand the workshops, artefacts and education resources. Our conservation education team also deliver conservation workshops to schools in the North West. Education Volunteers work closely with the education team to provide exciting and informative learning experiences.
We offer volunteers various ways to contribute their skills to Chester Zoo’s work in the comfort of their own homes. Micro-volunteering activities are usually short-term activities such as writing subtitles for education resources, fact-checking resources or participating in research. Some volunteers gain micro-volunteering hours by building new habitats for birds and hedgehogs or monitoring and recording local wildlife. Micro volunteering offers a sustainable way for volunteers to contribute to our mission as it reduces the need to travel to the zoo to volunteer. We’re looking for volunteers to participate in our latest micro-volunteering opportunity, Chester Zoo’s Hedgehog Watch! Visit Hedgehog Watch for more information on how you can take part.
Volunteering with children and young people
Volunteers work closely with the zoo ranger team to deliver fun and engaging workshops, clubs and playful experiences for children and young people. Helping children to understand wildlife through play, craft and educational activities in the zoo, at our nature reserve or woodlands.
Nature Reserve Volunteers
Chester Zoo’s nature reserve is a designated wildlife site, home to a variety of local wildlife. Volunteers support the field programmes team to protect birds at the reserve by looking after the bird feeders and monitoring visiting wildlife.
Current Volunteering Opportunities
We advertise volunteering opportunities and open days on our volunteer recruitment page; please visit the page for more information.
(We don’t have any animal section volunteer roles, and volunteering cannot be used as an industrial placement).
For information about Chester Zoo’s placements and internships please visit the page.
Join our campaigns
We are all conservationists! Our campaigns give you the chance make a real difference to wildlife. Together we are a force to be reckoned with.
Be inspired by others and let us know how you have taken ACTION FOR WILDLIFE from home or in your community, visit our Community Hub.
Would you like to get involved in a NEW and EXCITING Citizen Science project all about our LOCAL garden wildlife?
We’re looking for volunteers to participate in Chester Zoo’s Hedgehog Watch! Visit Hedgehog Watch for more information on how you can take part.
Become a Corporate Partner
Join our community of organisations making a difference for endangered species!
What else can I do to help?
By becoming a member with Chester Zoo, you are helping us to carry on our conservation work to protect our planet’s wildlife. Our dedicated conservation team works tirelessly to PROTECT all our planet’s wonderful species, but we can’t do it alone. When you take out a membership with Chester Zoo, it allows us to carry on our conservation work here at the zoo, as well as all around the world! There are countless benefits to becoming a member with Chester Zoo – not only for our members, but for the animals too.