I was thrilled to be accepted originally as a ‘Meet and Greet’ volunteer at Front of House. I thoroughly enjoy greeting visitors entering the Zoo for their fun packed family day out!
When our Volunteers’ Co-ordinator suggested volunteering as a Visitor Experience Guide with the Lower Vertebrates & Invertebrates Department, providing information on our animals and plants to our guests, my initial response was ‘Err nooo!! I don’t think so, I don’t like snakes and can’t even look at one on TV!’ In fact, I had never entered Crocodile Swamp or Reptile Tropics because of my fear…
Well, that cured my phobia! I can stand and look at them now – and I even touched a snake on a volunteer trip to Newquay Zoo – amazing, something I would never have envisaged doing!
I also volunteer as an Educational Clubs Support Volunteer with the Gibbon Club and Conservation in Action club (CIA). This role involves assisting the presenters with various themes; recently this has included creating enrichment for the tigers, maned wolves and mangrove monitor lizards and then watching these wonderful animals enjoy our efforts. Also, we have looked at ways to encourage native species into our gardens by making bug hotels and seed cakes for the birds around the Zoo.
The CIA group had an opportunity to create a promotional video focusing on conservation, featuring the charismatic macaques and an inspirational talk from Dr Andrew Bowkett (and invaluable advice and support from Ollie, the Digital Production Assistant). The group was also able to capture footage of local wildlife around the Zoo – fabulous!
These groups are not only exciting, fun and educational for the children, I am learning so much and having great fun – paints, papier mache, mess… What’s not to like?
Christmas is also a magical time at the Zoo and I am happy to volunteer on Front of House as one of Santa’s elves, greeting lucky children visiting Santa.
I have been asked why I volunteer. It’s a simple answer – I love nature, always have. I am doing my bit to aid the conservation of animals and give back to the local community. Socially it is a good way of meeting likeminded people who want to make a difference. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be volunteering in beautiful surroundings, with incredible animals and being part of a fascinating, inspiring team. Keep up the fabulous efforts, guys!
I would like thank everyone who has supported me. My background has always been in admin but now I have found another world, so I would like to thank Paignton Zoo for enriching MY life.
Gaynor Carter,
Meet and Greet / Guest Experience / Lemur Wood / Education Clubs Support Volunteer
Quotes Loads to see and do, for a full day out. Quotes