Docent Qualifications, Skills, & Abilities: Docents are responsible for leading programs on-site. This primarily involves Private Tours and Endangered Species Tours, but additional training can be completed to also lead field trips as well as Cub Scout, Girl Scout, and Scouts BSA programs.
This position requires the ability to lead guests on a ~1 mile tour on various uneven surfaces, including pavement and gravel, while also talking and answering questions. A significant amount of information about the Endangered Wolf Center, the species cared for, and the individual animals will need to be learned in order to lead these programs. Fluency in an additional language is a bonus but is not required.
Minimum age requirement: 18 years old
Time Commitment & Scheduling: Docents must commit to at least 12 months with a minimum of 37 hours of service per year. Docents opportunities are available year round beginning at 9am each day with the last tour usually ending around 3:30pm. Docents may sign up for one or more programs each day. (No on-site programs are run on Tuesdays.)
Volunteer Screening Process: Those interested in volunteering must complete a volunteer application. After an interview, potential volunteers must provide proof of being up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, including initial doses (1- or 2-dose varieties) and all eligible boosters, and may need to pass a background check.
Volunteer Supervision: Docents report directly to the Education Manager, though other Education staff members may participate in training, supervision, and assisting with programs.
Volunteer Training Process: Those chosen to become Docents must attend one of the quarterly Volunteer Orientation Days. Upon completion, they may begin shadowing tours, during which they will observe a certified Docent or staff member lead the program, learn the general flow of tours, and hear common questions from guests. At least six hours of shadowing must be completed before beginning the co-leading process. Co-leading entails partnering with a certified Docent or staff member to lead a program, gaining experience while having someone there to assist if there are any questions or concerns. At least 10 hours of co-leading must be completed before requesting certification testing. To complete the certification process, potential Docents must pass an online exam as well as be shadowed by a staff member on a tour, who will make sure all information presented to guests is accurate and complete.
Newly certified Docents will be shadowed by a staff member at the three- and six-month points to verify consistent messaging. Afterward, these reviews will be completed yearly. A self assessment will also be completed at this time. At least two continuing training courses as well as the Docent certification test must be completed online each year to maintain Docent status. If a volunteer has limited access to the internet, printed copies of training materials can be provided upon request.
Personal Appearance/Dress Code: Docents will be provided a blue Endangered Wolf Center t-shirt and a name tag that they must wear anytime they are leading a program. Additional shirts are available for purchase. If 75 hours of volunteer service is completed during the course of one year, a blue Endangered Wolf Center polo will be available for purchase, which may be worn instead of the t-shirt Docents are also required to wear black or khaki pants and closed-toe shoes. Shorts may be worn on warm days, provided they are as long or longer than mid-thigh. Long sleeves may be worn under uniform shirts and jackets, coats, and vests may be worn as long as they are plain and do not contain wording (small, unobtrusive brand logos acceptable). Endangered Wolf Center branded jackets are acceptable. Plain or Endangered Wolf Center hats may be worn as long as they do not detract from the guests' experience.
Docents act as representatives to the public. It is the policy of the Endangered Wolf Center that Docents maintain a level of personal hygiene while performing their appointed duties. Offensive odors and disheveled appearance may lower the visitors' experience. A Docent who does not meet these requirements may be subject to disciplinary action, which may prohibit them from leading programs or attending special events and fundraisers.