We’re celebrating National Volunteers’ Week

At Bristol Zoo, we have 267 weekly volunteers that help out across 14 different roles around our Clifton site. From animal keepers, rangers and animal discovery volunteers to gardeners, children’s craft and our Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project.

The Zoo simply wouldn’t be the same without our fantastic team of volunteers.

National volunteers’ week is a great chance to reflect on the invaluable impact volunteers can have on an organisation and we appreciate the time, passion and weekly support we receive from our dedicated team. We would like to send a sincere thank you each and every one of our volunteers for their continued commitment and support as we look to continue our mission of saving wildlife together.


Some 2018 highlights include:

·    Volunteers donated approximately 34,520 hours of service across the year.

·    Our animal discovery volunteers delivered 1,089 animal encounter shows, engaging with roughly 21,000 guests.

·    Our outreach volunteers attended 41 community outreach visits across Bristol, reaching around 4,500 people.

·    Volunteer rangers engaged with over 100,000 guests around the site.

·    Children’s craft volunteers painted 8,382 faces, raising important funds towards our conservation work.

·    Our 39 volunteer animal keepers assisted staff with the daily husbandry and enrichment of our fantastic animal collection.

·    Our wonderful 12 gardens volunteers helped us achieve our 18th consecutive Bristol in Bloom award and supported fantastic initiatives such as the Bristol Community Plant Project.


Meet some of our volunteers:

Osh Rowan – Ranger volunteer

Osh has been volunteering as a ranger since February 2017 and can be regularly found engaging with visitors in the Butterfly Forest, the Gorilla House and the Lemur Walkthrough. Away from the Zoo, Osh is a professional mural artist and, at the start of this year, he kindly offered to paint our activity centre walls in a child friendly jungle theme. It’s worth coming along to the activity centre (located in the centre of the Zoo) just to see his amazing artwork!

Osh said: “ The chance to spend time with the Zoo’s amazing animal collection, sharing these experiences with visitors and being able to improve the visitor experience is hugely rewarding. It’s great to way to meet interesting people, learn new things and a welcome break from the studio!”. 

Gina Jarman – Animal discovery, children’s craft and aquarium keeper volunteer

Gina started as an animal discovery volunteer in 2016, looking to gain experience before starting her Zoology degree at Reading University the following year. Gina quickly got to grips with animal husbandry for our volunteer animal collection, delivering animal encounters and helping with face painting in our activity centre. Gina has now finished her second year at Reading and spends each holiday back here at Bristol Zoo (including being a volunteer elf at Christmas!). She also went one step further last summer by volunteering an extra day on the Aquarium team to build up her skillset.

Gina says “I enjoy volunteering even more than I expected to – it’s really improved my public speaking skills which will be useful in the future. The people are really nice and I very much feel part of the team.”

Brian Smith – Ranger volunteer 

Brian is a former engineer who has been volunteering at Bristol Zoo for 8 years and previously volunteered with the salvation army. Brian volunteers twice a week as a ranger, but also helps us with our community outreach and can often be seen in a big red suit in December.

He said “When I retired I was looking for something different and fun to do in my spare time. I have lived in Bristol all my life and have always visited the Zoo. The experience has been great. Not only do I get to spend time with some amazing animals and learn something new, but I’ve made new friends too.”

Edan Webster – Volunteer reptile keeper

Edan started as a volunteer reptile keeper in February 2018 with a passion for all things cold blooded. Having looked after reptiles of her own, Edan was keen to learn more about the Zoo’s reptile collection and husbandry care. You can find Edan clearing up after our Aldabra giant tortoises (and other amazing reptiles) each Wednesday.

Edan Said: "I love volunteering at Bristol Zoo - I meet so many different people and it's a great learning experience! Outside of this I am researching gender and sexuality law so very different and it's great to have a day to focus on some thing completely different and unique."

Many thanks to all our wonderful volunteers – you’re an inspiration to us all!

Interested in volunteering with us? Find out more.


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