Mike M. on Roof

Public Programs Volunteers are the Academy’s front-line educators, and one of the many important, public faces of this institution. Scroll down to read about maximizing your experience!

  • Mission Statement
  • Public Programs Volunteer Handbook
  • Benefits
  • TOURisms
  • Community


Mission Statement

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The mission of the Public Programs Volunteer Program is to support the Academy through informal and interactive educational engagement with Academy guests that inspires curiosity, learning, and action based on scientific knowledge.

Volunteers accomplish this mission by engaging guests with conversations and hands-on experiences that educate and excite them, using authentic scientific information consistent with Academy main messages and goals.


Public Programs Volunteer Handbook

PP Volunteer Handbook

This handbook is designed to be a “one-stop shop,” where all Public Programs volunteers can get the information they need, learn about ways to broaden their experience, gain an understanding of the various roles of volunteers on the public floor, and ensure everyone in Public Programs is on the same page. The newly updated Public Programs Volunteer Handbook contains:

  • The same information as the 2017 Docent Program Policies and Procedures Manual
  • New information and unique policies and procedures created for our new areas of service
  • A generous helping of Academy wide policies that both volunteers and staff are asked to abide by

Click here to access the Public Programs Volunteer Handbook



Geology Picture
  • Buying discounted tickets: click here
  • Discounts using your badge: click here
    • 20% off at the Academy Cafe and Terrace



TOURisms is a quarterly newsletter -- circulating since March 1970 -- written by docents. Contact the TOURisms Editor with your suggestions.


Community: DTLs


Daily Team Leaders (DTLs) have many jobs: organize shifts, coordinate pre-shift, mentor, arrange shadow sessions, and communicate. Any docent with one year of experience can become a DTL. If interested, contact Judy Clarke (DTL Team Lead), or Rosie Mangan.

Important DTL Documents:


Community: Volunteer Leadership Teams

Interested in volunteering behind-the-scenes in Public Programs? We have 12 Volunteer Leadership Teams that work on a variety of projects such as volunteer recruitment, training, on-boarding, community building, education, effective communication, and taking care of our materials and props.

Volunteer Teams:

  • Communications
    • Provide supplementary avenues of volunteer-to-volunteer communication 
  • Daily Team Leaders (DTLs)
    • Enhance the functioning of DTLs as shift planners and public floor leaders
    • Provide opportunities to address DTL issues through semi-annual meetings
    • Goals: Keep DTL morale high; provide a reliable communication channel to staff
  • Engagement Materials 
    • Promote the use of materials in public floor engagements
    • Offer guidance to docents, special event volunteers, and others on using materials
  • Enrichment 
    • Provide volunteers with enrichment opportunities (presentations, field trips, special opportunities) both at the Academy and off-site
  • Hospitality 
    • Develop social activities that foster camaraderie and strengthen morale
  • IT 
    • Develop uses for iPads, and explore other ways that technology can assist in moving our mission forward
  • Live Animal Program 
    • To support the Live Animal Program by assisting the Volunteer Operations Coordinator in providing Live Animal training, peer to peer support, administrative assistance, mentoring, and other assistance as requested, that helps ensure AZA best practice in our Live Animal Program
  • Mentors and Advisers 
    • Provide knowledgeable, friendly, and professional mentors and advisors to all new docent volunteers
  • Public Programs Members At Large 
    • Peer to peer communication about the Leadership team, and to act as a voice for smaller volunteer groups within public programs
  • Recruiting Projects 
    • Recognize personal and professional contributions of volunteers
  • Recognition 
    • Support Public Programs Volunteers staff in identifying recruiting opportunities, and planning and supporting recruitment efforts
  • Training
    • Assisting the Training and Education Coordinator in developing and reviewing training materials, and other training related needs as requested

If you are a veteran docent and are interested in joining one of these teams, email us at docent@calacademy.org!