Who are we?
The word ‘Docent’ is derived from the Latin word ‘docere’ which means to teach.
As part of the zoo community, Docents are enthusiastic, reliable people who provide a wide range of service through their expertise and outstanding customer service helping achieve the Zoo’s objectives and mission. Ongoing Training is provided and required so that Docents are knowledgeable on a wide range of related topics and issues.
Role and Commitment
Docents work as part of a valuable team, so it is vital we have volunteers who can be depended upon to fulfil their minimum two duty days per month, working until 3 pm. A good level of physical fitness is also required, as a docent’s duty day involves a lot of walking around the zoo assisting visitors.
PZDA Information Day
Once a year, the Docent Association holds a free 2 hour information morning at Perth Zoo to explain the role of docents (zoo guides) and the duties they perform. The next one will be held in April 2019 and includes the information session and a 45 minute guided tour of Perth Zoo with one of the Docents. Please check below for the exact date.
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A Day in the Life of a Docent
Each morning the ‘Duty Captain’ organises and allocates duties for the Docent team on that day. Any relevant news and new information is shared amongst the group to ensure the day runs smoothly.
The information centre is located within the Zoo grounds and docents are located there from 9am – 3pm every day, providing visitors with a variety of information, helping with directions as well as taking bookings for the Zebra Car Tours.
Zebra car Tour
Zebra Car Tours are conducted by Docents from 10am – 2:00pm. These are booked at the Information Centre for a minimum of 1 hour and are paid for per person.
Giraffe Eye to Eye
During these 15 minute sessions Docents offer information about the animals in the exhibit and instruct and assist visitors with their Giraffe Eye to Eye experience.
One Docent conducts a walking tour in the morning and another will take the tour in the afternoon each day. The tours, which take about 45 minutes to an hour, are on a specific section of the Zoo that varies each day.
Docents are rostered on duty 2 days a month and either rotate through various areas providing visitors with information on the animals and the flora, helping with directions and with planning their day out at Perth Zoo or they may be required perform more specific duties described above. All of these duties are part of a “Day in the Life” of a Docent.
People care about animal conservation when they believe that animals are worthwhile.
The PZDA Training Course
Like Docents, trainee guides must be dedicated, outgoing people who enjoy interacting with the public. They also need excellent communication and people skills. The Perth Zoo Docent Training course is structured to provide the information required and help people to develop the communication skills required.
Although exhilarating and interesting, the course is intensive. The 5 hour sessions run over 10 consecutive Saturdays and attendance is mandatory. At the end of the 10 weeks, successful trainees will be on probation for another two months whilst completing duties alongside a “Buddy” Docent.
As one of the main duties of a docent is to provide information and tours for Zoo visitors, tour guiding skills form a major component of the course. During the 10 week course, trainee docents must write and present three talks, which will be assessed to determine if they have reached the required standard. Final acceptance into the Perth Zoo Docent Association is subject to successful completion of the training course and the 2-month probationary period with graduation at the end of August. Rostered duties then commence from the 1st of September, with ongoing Training sessions offered on specific subjects throughout the year.
If you are interested in applying please fill out the form below – the 2019 Docent Orientation Day will be on the 6th April 2019 at the Zoo.