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Guests of Volunteers:  Guests of Volunteers and family members are required to purchase admission and enter through the Front Gate. If guest accompanies volunteer in his/her assigned area individual must become a volunteer.

Name Tag:  Volunteers receive a clip on Photo ID Badge and a plastic pin on Name Tag. It is necessary to wear the LZG issued Name Tag while on duty.

Reassignment:  Occasionally a Volunteer may wish to be reassigned to a new position to gain a different experience within our facilities. The Volunteer should discuss this request with his/her supervisor and the Coordinator of Volunteers. Efforts will be made to accommodate individual preferences, but this may not always be possible. In most circumstances, Volunteers should work in their assigned area for a minimum of six months.

The need for Volunteers varies within each department. Efforts will be made to give all Volunteers their first choice and/or interesting assignments. Due to fluctuating area needs, this may result in discontinuing an assignment within a department. In this event, the Volunteer will confer with the Volunteer Office regarding a transfer to another department if a position is available.

Dismissal:  Volunteers are considered part of the LZG Staff and are expected to follow the established LZG policies and procedures as outlined in this handbook. Any major infraction or disregard for these policies and procedures will result in dismissal from the Volunteer Program.

Volunteers may also be dismissed for any of the following reasons: inconsistent attendance, not meeting Active Status requirements, poor treatment of guests, violation of the Substance Abuse Policy, endangerment of Volunteers (self included), Staff, guests, plants, or animals.

Telephone:  The telephone in your assigned area can be used for internal or local calls only. The phone is intended for emergencies and should not be abused by having long conversations. Pay phones are located at the Zoo entry plaza, beside the Gift Shop.

Personal Property:  Personal property is the responsibility of the Volunteer. Try to leave valuables at home or in your locked car.

Parking:  Volunteers park in the main parking lot.

Smoking Policy:  The Louisville Zoo has adopted a no smoking policy except in designated areas. Smoking will not be permitted in any LZG buildings or in public contact.

Assumption of Risk:  The Volunteer hereby assumes responsibility for lost property, physical injuries, and medical bills (except for activity that amounts to intentional and malicious actions of the employees of the Louisville Zoological Garden). LZG facilities contains animals, plants, and various rides. Volunteers may have the opportunity for close contact with various plants, animals, and environmental conditions, all of which can be unpredictable by nature. Volunteers may be volunteering “behind the scenes” under LZG staff supervision in specified areas during the course of assigned duties. Volunteers can inquire at any time about the nature of the work area(s), environmental conditions, safety and security procedures. In a Medical Emergency, the standards of the first aid procedures of the LZG will be followed which may include, but are not limited to first aid by an EMT-on-duty, contacting emergency medical personnel, emergency contact, and/or family physician.

Gift of Right of Publicity:  Volunteer irrevocably give, grant, and convey to the LZG, its successors, agents, and assigns, without compensation to the Volunteer from any party including the LZG, the absolute right and unrestricted permission to copyright and/or use and/or publish (1) names, (2) images or likeness on videotape, and (3) photographic pictures in which the Volunteer may be included, in whole or in part, on reproductions in color or in black and white, made through any media, in connection with photos or videotape taken at LZG facilities for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to the promotion of LZG facilities and programs. The Volunteer waives any right that to inspect or approve the finished product. The videotape, photographs, and negatives will be the sole property of LZG. This gift is binding on the Volunteers heirs, successors, and assigns.

Substance Abuse Policy:  The Louisville Zoological Garden recognizes that the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol can seriously impair an individual’s ability to perform safely and efficiently. Drug and alcohol use and abuse not only jeopardize the public’s and co-workers’ safety, they undermine the public’s confidence in the LZG. 

Because a drug or alcohol impaired Volunteer can pose a significant threat to the safety of the public and co-workers, as well as the Volunteer’s own safety, the LZG has established this policy as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain a drug and alcohol free workplace.

All LZG Staff are expected to report to work free of alcohol and illegal drugs and not to sell, distribute, dispense, possess, or use an illegal drug or alcohol or conspire to do so on LZG premises or during work time. Likewise, LZG Staff is expected not to misuse or abuse any prescription or nonprescription medications. The LZG looks to all Volunteers and Staff to ensure quality service to the public and to better the overall safety, health, productivity, and welfare of all. Volunteers and Staff are expected to cooperate in LZG efforts to enforce this policy and in any investigation of its violation. If a Volunteer suspects a violation of the Substance Abuse Policy, they should report it immediately to the Volunteer Office or Security.

Violations of this policy will result in immediate dismissal of the Volunteer Program.

Volunteer Uniform Policy:  The uniform policy has been established to assist guests with quick identification of LZG Staff and Volunteers, so as to provide assistance when needed. The uniform also assists other LZG Staff and security personnel in identifying individuals behind the scenes. For these reasons, it is important to always wear the uniform while performing duties in either the Zoo or the Gardens (unless otherwise specified). The basic Volunteer uniform is as follows:

  • LZG issued Volunteer shirt (to be purchased prior to Orientation) is to be worn tucked in.

  • Khaki pants/trousers/shorts/skirts are permitted (no jeans).

  • LGZ issued Name Tag or Photo ID Badge

  • Hats (if worn) should not promote any logo other than LZG facilities or it should not have any logo at all.

  • Shoes should be closed toed (tennis shoes, work boots, etc.).  No sandals.

  • In cooler weather, solid color, long sleeved shirts are permitted to be worn under the uniform shirt including sweat shirts, long sleeved t-shirts, or turtle necks.

  • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum as it may get snagged or lost while working.

  • Pierced ears are acceptable. If earrings are worn, they must be small enough and of a type not to be distracting or to create a safety hazard. No more than two earrings per ear are allowed.

  • Visible face or body piercing is not allowed.

  • Tattoos may not be visible to the public.

Volunteer Procedures: 

Signing In and Out/Volunteer Information Center:  All Volunteers should sign in at the beginning of their shift, and sign out at the end of their shift using the Volunteer time book.

Important reasons for signing in and maintaining Volunteer time records:

  • The hours worked are tabulated annually, and a figure reflecting the estimated monetary value of those hours appears in the annual report.

  • Records of hours in particular areas assist in evaluating specific Volunteer Programs and may be used in grant proposals to fund those programs.

  • They are used to provide data for annual Volunteer service awards and eligibility for specific benefits.

  • They provide verification of unpaid work experience that may be helpful when seeking employment and a reference is needed.

Media Inquiries:  Volunteers, like Staff, are not authorized to make statements to the media, officially or unofficially, at any time. This is solely the function of the Public Relations Department. Direct any members of the media to the Administration Building.

Louisville Zoo Responsibilities:  LZG staff is committed to preventing problems before they happen by identifying potential risks and developing a management plan to deal with them safely. With daily checks of equipment, enclosures, animals, etc., the staff works to provide a safe work environment. Staff will provide all information, direction, and training necessary to accomplish the tasks in which Volunteers are asked to participate.

Volunteer Responsibilities:  Volunteers are asked to cooperate with Staff and procedures as they have the training and background in LZG facilities. Volunteers are asked to take an active role in Volunteering safe and working smart. Report a potential problem when it surfaces rather than waiting until it becomes a full-blown problem. If a concern develops with a staff member, Volunteers should discuss the matter with the Coordinator of Volunteers.

Volunteers should maintain good physical condition and fitness. If a physical limitation develops, report it to the Staff Supervisor immediately. If the limitation is the result of an injury sustained while working for the LZG, report the incident to Volunteer Services. If medical assistance is required, report to the First Aid  in the Guest Services Building on the Front Plaza or find a staff member to assist. If the limitation has developed outside LZG facilities (at home, work, etc.), report it to the Staff Supervisor so a job is not assigned that will aggravate the condition.

Working Around Animals:  General Guidelines:

  • Never enter an animal holding area or exhibit without permission and the presence of a keeper from that area. Stay well away from animals unless given permission by a keeper. If the Volunteer is unsure if it is safe to enter an animal holding area, ask someone first. Assumptions can be dangerous.

  • Please do not take short cuts over or through landscaped areas to save steps or time. Stay on public walks and do not cross the fences or public barriers. Doing so could damage the horticulture in that area as well as put the Volunteer at risk. We want to protect our plant collection as well as the animals. Some exhibit barriers may not be clear due to our naturalistic exhibit concepts. If the public sees someone crossing barriers they may choose to do so as well.

  • The Zoo does not allow feeding of the animals by visitors or unauthorized staff. Volunteers can discourage guests from doing so by explaining that each animal is on a prescribed diet designed to keep them healthy. Refer the guest to the Boma Petting Zoo or Lorikeet Exhibit (when in season) for an animal encounter.

  • Be sure you do not run in animal areas, whether indoors or outdoors. Behind the scenes this can be especially dangerous as their may be water on the floor/ground. Animals may not be accustomed to a high level of activity behind the scenes.

  • In case of any animal emergency, injury, or concern, call an appropriate keeper or contact the Front Desk to radio an area keeper. Do not attempt to do anything yourself as keepers are trained to handle any situation that arises.

  • If you see a guest harming or acting improperly with animals, throwing things into exhibits, etc., notify appropriate staff. Volunteers are welcome to approach the guest, if comfortable doing so, and explain the danger of the guest’s action.

  • Please do not distract keepers while they are directly working with animals. Keepers are always willing to answer questions, however, refrain from asking when the keeper or animal could be at risk.

  • Stand in line for your turn for rides.

  • If animals are being walked on or along the road, stop and wait for directions signaled by the keeper in attendance.

  • If you have permission to drive a vehicle on any IZS service roads, drive slowly so as not to scare the animals. The speed limit is 15mph. If animals.

Hazardous Materials Overview

The LZG wants every Volunteer to know about any hazardous materials that might be encountered in his/her job:

  • Each Volunteer needs to be aware of hazardous material used in his/her work area, and about the protective equipment to use (such as face shields, masks, splash goggles, gloves, rubber boots, aprons, etc). Also in case of an accident, we want each Volunteer to know what to do to protect him/herself from hazardous materials and how to summon help.

  • Most Volunteers do not work with hazardous materials. Nevertheless, every Volunteer needs to know what hazardous materials are used at the Zoo. This knowledge can also apply to use of these or similar products away from the job.

  • Part of our hazardous material program includes Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). These are technical sheets providing complete information about each hazardous material. Be familiar with the MSDSs for materials used in your job and work area. Ask your supervisor
    where in your work area they are kept.

  • The LZG does not permit Volunteers to bring chemicals from home.

  • If you work with chemicals, learn emergency procedures, emergency telephone numbers, and how to read labels. If you transfer to another work area with different chemicals, learn these new procedures for those new chemicals

  • Your supervisor is directly responsible to help you learn about safety in your work area. This specifically includes working with hazardous Know if you work with hazardous materials.

Working with Chlorine:  Chlorine (usually as chlorine bleach or a diluted solution) is a commonly used chemical in the Zoo. It is a hazardous material and users must be cautious to prevent splashing or problems with fumes. Chlorine is generally considered as the most over-used and abused cleaning chemical in the USA.  Here are a few brief reminders about working with chlorine solutions:

  • When making a chlorine solution to use as a disinfectant, gently add the chlorine to the water, then gently mix the solutions. It is the adding of the water to the chlorine that leads to splashing the chlorine solution. Generally, a 1:10 chlorine to water solution (or 10%) is the recommended mix.

  • Use chorine solutions only in well-ventilated areas and avoid inhaling chlorine fumes.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): In cases of potentially prolonged use and contact with skin, use rubber gloves to help protect the hands from damage by chlorine solutions. Rinse the gloves with clean water after use and hang them to dry. If rinsing or scrubbing with chlorine or chlorine solutions on walls or ceilings, wear a rubber raincoat. Rinse the coat with clean water after use, and hang to dry. Also wear splash-resistant glasses or goggles when rinsing or scrubbing with chlorine solutions.

Overview to Emergency and Security Procedures

General Procedures

First Aid

  • Some LZG Staff are trained in basic First Aid and CPR. Call or radio Guest Services for on ground emergencies (-604). They will contact EMTs. We call 9-1-1 for emergency and more serious treatment needs.

  • Each treatment is documented by an Accident Report and/or an Incident Report. Volunteer injuries are to be reported to Volunteer Services for handling under Worker’s Compensation insurance guidelines.

Lost and Found

  • Lost and Found items are handled by the Receptionist. Please take to Receptionist area. There are specific laws governing lost property. Do not tell the “finder” they can have an article if it is unclaimed.

Lost Child Protocol

  • At facilities as large as those of the LZG, getting separated from one’s group sometimes happens. For both the child and the parent/guardian, this can be a frightening experience. If a Volunteer locates a lost child, here are a few steps to appropriately deal with the situation:

  • In a calm and friendly manner, identify yourself and tell the child that you work here (point to your uniform shirt logo).

  • Ask if they are OK. If they say, “No,” ask if they are lost. Take child to a staff person immediately.

  • If close to Admissions, take the child to the Receptionist in the Administration Building.

Do’s and Don’ts when handling a lost child situation:


  • Stay calm positive and upbeat This will keep the child calm

  • Hold the child’s hand, but only if the child accepts

  • Ask about the child’s likes/dislikes and talk about them, (favorite animal, etc.) this will keep the child’s mind off the situation

  • Always remain in sight of the public


  • Touch the child anywhere other than the hands and shoulders

  • Pick up or carry the child

  • Give out any food/candy/drink

  • Leave the child unattended for any reason

  • Relinquish custody of the child without confirmation by both guardian & child

How to give a description of a missing person:  A Volunteer may also encounter the parent/guardian of a lost child. In a missing person situation it is important to always remain professional, calm, and reassuring. If contacting Front Desk or Guest Services by radio or phone, you will be asked to give a physical description of the child. Be aware of the following:

  • Name

  • Origin (Do not assume that the child is the same race
    of the Parent, Guardian, or Group Leader)

  • Sex

  • Age

  • Location where they were last seen

Physical Description from top to bottom: 

  • Height

  • Body Build

  • Hair (Color/Style/Hat)

  • Shirt/Jacket (Color/Logo/Style)

  • Pants/Shorts/Skirt (Color/Style)

  • Shoes (Color/Brand/Style)

  • Anything else that would be helpful: