Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish use their sense of taste as a primary means to detecting food. Taste buds are found over the entire external surface of the fish, as well as inside the mouth, pharynx and gill arches.

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Volunteer at the Zoo

If you have some spare time, come spend it at the zoo. Volunteering at the zoo is a WILD experience! There are a number of different opportunities available:


Community Volunteers

Provide intermittent or occasional support for the zoo and its staff, programs, projects and events. No commitment to a specific number of volunteer hours is required; Volunteers receive as-needed, task-specific instructions, such as working a craft table, making phone calls, preparing mailings or assisting with catering for a meeting or event.

General Volunteers

Provide similar activities as above, but are scheduled on a regular basis; attend volunteer orientation and commit to 50 hours of volunteer service per year.

Education Volunteers

Perform services directly related to public education. Duties may include assisting with educational programs, conducting school tours and interpreting animal exhibits and/or behavior. May also perform General volunteer activities, as needed. Must attend volunteer orientation, complete 20 hours of training and commit to 50 hours of service per year, for a minimum of two years.

Teen Volunteers

Perform activities similar to General Volunteers. Teens must be 15 years of age and complete volunteer orientation. Teens who are 14 years of age may be considered if they have at least two references from people of authority, such as teachers, coaches, clergy, etc. Family members may not serve as references.

Zoo Ambassadors

Perform activities similar to General Volunteers. The Zoo Ambassador program is for children, ages 10 to 13, who must be accompanied by a parent. Volunteer orientation is required.

Office Volunteers

Specifically assist the administrative and keeper staff with office projects such as mailings, compiling statistics, filing, computer assistance, ordering uniforms and nametags, etc.


Committees vary, according to the needs of the zoo.

Photography Committee

Takes photos of animals, exhibits and events for zoo's files.

Gardening and Watering Group

Helps to make the Zoo a beautiful place to visit.

Puppet Committee

Provides puppet shows for birthday parties and events.

Fact Sheet Committee

Prepares animal information sheets for volunteers.

Volunteer Council

Provides leadership and direction in conjunction with the staff.

Volunteering at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo affects people in many positive ways!

"Since animals are my passion, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is the perfect place for me to spend my time. As an education volunteer, I have had the opportunity to do many things including leading tour groups, animal behavior and birth watches, being an education guide, animal handling, and participating in the "In the Wings" bird show. I am constantly learning new things which I can then share with visitors. Volunteering at the zoo is always interesting and rewarding, and the fact that I have been doing it for over 30 years is probably the best evidence of how much I enjoy it."
-Donna Moser, Education & General Volunteer

"At first I wasn't sure what to expect my "duties" would be as a volunteer. In the last two years I've found myself doing many very different and interesting things, from helping put the children's library together to doing birth watches for the golden lion tamarin and the elephant. Whether playing a character at Zoo Boo or Mrs. Santa at Christmas, the camaraderie of the volunteers is far more than I ever expected it would be. I enjoy working with all the people that make our zoo work- volunteers, administrators and staff. Because I like working with people and animals, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo is definitely the place for me to volunteer."
-Arlene Angello, Education & General Volunteer

Orientation & Volunteer Training

All volunteers must attend an orientation.

Upcoming 2015 training dates are as follows:

Tuesday, February 24, 6-7:30 p.m. - Click here to register.
Thursday, April 16, 6-7:30 p.m. - Click here to register.
Tuesday, September 15, 6-7:30 p.m. - Click here to register.
Thursday, November 12, 6-7:30 p.m. - Click here to register.

For more information, or to request information about an upcoming orientation session, contact Ellen Vaughn at (315) 435-8511 x112 or e-mail