The National Aviary is America's only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh's historic North Side, the National Aviary is home to a diverse collection of more than 400 birds from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. In our large walk-through exhibits, visitors get up close and personal with our free-flying flock. Through our staff and volunteer-led daily programs, guests learn the importance of avian life in the natural world.
If you would like to help inspire a respect of nature through an appreciation of birds, consider joining our team of dedicated volunteers!
Adult Volunteer Program
Nearly all of our volunteers begin as daily volunteers. Our front line informal educators act as exhibit interpreters by interacting with Aviary guests to:
- Provide information about our birds (and mammals!)
- Provide assistance in locating and understanding exhibits
- Staff the Lorikeet Exhibit during public feedings
- Give guided tours
- Recommend shows and interactive experiences
- Lead early learner programs
- Assist staff with daily interactive feedings in the Wetlands and Penguin Point
- Lead activity-based tours for school groups
- Assist educators during outreach programs
- Help in the kitchen and with the daily bird counts
Other opportunities include:
- Visitor sevices
- Special events
- Neighborhood Nest Watch (seasonal)
Adult volunteer applicants must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Attend a Volunteer Opportunities meeting which includes a short interview.
- Have a clear criminal background check and child abuse history.
- Enjoy interacting with the general public.
- Attend new Volunteer Orientation.
- Attend at least six (6) of 12 Saturday monthly meetings per year.
- Commit to a minimum of 100 hours of service per year. (This equals two four-hour shift per month.)
- Commit to a regular monthly schedule.
Acceptance in to the program is based on interviews, availability and compatibility of interests.
A daily volunteer may decide to move on to the next level of volunteerism – education. Education volunteers educate school children and the general public about our collection in a more formal way. These volunteers receive special training beyond that required of daily volunteers. With more extensive training, they are able to assist with on-site and off-site education programs for both children and adults. Education volunteers also staff interactive experiences for our guests, like the Penguin encounter.
Daily volunteers may be eligble to train as Education volunteers and handle birds in our Education collection after 100 hours of continuous service as a National Aviary volunteer in good standing.
Other volunteer opportunities may be available in the main office, helping with special events and birthday parties. Details are discussed in the Volunteer Opportunities meeting.
How to become a volunteer at the National Aviary:
1) Learn about volunteering at the National Aviary by attending our next Volunteer Opportunities meeting! In 2014, our Volunteer Opportunities will be Saturday, February 1st and Saturday, October 4th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.
Contact Tammy Frech, Education Manager at 412-258-2455 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
2) Complete a volunteer application at the Volunteer Opportunities meeting.
The application includes the authorizations for your criminal record and child abuse investigations. We will need the background investigation authorization and the ORIGINAL child abuse investigation authorization back for processing. We must have satisfactory clearances on both of these investigations in order for you to volunteer at the National Aviary. Please note that all investigations are paid for and submitted by the National Aviary once you have satisfactorily completed step three.
3) Interview with National Aviary staff and volunteer leaders.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and many skill sets needed to effectively run our Aviary programs. This interview helps us to assess your interests and compatibility with our expected needs, along with your schedule of availability.
4) Attend the National Aviary’s formal Volunteer Orientation and Training Programs (February 22nd and November 1st). You may be invited after a satisfactory criminal records check.
These meetings are a requisite prior to your first volunteer experience at the Aviary.
Acceptance into the National Aviary’ Volunteer Program is dependent upon satisfactory completion of all four steps as determined by the National Aviary. Initial and ongoing volunteer status is always at the sole discretion of the National Aviary of Pittsburgh, Inc.
Teen Volunteer Program
The teen volunteer program is open to students who will be 14-17 on June 1, 2014. Teens typically volunteer one day a week during summer break. They serve as docents, summer camp assistants and do some cleaning but do not have direct contact with the birds during their first season. Summer camp assistants will be assigned to work one full week of camp. Applications are sent out in late March or early April.
Currently, we only accept teen volunteers to start in the summer. An informational meeting will be held on Saturday, June 7th. Volunteers who are accepted into the program must attend Teen Volunteer Orientation On June 20th. If you are interested in becoming a teen volunteer, please request an application. email@example.com