WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is currently looking for volunteers interested in becoming a Docent at the Zoo.

Docents are volunteer educators who give educational talks, act as tour guides, and are stationed throughout the Zoo to provide information to visitors about the Zoo and its animal collection. This is a highly selective volunteer position and training is required.

“Our Docents help every visitor have an enjoyable and memorable experience at our zoo. Whether walking through our zoo grounds or making presentations in schools or at community events, our Docents are volunteer ambassadors who share their love and knowledge about animals and their habitats, and encourage the public to have respect for the environment,” DiVincenzo said. “If you love animals, we encourage you to attend the training course and become a Turtle Back Zoo Docent,” he added.

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New Docents must be at least 18 years old and complete a six-day course instructed by experienced TBZ staff. Training will begin on Sunday, February 14th and continue on Sundays through the end of March. There is a non-refundable fee of $25 which covers training materials and handouts.  The application for the class can be accessed athttp://turtlebackzoo.com/docent-volunteers/.

If interested, please contact the Zoo’s Volunteer Coordinator at tbzdocents@yahoo.com or call 973-731-5800, ext. 306 for more information.

Regular hours for Turtle Back Zoo are daily from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Regular admission during the day is $10 for children and senior citizens, $13 for adults and free for children under 2 years. For additional information, please call 973-731-5800 or visit www.essexcountynj.org.

Currently under construction is the Giraffe Exhibit, which will feature Masai and Reticulated giraffes. The habitat created for the giraffes will resemble three acres of the African Savannah and will have multiple viewing areas for the public, including areas where the public can view the giraffes feeding. A climate-controlled barn approximately 200-by-100-feet in size to house the giraffes during the winter will be attached to the exhibit. To make the exhibit visitor-friendly during the winter months, closed circuit cameras will be installed in the barn so the giraffes can be viewed on a video screen in the Zoo Café. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. Also underway is the construction of a new two-story cafeteria building, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.