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John Ball Zoo

Ambassador Animal Coordinator

With oversight from the Education Program Manager, the Ambassador Animal Coordinator, will help develop animal handling protocols and lead training and evaluation of both staff and volunteers on approved protocols. This position will assist lead animal trainers from the Animal Department
in the operant conditioning of ambassador animals. 


  • Collaborates with the Education Program Manager and Animal Department to design, develop, implement, review and modify animal handling protocols.
  • Schedules program animals for education programs in accordance with the internal animal handling protocols and education program goals and objectives.
  • Collaborates to provide animal enrichment and operant conditioning activities for program animals to encourage natural behaviors, to condition animals to being handled, and to reduce animal stress during presentations.
  • Designs and implements training for staff and volunteers to handle program animals for interpretive education programs.
  • Implements quality assurance and quality control protocols for educational, interpretive and outreach programs.
  • Designs and implements interpretive education programs both on and off-site to youth, adults and families.
  • Assists with development of evaluation instruments and the analysis of data to assess the efficacy of programs and curricula in achieving educational goals and objectives.
Required SPECIALIZED Knowledge and/or Skills
  • Knowledge of the theory and principles of biology, zoology, botany, entomology, ecology and environmental science.
  • Knowledge of conservation and environmental education techniques.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of operant conditioning and training.
  • Knowledge of animal psychology and behavior, and ability to identify abnormal behaviors indicating stress, illness or other animal conditions requiring monitoring and attention.
  • Knowledge of educational assessment and evaluation tools and their application and interpretation.
  • Knowledge of interpretation and interpretive design.
  • Knowledge of safe animal handling and exhibit techniques.
  • Knowledge of safe and humane practices for restraining and transporting animals.
  • Knowledge of animal behavior in their natural habitat and in human care.
  • Ability to lead, motivate, and manage work teams to support organizational objectives and goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and show flexibility with daily responsibilities
  • Ability to interact positively with a wide array of individuals from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • Basic computer literacy and working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, desktop publishing, computer graphics, multimedia presentation and database applications.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communications skills, and presentation delivery ability.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Project)
  • Ability to learn and use with proficiency time and attendance and scheduling systems

Experience Required

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Zoology, Biology, Animal Husbandry, Ecology, Environmental Science, Science Education or closely related field Minimum 1 year related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Previous experience handling and training animals for education programs preferred.

How to Apply

John Ball Zoo
1300 W Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: 6163365062

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