Volunteer Management Committee

Volunteer Management Committee Mission

The AZA Volunteer Management Committee (VMC) promotes a dynamic vision of volunteers and interns as vital resources within AZA member institutions by advocating for increased volunteer engagement, providing professional development opportunities tailored for individuals working with volunteers within AZA, and facilitating communication and collaboration throughout AZA institutions. The VMC advances the mission of AZA by empowering volunteer management staff at member institutions to engage and mobilize a diverse and committed force of volunteers.

Volunteer Services Best Practices  

The Volunteer Management Committee has developed a series of Best Practices documents to give guidance to all AZA volunteer staff with providing meaningful and mission-related work to volunteers at their organizations.The topics covered are:

  • Animal Handling
  • Assignments
  • Communication
  • Conservation Internship Programs
  • Interpretation
  • On-boarding
  • Policies & Procedures
  • Recognition & Retention
  • Risk Management 
  • Teen Volunteers
  • Uniforms
  • Volunteer Management 

These documents are not intended to serve as ultimate authority; rather they are to be considered an umbrella of professional and suitable practices for structured and managed volunteer engagement throughout AZA. We anticipate periodic revisions to each document as we respond to our constantly changing audiences, communities and profession. 

Lace Garland, New England Aquarium
Andy Shucker, San Diego Zoo Safari Park 

Kelli Crawford, Greensboro Science Center
Kerrie Kovaleski, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Lisa Ostrego, John G. Shedd Aquarium

Laura Klopfer, Friends of the National Zoo  
Stacey Luhring, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Board Liaison
Elizabeth Whealy, Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History

AZA Staff Liaison
Amy Rutherford

Julie Bates, Dallas Zoo
James Bluher, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Linda Cairnes, Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium
Chris Corpus, Aquarium of the Pacific
Melissa Dude, The Florida Aquarium
Christine Eckles, Blank Park Zoo
Kimm Fox-Middleton, Oregon Zoo
Victoria Lambeth, North Carolina Zoo
Shaun Leonoff, Assiniboine Park Zoo
Kathleen Nichols, Brevard Zoo
Dan Radley, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Bricken Sparacino, Bronx Zoo
Cheri Vogel, Albuquerque BioPark

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