Rachel L. has been a standout member of the Greensboro Science Center volunteer family since 2016. “I have been volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center for about four years, since I was thirteen. I started out as a Teacher’s Assistant for summer camps, which I have done every summer since. Then, I became an Exhibit Guide for a school year. Finally, once I turned fifteen,” she continued, “I became a Zoo Docent, and I am now cross-trained as an Aquarium Docent. I try to volunteer as much as I can, and try to do at least one shift every weekend, resulting in about 20 to 25 hours per month.”
It may be surprising that a teenager would voluntarily give so much of her free time to educate her community about science and conservation, but Rachel affirms her decision, stating, “I love volunteering at the Greensboro Science Center because working with people and animals is energizing. I finish every shift knowing that I’ve impacted several visitors’ experiences and that I might have told someone a cool fact that he or she wouldn’t have known otherwise. Education is important for conservation, and I thoroughly enjoy being able to spread information and conservation messages. I love seeing peoples’ expressions when I tell them surprising facts, like that Komodo dragons can eat animals as large as water buffaloes. It’s also fun seeing kids’ reactions when they’re finally able to touch a stingray in the touch tank, or when they’re face-to-face with an animal they had never seen before.”
Rachel has advanced into two of our upper level programs for Docents – the Animal Encounter Team and the Tier 2 program. In those roles, she is getting to work alongside our staff to learn how to prepare diets for our animals and to handle our ambassador animals in the zoo. Individuals who are interested in our advanced programs, like the Tier 2 program, must be active Docents who have volunteered in either our Aquarium or Zoo Docent programs for at least six months, exceeded the minimum monthly shift requirements, applied for the program, and interviewed with animal staff.
Here at the Greensboro Science Center, we enjoy being able to brag about our amazing volunteers, like Rachel, who dedicate their efforts to make a positive impact, not just within our organization, but in the community. Rachel shares, “I love being a part of an organization that’s so concerned with the welfare of animals and is so involved with research and conservation. I hope to continue to volunteer at the Greensboro Science Center as much as I can!”
We are happy to have Rachel with us again this summer for her fourth year as a Teacher’s Assistant. She is a great role model for our campers and an incredible helper to our teachers. Rachel has already volunteered almost 475 hours with us. We’re excited to present her with her 500-hour pin later this summer and even more excited she’s part of our volunteer family.