Audubon Nature Institute is an internationally-acclaimed family of facilities dedicated to the wonders of the natural environment. Each year millions of visitors enjoy spending time with our animals, learning about their habitats, and discovering ways to make an impact through conservation. Adult Naturalists help guests explore the marvels of their world at each of our public facilities: Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Whether it’s swinging orangutans, swimming sharks or crawling centipedes that interest you most…they all asked for you to be a volunteer!

Naturalists serve as the link between our guests and our collections by interpreting live exhibits, giving presentations on biofacts, and engaging guests in a fun, entertaining, and unforgettable Audubon experience. Naturalist candidates must complete a six-week training program, offered quarterly. An informal, pre-training interview with the program coordinator is required for all applicants.  The fee for the Naturalist course is $75, which covers training materials, a background check, and uniform items.

After training and 30 hours of service, Naturalists are eligible to apply for advanced volunteer placements like husbandry, animal handling, school programs and outreach, and diving. Audubon also offers continuing education, advanced volunteer certifications, appreciation events, and opportunities for advancement to all volunteers.

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Requirements

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age.
  • Proof of a negative Tuberculosis (PPD) test is required before a volunteer’s first shift.
  • Naturalists are required to undergo a background check before becoming an active volunteer. The cost of this service is included in the course fee.
  • Naturalists work a weekly four-hour shift at their facility of choice:  Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, or Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
  • Volunteers must commit to a minimum one year of service.

For questions about volunteering at the Zoo, please contact the Naturalist Program Coordinator by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone at (504) 212-5336. For questions about volunteering at the Aquarium or the Insectarium, please contact the Naturalist Program Coordinator by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone at (504) 378-2719.