Planning for Fall Events

By Linda Denomme, Volunteer Services Manager

Fall is prime time for many of the Detroit Zoo’s largest events. Several departments have a hand in planning them but without the volunteers to run them, we’d be lost. So every year when August rolls around, this department goes into high gear to ensure we recruit and prepare hundreds of volunteers to cover Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo, Zoo Brew, Fall Festival and Zoo Boo.

With the backing of over 1,100 official volunteers on our roster, we have a great resource immediately at hand. Time after time, they come forward to fill our needs. Some of our regular volunteers have developed a special attachment to certain events and we know we can count on their help year after year. That works wonderfully to our benefit as their knowledge and experience result in even better service to our guests and more efficient help for our Events staff.

For Run Wild on September 16, we’ll be recruiting about 200 volunteers, most of whom are perennial early risers, since they arrive for duty at about 5:30 a.m. that day! (Now that’s dedication!) Surely not all would describe themselves as morning people, but for this event, because we asked, they will be here, ready to go at that hour (if coffee is available when they get here, one must admit). When the walk is over and the runners have all returned to the Zoo, there is a sense of accomplishment in a job well done in support of the passion that brings us together in the first place: an abiding concern for animals. The proceeds from this event support animal care and the veterinary staff of the Zoo’s Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex.

Zoo Boo, of course, is a world unto itself with nine nights of merry not scary activities requiring more than 80 volunteers each night. Now we ask our volunteers not to come in early but to say late! What could be more fun than being in a crowd of costumed kiddies and their parents while also being dressed in a costume and handing out treats? Maybe it would be staffing one of the activities tents with crafts and games for the little ones who so enjoy taking home something that they made themselves. With a stage show and the Carousel and the excitement of our creatively decorated trail (also done mostly by volunteers), Zoo Boo is a mighty big night for guests and volunteers alike.

Who’s game to give volunteering for Zoo Boo a try? We always plan our fall recruitment of new volunteers with this event in mind. So if you would like to join the ranks of special volunteers who make our events so extra special, join us on two Wednesday evenings, October 3 and 10, for our two-step volunteer orientation sessions. A quick interview will follow and then you’ll be ready for Zoo Boo and beyond. Experience a full year of events and you’ll find that the fun never stops for the Zoo’s special event volunteers.