Discovery Guides and Docents

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

DEADLINE EXTENDED!

APPLY BY MAY 20 FOR OUR DOCENT and DISCOVERY GUIDE PROGRAMS!

Application Period Opens: March 1, 2016
Application Period Closes: 4:00 p.m. EST on May 20, 2016

Become a docent or a discovery guide– also known as an exhibit interpreter – at the New York Aquarium and help staff exhibits, teach visitors about marine conservation, and assist at events and education programs. As a docent or discovery guide, you will have the opportunity to meet individuals from around the world and join a family of fellow volunteers, staff, and wildlife experts who share a passion for our natural world.

The discovery guide program is open to anyone age 15 to 19: high school students, college students, and adults between the ages of 18 and 19.

The docent program is open to anyone age 20 years and older: College/grad students, adults, retirees and seniors.

Docent and Discovery Guide responsibilities include:

  • Speaking with aquarium visitors and giving exhibit chats using biological artifacts and other visual aids
  • Assisting with the development and implementation of special events
  • Staffing information and craft tables during special events on-site and off-site
  • Assisting Education Department instructors with school and family programs
  • Teaching visitors how to interact with horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and other animals at our touch pools
  • Conducting short marine conservation programs on the Coney Island Boardwalk, just outside of the aquarium entrance

Significant support for this program is provided by National Grid.

Requirements

To get involved, print and fill out an application. You must be at least 15 years or older by the deadline date to apply. Admission to both programs is competitive. After an interview and orientation, accepted candidates must complete an intensive seven-day training course (see training schedule below). All applicants must also have their own e-mail address and regular access to the internet.

Summer Discovery Guides (July 2, 2016 – Labor Day Monday)

  • Open to high school, college students and adults not enrolled in school , ages 15 to 19 years. Participants must volunteer two full days (6½ hours/day) per week at minimum. Days are flexible. Must volunteer for one holiday or special event as part of service hours. Complete a total of 120 service hours and 5 education hours.

Academic Year Discovery Guides (September 14, 2016 – June 30, 2017)

  • Open to high school, college students and adults not enrolled in school , ages 15 to 19 years. Participants must either volunteer one half day shift or one full day every other week. Full day shifts are 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Half day volunteer shifts are mornings (9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) or afternoons (1:00–5:00 p.m., weekends only). Days are flexible. Volunteer two holiday days or special events as part of service hours as part of service hours. Complete a total of 150 service hours and 5 education hours.

Year Long Docents (1 year from the start date)

  • Open to those aged 20 years and older (college/graduate students, adults, retirees and seniors). Participants must either volunteer one half day shift once a week OR one Full Day shift every other week. Half day volunteer shifts are mornings (9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) or afternoons (1:00–5:00 p.m., weekends only September to June). Full day shifts are 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Days are Flexible. Volunteer two holiday days or two special events as part of service hours. Complete 1 year of service (approximately 176 service hours) in addition to completing 5 education hours.

Application Process & Training Sessions

We will only accept applications for consideration during the application period listed above. All applications must be complete and received no later than 4:00pm EST on the date listed above. Applicants under age 18 must have a parent sign their application form and all applicants currently enrolled in high school must have a teacher fill out the recommendation form. Additional letters of recommendation may be submitted with the application; however, these documents should not be submitted in place of the official forms. Please do not include copies of your school transcripts.

An orientation and interview are mandatory. We will call or e-mail you to schedule an interview after we have received and reviewed your completed application. Late, incomplete or illegible applications will not be considered. Please note that due to the high number of applicants, not everyone is called for an interview. Applicants who are not selected for an interview will be notified by e-mail.

If accepted into the docent program, you will be required to attend the 7-day training course, which take place from 10:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. each day. The training includes sessions on marine science, public speaking skills, and activities designed to foster good relations among docents. Please check the training dates below and be sure that you can attend all of the dates before applying to the program. All days of training are mandatory.

Applicants who have been interviewed for the summer training class will receive notification of their acceptance by June 8th. Applicants that have been interviewed for the fall training class will receive their notification of acceptance by July 25th.

Summer Training Course

For summer and year-long docents and discovery guides

Fall Training Course

For academic-year and year-long docents and discovery guides

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Friday, July 1, 2016


Download the application. (There is only one application for both programs.)
Download the teacher recommendation form (high school students only.)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Tips for Submitting your Application

Contact

If you have any questions, please call the volunteer office at (718) 265-3450, Saturday through Thursday, between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email nyadocent@wcs.org.

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