An orientation for prospective Hogle Zoo volunteers will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 12, in the zoo auditorium.

More than 100 volunteers serve as ambassadors for the zoo, contributing to a mission of conservation, education and recreation.Programs include docents, zoo aides, interpreters and Wild Bunch volunteers. Volunteer training begins at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, and will continue on Wednesdays through Nov. 18. Call the zoo at 582-1631, ext. 737.

Docents, or volunteer teachers, must be at least 18 years of age and may have opportunity to handle animals following six weeks of training.

They staff the Discovery Center, assist with animal care and create an extensive summer class schedule and overnight "zoo snoozes" for children. They may work with animals such as ferrets, opossums, chinchillas, hedgehogs, snakes, lizards and birds, which are used in presentations at schools, hospitals and on the zoo grounds.

Docents also participate in group tours, birthday parties, other on-grounds events and present programs in the zoo amphitheater.

The zoo aide program offers volunteers 16 years of age and older an opportunity to work with the full-time, animal-care staff. They assist in the care of animals in the Small Animals Building, Great Apes Building, Woodland Edge and the Docent Animal Facility.

Youths at least 14 years old may participate as interpreters. Following five weeks of training, interpreters assist in the Discovery Center and Tropical Garden.

Wild Bunch volunteers assist zoo staffers in promotional activities, exclusive member events and zoo fund-raisers. They also help out with painting, grounds maintenance and spring/fall renovation projects.