CONSERVATION RESEARCH VOLUNTEERS:
The Good, the Bad, the Brilliant!
Conservation Research Volunteers A to Zoo
• Tammy J. Rach, Senior Volunteer Manager,
• San Diego Zoo Global
Collaborative Conservation Research
• Stacey Luhring, Senior Education Specialist,
• Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Breadth of Data Collection Application
• Jennifer Tobey, Research Coordinator,
• San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Behavioral Biology
Observing Animals in Zoos
• Kirin Daugharty, Manager of Volunteer Programs,
• Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association:
CONSERVATION RESEARCH VOLUNTEERS:
A TO ZOO
Tammy J. Rach
Senior Volunteer Manager
San Diego Zoo Global
Data collection, processing, birth watches, field work, lab work and more.
Safety training, keys to effective organization, ensuring consistent data
collection, and inter-departmental success.
The ood
• Dozens of worker bees at your disposal
• Unlimited potential
• People who WANT to do the grunt work
• A plethora of interesting personalities and skill sets
The
ad
• Dozens of worker bees at your knees, wanting to suck up your time
because
• You are cool
• You are the link to cool stuff
• They want your job
• Unlimited potential that will not come to fruition unless you make it so
(investment of time, energy, and sometimes resources)
• People who DON’T want to do the grunt work
• A plethora of interesting personalities and skill sets
Critical for Every Assignment
• Skill Sets
• Safety Training
• Keys to Effective Organization
• Inter-Departmental Success
Applied Plant Ecology
Applied Animal Ecology
Behavioral Biology
Genetics
Library
Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs
Panda Research
Reproductive Physiology
Wildlife Disease Labs
Birth Watches
Databases
• Design
• Input
• Management
Field Work
Data Collection & Processing
• Consistency
Conservation Research Volunteers:
Are they for you?
Conservation Research Volunteers
A to Zoo
• Conclusion – with the right set-up and effective organization
anything is possible…
COLLABORATIVE CONSERVATION RESEARCH
Stacey Luhring,
Senior Education Specialist, Volunteer Services & Visitor Experience
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Volunteers Assisting
with Research
• Behavioral observations
• Citizen Science Initiatives
• Scientific Diver
PDZA : Dive Program
• Started in 2007
• 14 Divers divided into two teams
• Responsibilities:
• Husbandry of exhibits
• Interpretive dive in South Pacific exhibit
Conservation Research & Scientific Divers
• Aquarium needs
• Small staff needing more hands
• Staff wanting to do research but no time
• Aquatic world comes in pairs
• Volunteer needs:
• New opportunities
• Keep motivation strong = retention
Scientific Divers
• Hosted & taught certification class recognized by the
American Academy of Underwater Sciences
• Trained on underwater scientific research techniques
• Allows volunteers to collect in the field and conduct
research projects for PDZA and other agencies
• Gives PDZA additional bodies with the knowledge and
skill for research projects
Projects currently underway
• Rockfish Monitoring Survey
• Collaborative project with Seattle
Aquarium
• Grant from the NW Zoo &
Aquarium Alliance
• Information used for health of
Puget Sound and listed species.
Drawbacks of Volunteer Involvement
• Staff time to train = less time maintaining exhibits
• Return on class investment (few took test)
• Various schedules (staff & volunteers)
• Large commitment
Benefits of Volunteer Involvement
• More Bodies = More accomplishments for small staff
• Additional data collection
• Doesn’t deplete staff who are managing exhibits
• Multiple projects if enough bodies
• High incentive and motivator for
volunteers
• Personal satisfaction for volunteers in
doing conservation work
Breadth of Data Collection Application
Jennifer Tobey, Research Coordinator
Lance Miller, Scientist
Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global
Jeff Andrews, Associate Curator
San Diego Zoo Global
Breadth of Volunteer
•
Students
• Other career professionals
• “Just love it”
Get them all on the
same page!...
How do you make sure that
what you are getting is
correct?
-Training
-Inter-rater reliability
Not always the same each
project!
Leads to…
Breadth of data collection and
it’s application.
Three Studies
Bonobo Research
• Individual recognition of bonobos
• Reliability testing for behavioral events
and behavioral states (r > .80)
• Safety training (San Diego Zoo Safari
Park)
Bonobo Research
• Data collected
3/15/2011 – 8/5/2011
• San Diego Zoo and San Diego
Zoo Safari Park
• Behavioral states (activity
budgets) and behavioral events
(R/R, affiliative and aggressive)
• 275 hours of data
Bonobo Research
• Animal management
• Presented to animal care teams at
Zoo and Park
• Submitting for publication
Elephant
• Periparturitional behavior
and calf development in
African elephants.
• Long term data collection
• Large volunteer pool; high
retention rate
• Safety & IACUC training
Elephant
• Data has been collected
for 7 years (10 births)
• Doubles as birth watch
• 2 weeks prior to birth &
continues 5 weeks after
• Overnight: 6pm-6am
(4 hours/shift)
• Complements keeper data
collection
Elephant
• Publications
• Acknowledged
• Authorship
Data used to obtain firsts
information for calves
Management practices that
support more natural birthing
and rearing processes.
Orangutan
Up to 15 volunteers trained
and actively collecting data
over the study period.
Long term data collection.
Capture pre/post data for
group dynamic changes as
well as study changes
pending.
IACUC training and
inclusion.
Orangutan
• Complex behavior
• Proximity
• Location in exhibit
• Daily observations:
2 hour shifts/3 shifts a day
• Animals on exhibit:
dealing with public questions
and interest
Orangutan
• Baseline Data
• Publication
• Future graduate work?
OBSERVING ANIMALS IN ZOOS
Kirin Daugharty
Manager of Volunteer Programs
Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
Participating in local and national studies and supplying valuable info
that helps captive populations of endangered species. Collecting data,
time observations, and in office data tabulation. Learn effective set-up
and team strategies for utilizing volunteers in conservation research.
Observing Animals in Zoo’s
Training
Observing Animals in Zoos
• UCLA accredited course
• 13-weeks
• Observational techniques
• What’s an ethogram?
• How/What do you tabulate?
• Solo studies
• Group project
The Making of a Research Volunteer
What do the volunteers do?
SO MUCH!
• Observe animal introductions
• Breeding behaviors
• Birth watch
• New feeder/enrichment device behaviors
• New enclosure behaviors
What do the volunteers do?
Observe
What do the volunteers do?
Tabulate
What do the volunteers do?
Enter data
Use of information
Animal care
Nationally
• Enrichment
• Conferences
• Animal Care
• giant river otters
Effective set-up
Solid Goal or Mission
• Why are you starting the program?
• Is it a long term or short term need?
• What are you trying to answer or address?
Effective set-up
Volunteer Administrator involvement
• “Red flag” applicants
• Full/Combined recognition
• Consistency in safety/emergency/HR policies
Effective set-up
University association
 Provide added resources
• Biomedical library
• Facilities/equipment
• Funding
• Reputation
Effective set-up
•
•
•
•
Great introduction to zoo settings, procedures, and philosophies.
Volunteers play an important role in animal management and conservation.
Teamwork: data collection, tabulation, data entry.
Each institution is different and will approach in its own way.
QUESTIONS?
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CONSERVATION RESEARCH VOLUNTEERS: The Good, The Bad