Thank you for your interest in joining the Smithsonian's National Zoo's American Trail Volunteer Interpreter program. As a volunteer, your role will be to talk with visitors to the National Zoo and introduce them to the animals in the exhibit. Their exhibits are designed to encourage and enable the animals' natural behavior. Learn about gray seals, harbor seals, bald eagles, gray wolves, brown pelicans and beavers in exhibits that highlight animals native to North America, many of which have come back from the brink of extinction and are thriving thanks to conservation efforts. Through on-line and in-person training you will learn about the exhibit and how to share information with Zoo guests.

This is a year-round volunteer opportunity. Both weekday and weekend volunteers are being recruited. Volunteers are asked to work at least three three-hour shift each month. To be eligible, volunteers must be at least 18 years old, and should be comfortable spending time on their feet for the shifts. The application deadline is February 20th or when the maximum number of applications are received.

If you've never volunteered before, please create an ID and password in the fields below. We recommend you use your email address as your ID, but create a unique new password for this site. If you have previously volunteered but have forgotten your ID and password, contact Bob Cmarik at to reset your password.

Please note: These positions are highly competitive and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. The Smithsonian Institution and FONZ are committed to providing the safest environment for our staff and volunteers, as well as for our guests. Select applicants will be interviewed, and those who are provisionally accepted must pass a Smithsonian background check which includes fingerprinting as a requirement for approval as a volunteer prior to beginning.

Please fill this form out completely. Questions? Call at 202-633-3058 or email Bob Cmarik at
New User Details
American Trail Interpreter Volunteer Application

Basic Information
Home Address
Emergency Contact
Check the boxes to indicate "yes"

Do you prefer to work mornings or afternoons? For our planning, it would be helpful to know what shift time would be best for you.

Background and Policies
Have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the past seven years, other than a minor traffic offense, which has not been pardoned or expunged from your record?
(Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor will not automatically disqualify you from employment)
Background References (please provide two references, and at least one should be a professional contact)

Volunteers must attend three full days of in-person trainings, Feb. 23 and March 2 and 9.