Before Orientation

Students should read the text AND watch the video for now, as some of the videos are a little outdated.  All of these courses are used in the training of the most elite team of animal care volunteers and interns at Big Cat Rescue.  For the purpose of your Zoo Keeper Training, we will use this accredited sanctuary as the model, exactly as if you were taking the training classes in person.

Obviously, you won’t be able to do the hands on training during this course and complete the certifications for each task, but certificate sheets have been provided to give you an idea of what you would be required to do in a real sanctuary or zoo setting.  YOU will be able to complete this course by passing all of the written quizzes and will get badges of achievement and certificates of completion.

Only graduates of Zoo College can apply as interns for a 3 month experience at Big Cat Rescue or for our 1 week Volunteer Vacation experience.  Your link to the application form will be in the last email you receive after completing the course.

Note that the course often will tell you that you need to access documents on the dot.me site or that you must submit paperwork to the Volunteer Committee to advance, but Zoo College students will find all of their course work, quizzes and opportunities for advancement to be automatically served up next, as long as you take the course in the order provided.

While it may seem like a lot of this doesn’t apply to you, it’s important to ready everything and follow the program as if you were part of the Big Cat Rescue team because any legitimate organization will have similar procedures and what any CEO is looking for in a potential hire is someone who is a self-starter, who follows directions.

Download this check list of sections and lessons that you will have to pass to graduate. My ZooKeeper Training Plan

APPLICATION & PROMOTION POLICIES

Application Review: Applications will be reviewed by the Volunteer Committee and promotions will be announced in the Volunteer Newsletter and at the Volunteer Appreciation Party. The promotion process can take several weeks.

Requirements for Promotion: The applicant must have completed the minimum required number of consecutive months maintaining or exceeding the minimum number of hours per month required for their level. The applicant must have completed all the required classes and certifications required of their current level.

Applications: The applicant must apply using the appropriate application available on the dot.me site and must submit the application to the Volunteer Committee. Online applications are located in the Applications section under the Training and Docs heading in the left side bar of the dot.me site.

If Requirements Have Not Been Met: Upon receipt of an application the Volunteer Committee will review the applicants past volunteer hours. If the applicant has only met the minimum required hours, the Volunteer Committee will discuss the added requirement with the applicant prior to promotion to ensure that the new hourly requirements will be able to be met. If the applicant has not maintained the minimum number of consecutive months maintaining their hourly requirements.  The Volunteer Committee will deny the application and will determine an appropriate number of months for the applicant to continue to maintain their minimum hourly requirements after which the applicant may reapply for promotion.

An exception to this would be if the minimum hourly requirements for a particular month were not met due to illness or travel and the Volunteer Committee was appropriately notified. In some cases a pass will be granted and in others a set number of months of continued service will be requested prior to accepting the application. The applicant must reference the Class Completion Chart located in the left side bar under the Volunteers heading and fill in the completion dates for each required class and certification in the appropriate fields of the online application. If the applicant has not completed the required classes and/or certifications, the application will be denied and the applicant must complete the required classes and/or certifications after which the applicant may reapply for promotion.

Cleaning Map Test: A volunteer seeking promotion must pass the Cleaning Map Test prior to being approved for the promotion. This test must be taken by Partners, Keepers, and Interns regardless of the level being applied for. The Cleaning Map Test must be completed each time a promotion is requested. The Cleaning Map, The Blank Cleaning Map, and the Answer Key are available to use as practice tools. These materials are located in the Classes & Maps section under the heading Training & Docs in the left side bar of the dot.me site.

After the Volunteer Committee has approved the application for processing and when the applicant is ready to take the Cleaning Map Test, he or she should print out these materials and request a time for their Coordinator to administer the test. Interns returning for Level 2-4 must complete and pass a Cleaning Map Test upon their return for their next internship. The applicant may miss no more than 10 questions on the Cleaning Map Test. If more than 10 are missed, the volunteer will be asked to review their practice materials and retake the test at a later date.

Feedback from Coordinators: The Volunteer Committee will consult with the appropriate Volunteer Coordinators and Operations Manager to receive feedback on the applicants overall performance within the program. In some cases fellow interns and volunteers may be solicited for feedback. If a Volunteer Coordinator or Operations Manager is not confident in the applicants current abilities the Volunteer Committee will take this into advisement and may speak with and encourage the applicant to focus on sharpening these specific skills in question and then reapply for promotion after a designated period of time established by the Volunteer Committee. The Volunteer Coordinator and Operations Manager will also be advised to monitor the applicants improvements over the designated period of time after which the Volunteer Committee, the Volunteer Coordinator and Operations Manager will reevaluate the application for promotion.

Announcing Promotions: Once a volunteer’s application for promotion has been approved the Volunteer Committee will announce the promotion in the Volunteer Newsletter and at the Volunteer Appreciation Party as well as notify the Volunteer Coordinators and Operations Manager.

Complimentary Shirt: The Volunteer Committee will provide one complimentary volunteer or intern shirt, the color and status of the newly acquired level, to the applicant. (on site trainees only)

Post Promotion Meeting: After promotion the Volunteer Committee may meet privately with the applicant to discuss the new requirements expected of the newly acquired level, special projects that will be assigned to the volunteer, and goals for the volunteer to aspire to.

Records: The Volunteer Committee will update all records to reflect the new level of the volunteer.

New Responsibilities: When a volunteer is promoted to a higher level the new duties listed for that level may be available to the volunteer, but are not guaranteed. The volunteer may also be requested to continue to perform duties of the previous level based on the sanctuaries needs. It is the responsibility of the Coordinators and Manager to train the volunteers so that they can progress through the program. If a volunteer feels they are not receiving their training or are otherwise being treated unfairly they can submit their complaint to the Volunteer Committee.

Senior & Master Keeper Special Assignments: Each volunteer that is promoted to Senior or Master Level will be assigned a special task or duty that they are responsible. These tasks are assigned as needed. Volunteers that are assigned tasks may ask for advice or input if needed from the volunteer the task was previously assigned to. All tasks and the volunteers responsible for them are posted on the Assignments tab at the bottom of the Class Completion Chart.

Nominations: The Volunteer Committee does not accept nominations for promotions. Volunteers must apply for promotion themselves using the applications available on the dot.me site.

Questions Regarding Promotion: Any questions regarding promotions should be directed to the Volunteer Committee. Committee members should not be questioned individually by applicants or other volunteers regarding the status of promotion.

Partner Trainee promotion to Partner: After six consecutive months of maintaining a minimum of 16 hours per month volunteering at Partner Trainee level and successful completion of all Partner Trainee Classes and Certifications, a Partner Trainee can apply for promotion to the Partner level using the online application forms.

Partner promotion to Senior Partner: After twelve consecutive months of maintaining a minimum of 24 hours per month volunteering at Partner level and successful completion of all Partner Classes and Certifications, a Partner can apply for promotion to the Senior Partner level using the online application forms.

Keeper Trainee promotion to Keeper: After nine consecutive months (the first two of which will be served in the admin department) of maintaining a minimum of 16 hours per month volunteering as a Keeper Trainee OR after two consecutive months maintaining a minimum of 16 hours per month serving in the admin department followed by four consecutive months of volunteering for a minimum total of 100 hours as a Keeper Trainee (6 months in total) and successful completion of all Keeper Trainee Classes and Certifications, a Keeper Trainee can apply for promotion to the Keeper level using the online application forms.

Keeper promotion to Senior Keeper: After twelve consecutive months of maintaining a minimum of 24 hours per month volunteering at Keeper level and successful completion of all Keeper Classes and Certifications, a Keeper can apply for promotion to the Senior Keeper level using the online application forms.

Senior Keeper promotion to Master Keeper: After four years of maintaining a minimum of 32 hours per month volunteering at Senior Keeper level and successful completion of all Senior Keeper Classes and Certifications, a Senior Keeper can apply for promotion to the Master Keeper level using the online application forms. Prior to applying for promotion, the Senior Keeper must be able to perform all Senior Keeper as well as Senior Partner (green shirt level) duties.

Partner Coordinator: After one year of maintaining a minimum of 32 hours per month volunteering at Senior Partner level and successful completion of all Senior Partner Classes and Certifications, a Senior Partner can apply for promotion to serve as a Partner Coordinator using the online application forms.

Keeper Coordinator: After two years of maintaining a minimum of 32 hours per month volunteering at Senior Keeper level and successful completion of all Senior Keeper Classes and Certifications, a Senior Keeper can apply for promotion to serve as a Keeper Coordinator using the online application forms.

Intern Level 1 promotion to Intern Level 2: A Level 1 Intern may apply for promotion to Level 2 no earlier than their 8th week serving as a Level 1 Intern. The following classes and certifications must be completed by the end of the Level 1 Internship; Tour Back Up, Gate, and Guest Sign In, Animal Emergency, First Aid, Events, Kids Tour and Certification, Day Tour and Certification, Animal Observation, Small Cat Cleaning and Certification, Small Cat Feeding and Certification, Enrichment and Red Level Certification, Operant and Small Cat Certification, Issues & Actions, and US Government 101.

The applicant must have also passed the Cleaning Map Test. If accepted as a Level 2 Intern another Cleaning Map Test must be completed upon return for the Level 2 Internship. If the application is approved the applicant must begin the next internship within a maximum of 6 months. If returning in less than 3 months training classes and certifications may not have to be repeated. If returning between 3-6 months all of the previous internship’s classes must be repeated and a minimum of half of the certifications for each class completed.

Intern Level 1 promotion to Yellow Level Keeper: A Level 1 Intern may apply for promotion to Yellow Level Keeper at the conclusion of the Level 1 Internship. The following classes and certifications must be completed prior to applying for Yellow Level Keeper; our Back Up, Gate, and Guest Sign In, Animal Emergency, First Aid, Events, Kids Tour and Certification, Day Tour and Certification, Animal Observation, Small Cat Cleaning and Certification, Quarantine Cleaning and Red Level Certification, Small Cat Feeding and Certification, Enrichment and Red Level Certification, Operant and Small Cat Certification, Issues & Actions, and US Government 101.

The applicant must also pass the Cleaning Map Test. If the application is approved the applicant must begin volunteering as Yellow Level Keeper within 30 days of the end of the Level 1 Internship. If a longer period of time is needed between the end of the internship and starting back as a volunteer, the applicant must notify the Volunteer Committee in writing. The maximum lapse is 90 days.

Intern Level 2 promotion to Intern Level 3: A Level 2 Intern may apply for promotion to Level 3 no earlier than their 8th week serving as a Level 2 Intern. The following classes and certifications must be completed prior to the end of the Level 2 Internship; All of the classes and certifications required of Level 1 Internship, Small Cat Feeding Certification in 2nd Section, Yellow Level Enrichment Certification, Cougar Cleaning and Certification, and Feeding Tour Guide (speaking portion) and Certification.

If accepted as a Level 3 Intern a Cleaning Map Test must be completed upon return for the Level 3 Internship. If the application is approved the applicant must begin the next internship within a maximum of 6 months. If returning in less than 3 months training classes and certifications may not have to be repeated. If returning between 3-6 months all of the previous internship’s classes must be repeated and a minimum of half of the certifications for each class completed.

Intern Level 2 promotion to Green Level Senior Keeper: A Level 2-4 Intern may apply for promotion to Green Level Senior Keeper at the conclusion of the Level 2-4 Internship. The following classes and certifications must be completed prior to applying for Green Level Senior Keeper; All of the classes and certifications required during the Level 1 Internship, Small Cat Feeding Certification in 2nd section, Yellow Level Enrichment Certification, Cougar Cleaning and Certification, and Feeding Tour Guide (speaking portion) and Certification.

The applicant must also pass the Cleaning Map Test. If the application is approved the applicant must begin volunteering as Green Level Senior Keeper within 30 days of the end of the Level 1 Internship. If a longer period of time is needed between the end of the internship and starting back as a volunteer, the applicant must notify the Volunteer Committee in writing. The maximum lapse is 90 days.

Intern Level 3 promotion to Intern Level 4: A Level 3 Intern may apply for promotion to Level 4 no earlier than their 8th week serving as a Level 3 Intern. The following classes and certifications must be completed prior to the end of the Level 3 Internship; All of the classes and certifications required of the Level 1-2 Internship, Cleaning Big Cats and Certification, Feeding Small Cats Certification in 3rd section, Green Level Enrichment Certification, Keeper Tour Guide and Certification.

If accepted as a Level 4 Intern a Cleaning Map Test must be completed upon return for the Level 4 Internship. If the application is approved the applicant must begin the next internship within a maximum of 6 months. If returning in less than 3 months training classes and certifications may not have to be repeated. If returning between 3-6 months all of the previous internship’s classes must be repeated and a minimum of half of the certifications for each class completed.

Intern Level 4 promotion to Intern Level 5: A Level 4 Intern may apply for promotion to Level 5 no earlier than their 8th week serving as a Level 4 Intern. The following classes and certifications must be completed prior to the end of the Level 4 Internship; All of the classes and certifications required of the Level 1-3 Internship, Big Cat Feeding and Certification, Meds Administration, Big Cat Level 1 & 2 Operant Certification, Night Tour Guide and Certification.

If accepted as a Level 4 Intern a Cleaning Map Test must be completed upon return for the Level 4 Internship. If the application is approved the applicant must begin the next internship within a maximum of 6 months. If returning in less than 3 months training classes and certifications may not have to be repeated. If returning between 3-6 months all of the previous internship’s classes must be repeated and a minimum of half of the certifications for each class completed.

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION NOTICES

We know your time is valuable and appreciate your interest in joining the team at Big Cat Rescue. Please review the following information prior to attending this Volunteer Orientation. (on site trainees only)

Volunteer applicants must be 18 years of age.

You must have attended a regular Day Tour on a separate date prior to Volunteer Orientation within the past year.

The fee to become a volunteer is $70 ($50 for seniors or students with proper and valid ID). This fee covers the cost of your volunteer shirt, book, radio, and a small administrative fee and is collected on your first day of volunteering.

Volunteer Orientation is followed with a brief interview with an Orientation Leader. The entire process will take between 2-3 hours.

If your interest is in working with animals, please keep in mind that Big Cat Rescue is a completely no contact, hands off facility and new volunteers will spend two months in the admin department before being permitted to start training in the keeper department.

Keeper hours begin at 8:30 AM every day.  Volunteers who are unable to begin volunteering at 8:30 AM will not be able to train in the keeper department.

The minimum hourly requirements are 16 hours per month / 4 hours a week.  red level volunteers are granted 1 month within a calendar year in which they may serve under the minimum hourly requirements.  If a red level Volunteer serves under the required hours for more than 1 month in the calendar year, the volunteer will be required to repeat all training classes.

Since there is so much time, effort, and training is invested into each volunteer, Big Cat Rescue can only accept long-term, truly committed individuals into the program. We do not offer opportunities for

Community Service or School Volunteer Project hours.

Ready for Orientation? Mark this lesson as complete below.

Throughout this training you will hear references to dot.me. It isn’t required for you to successfully complete this course, but if you want the full experience, we make it easy.  You can create your own google site, that has almost all the same features as our Intranet site by following the directions in these following videos:

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Can you please let me know how to print my lessons? I am keeping a study notebook (or I want to keep my lessons in a notebook) and am unable to print. Is there a way to do this that I am missing? Thank you for your reply JodyJungerberg1@gmail.com

    1. There is no built in feature for printing, but any web page can be printed. Click Print to start printing. Click the menu button and then click Print. To adjust settings for what you’re about to print (if necessary), click on the arrow beside the Printer selector, and see Print window settings below for information on what settings can be changed. Click Print to start printing.

  2. Hi Carole, I’m having trouble setting up my own santuary template website up ? I can’t seem to figure out how to do it ? I have a google account but can’t seem to bring up the page where i need to set up my own santuary template ? Thank you so much for offering this class for the price!! I appreciate it very much !!

    1. This is an easy tutorial for setting that up.

      https://sites.google.com/site/sitesetupguide/creating-a-google-site

      At step 2, when you choose your theme, don’t pick one of the ones that Google initially offers. Choose More and then in the search box type in Sanctuary Template and you will see the red and white banner. Pick that one and you should be set. There will be video tutorials on your site once you pick Sanctuary as your theme.

  3. Hello Carole, Thank you for emailing all my certificates. There is only one problem the info like my name is printed off center any settings wrong?

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