Discovery Center Volunteer Docent

Discovery Center Volunteer Docents perform several important roles. Docents are friendly greeters that welcome visitors to the Discovery Center, and they are informal educators assisting visitors by answering questions, providing visitor orientation and assisting education staff with education program projects. Docents must possess an interest in the Albany Pine Bush, interpretation, and an enthusiastic and friendly outlook.  Docents have the opportunity to use live animals from our collection in their presentations (extra training required). Experience as an educator or with public speaking is helpful but not required. Training for Discovery Center Docents will be provided.  The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission Visitor Services Specialist supervises and trains the Discovery Center Volunteer Docents.

The 3,350+ - acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals, including more than 20 percent of New York State’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, such as the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The APBP is a National Natural Landmark, Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area Site, a New York State Unique Area and Bird Conservation Area, and a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area. Characterized by rolling sand dunes and over 20 miles of trails, the APBP offers visitors many recreational opportunities including hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and canoeing. The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is a public-private partnership created by the NYS Legislature in 1988 to protect and manage the APBP and provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities. The Management Plan for the APBP guides all aspects of expanding and managing the preserve.  The Commission’s goal is a preserve of 5,380 acres.

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Discovery Center at 195 New Karner Road, Albany, is a “green” certified interpretive center where visitors come to understand why the Pine Bush is rare and special. A visit to this unique destination is an exciting exploration where learning comes naturally through interactive exhibits, an outdoor Discovery Trail, and numerous programs on the ecology, natural history, cultural history and management of the Pine Bush. Admission to the Discovery Center is free (there is a fee for some programs).


  1. Greet visitors to the Discovery Center, provide visitor orientation and answer visitor questions.
  2. Circulate through the Discovery Center exhibit area and Discovery Center grounds.
  3. Assist education staff with program preparations. This may include a variety of tasks from preparation of craft supplies to content/activity development.
  4. Monitor exhibits for maintenance needs and report any repair needs to Discovery Center staff. Help keep exhibits neat and organized.
  5. Replenish brochures and trail maps.
  6. Continually enhance your knowledge of the Albany Pine Bush through the use of field guides, internet resources and other reference materials.
  7. Assist staff as needed.

Optional Duties (Requires additional training):

  1. Develop and lead small hands-on, interactive exhibits called Discovery Tables.
  2. Conduct live animal presentations.
  3. Mentor new Volunteer Docents.
  4. Gift shop cashier.


  1. Successfully complete Discovery Center Volunteer Docent training program.
  2. Minimum commitment of 4 hours per month.
  3. Reliable, punctual and a professional work conduct.
  4. Ability to effectively communicate with people of all ages in an interpretive capacity.
  5. Experience in working as an educator, or with public speaking is helpful but not required.
  6. Background or interest in the natural sciences and the willingness to expand your knowledge of the Albany Pine Bush.
  7. Ability to work independently.
  8. Reliable transportation needed.
  9. Computer skills sufficient to communicate via email, participate in online training, and schedule shifts online.
  10. First aid training preferred.
  11. Background checks are conducted on all Discovery Center Volunteer Docents.

For more information or to sign up for an interview, please contact:

Beth MacCallum
Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
(518) 456-0655 ext. 1217


Date Posted: 01-19-2022

Expire Date: Open until filled

Contact Name: Beth MacCallum, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

Contact Email: