Volunteer Opportunities at CHCI

Want to help support Washoe’s family and educate others about chimpanzees?  If you have weekends free we’d like to encourage you to become part of our weekend workshops, the one-hour chimposiums, by becoming a docent.   

What is a Docent?

Docents are volunteers who support the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) by conducting Chimposium workshops for K-12 students, CWU classes, and the general public on weekends and weekdays.

Docents work as greeters, gift shop attendants, presenters and/or observer guides during the program. Docent shifts usually last about 3 ½ to 4 hours on weekends and about 1 to 2 hours during the week.

Here are some examples of the jobs you’ll be involved in:

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    What is a Chimposium?

Chimposium is a play on words, combining chimp and symposium. CHCI believes that education is one of the most effective ways to help chimpanzees, and therefore offers one-hour educational workshops (Chimposiums) to the public on weekends, as well as Group Chimposiums on weekdays. The mission of CHCI is to protect and care for Washoe’s family of chimpanzees and educate the public regarding captive and free-living chimpanzees.

How much time is required? 

The minimum time commitment of a docent is four Chimposiums per month. One weekend Chimposium shift (approximately 3 – 4 hours) includes two Chimposiums, and weekday shifts typically include one Chimposium (1 – 2 hours). Docents are also expected to attend mandatory monthly meetings, which take place on the first Wednesday of each month and last approximately one hour. Chimposiums are held regularly from March through November on weekends and are scheduled throughout the year at arranged weekday times for larger groups. 

How do I become a Docent?

Contact Lisa Schuster Lyons(docent@cwu.edu or 509-963-2244) for an application. Attend a scheduled orientation/training workshop, and sign a docent letter of agreement. Join your fellow docents in volunteering at Chimposiums and be an active voice for all chimpanzees.

You can also download and print a PDF version of the application from the CHCI webpage, fill it out, and return it to CHCI.

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