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Docent kneeling next to a tortoise in an exhibit with child onlookers.


The Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents and Volunteers (AZADV) is a 503(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to support the conservation of species and facilitate communication between members to enhance educational programming and renew enthusiasm for the service that our members contribute to their institutions.

Our History

The first International Zoo Docent Conference was held in Houston in October 1985 with 35 zoos represented. The following year in Kansas City, delegates from 41 zoos and aquariums established guidelines, chose the name Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents (AZAD), created bylaws, and launched a newsletter, Symbiosis. In 2013, the name was changed to Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents and Volunteers (AZADV) to better reflect the expanding roles of zoo volunteers. There has been an international conference each year since 1986.

Our Mission

Supporting our members' education, connection, and inspiration to strengthen understanding of and commitment to zoo and aquarium conservation goals.

Our Vision

Empower public commitment to conservation of our natural world.

Join Us

Join docents and volunteers from zoos and aquariums around the world who have become members of the Association of Zoo & Aquarium Docents & Volunteers.