Some people volunteer in hospitals or libraries, but others babysit escape artist orangutans and dig worms for hungry foxes.
The Los Angeles Zoo enlists 800 volunteers from high school teens to retirees throughout the Los Angeles area, many of whom live in Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Burbank.
One docent, Muriel Horacek, of La Cañada, can often be found near Bruno the orangutan. Bruno is well-known on zoo grounds for his 25-minute escape in May 2008. Ever since, volunteers like Horacek have kept a watchful eye on him, which she enjoys because orangutans are her favorite species to observe.
Horacek began her work with animals at age 67 as an Earth Watch representative. Earth Watch recruits people to help scientists with their wildlife field research.
At 87 years old, Horacek has traveled with 35 expeditions to sites such as China, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
This is Horacek's first year as volunteer docent, teaching people about wildlife.