The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park in need of volunteers due to COVID-19

Volunteer coordinator for the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens Kathy Hampton manages the Carlsbad Horticulture Society Gift Store.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park and the Carlsbad Horticulture Society need volunteers after COVID-19 left the park short-staffed. 

Volunteer coordinator Kathy Hampton said the park once had 30 volunteers, but now has just 10. Former volunteers were not able to continue after the park was forced to shut down activities like Zoo Camp and birthday parties for Maggie, the Zoo’s black bear, said Park Director David Heckard.  

He said many former volunteers were retired and considered at high-risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19 and chose to quit for their safety. 

The Carlsbad Horticulture Society helps care for the cactuses at the Succulents of the World greenhouse in the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The Carlsbad Horticulture Society cares for the many unique plants across the park and operates the gift shop. Hampton said the group also needs volunteers to help with landscaping and growing the native desert plants sold at the gift shop. 

“It’s not just that we need front desk volunteers; we need people who are willing to go out in the park and help,” Hampton said.