Noah's Ark needs volunteers to staff playground

The Noah's Ark Animal Rehabilitation Center and Children's Care Home is seeking volunteers to help monitor a new, 4,000-square-foot playground recently built at the facility.

Volunteers are needed for one- to two-hour shifts at least three days per week, according to Diane Smith, assistant to the center's director, Jama Hedgecoth. Noah's Ark is located at 712 LG-Griffin Road in Locust Grove.

Opening the playground to the public, according to Smith, will require more help than Noah's Ark staffers can provide on their own.

The playground was built last year with a portion of a $70,000 grant from the Georgia Baptist Healthcare Ministry Foundation. It is able to accommodate 40 children at a time.

Hedgecoth said the playground will allow children an opportunity to exercise while they wait to visit animals. Activities available in the recreational area include tether ball, swings, slides, a climbing wall, rung ladders and a seesaw. The playground is designed for children ages 12 and under, who must be accompanied by an adult.

"We are very aware of the rise in childhood obesity, and have our own children here exercising daily — slow jogging, fast walking and other ‘kid-friendly' exercises," Hedgecoth said. "In the future, we hope to add a walking track to the playground area so that families can exercise together at Noah's Ark, in addition to enjoying our animal habitats."

Noah's Ark is home to a host of animals such as bears, tigers, zebras, monkeys, and birds.

"The hours that the playground is open will depend on the number of volunteers we get," Smith said. "We would like to have it open from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m. That way, people can let their kids play on it until the habitat opens at noon."

Playground volunteers must be at least 18 years old. They will be equipped with two-way radios to communicate with Noah's Ark staff members, and will be asked to patrol the playground to ensure kids are playing safely, and to identify any needed equipment repairs, said Smith.

No certifications are needed for volunteers to supervise kids at the playground. Noah's Ark requires background checks to be conducted on all volunteers at the facility.

For more details, call Smith at (770) 957-0888 ext. 227, or e-mail dsmith@noahs-ark.org.