The Phoenix Zoo’s current ZooTeen program began in the early 90’s in response to inquiries from youth who were interested in volunteering at the institution they had been visiting since they were young children. ZooTeens are an essential component of the Zoo’s trail experiences and assist in inspiring our Zoo guests to live in ways that promote the well-being of the natural world.
Special thanks to Coyotes Charities for their support of the ZooTeens program!
What is a ZooTeen?
ZooTeens are a group of 14 – 17 year olds interested in animals, nature and conservation who volunteer their time to the Phoenix Zoo. ZooTeens share their interests with our Zoo Guests at a variety of interpretive stations throughout the Zoo, provide mentoring and educational opportunities to Camp Zoo participants, and are eligible to work with and learn from our world-class animal keepers.
What are the requirements to be a ZooTeen?
Teens must be age 14 to 17 as of September 1 of the application year. After following the application process and being selected, they are required to volunteer a minimum of 40 hours during the ZooTeen season, undergo yearly TB testing and attend all required orientations and meetings to retain their ZooTeen status.
What does a ZooTeen do?
ZooTeens primarily spend their time interacting with the Zoo public through games, crafts, activities and the presentation of animal artifacts. Occasionally, ZooTeens may also present some small animals to Zoo guests to demonstrate care-giving or natural history concepts. As ZooTeens progress through their years in the program, there are opportunities for further career exploration through higher level ZooTeen positions as well as workshops and seminars.
What are the benefits of being a ZooTeen?
Over the years, Zoo Staff have been able to observe ZooTeens develop a keen sense of responsibility, self-confidence, public speaking abilities and career skills. In addition to gaining valuable professional skills, ZooTeens receive the same Zoo benefits as our adult volunteer group.
Who is eligible to be a ZooTeen?
Any teenager between the ages of 14 and 17 and has an interest in the Zoo, natural world and helping their community is welcome to apply.
How does someone become a ZooTeen?
Teens must complete the online ZooTeen application to be considered for the next season of ZooTeening. In addition, a minimum of two recommendation forms are required to be filled out and mailed directly to the Zoo (teachers, school staff or community leaders are recommended). Completed application packets (online form and mailed recommendations) will be forwarded to the ZooTeen Supervisor at the Phoenix Zoo. Application packets are accepted during the months of March, April and May (any packet received outside of this time period is not eligible for consideration). During the month of June, all applications are reviewed and a limited number of candidates demonstrating an interest in sharing their enthusiasm for the Zoo and natural world will be selected to come in for a brief interview. Interviews are conducted in the month of July and final ZooTeens for the upcoming season will be selected from those interviewed and notified by the beginning of August.
Timeline for ZooTeen Program
The ZooTeen program officially operates from September through May. Prospective ZooTeen applications are accepted during the months of March, April and May.
September – Start of ZooTeen season and Fall Semester
December – Fall Semester ends
January – Spring Semester begins
March – New applications now accepted
May – New application period ends, end of Spring Semester
July – Interviews scheduled for successful applicants
August – Orientation for new and returning ZooTeens