The ZooTeens program, which began in 1993, gives young adults the opportunity to explore their interests in ecology and conservation. The unique training ZooTeens receive engages them in the sciences and also provides activities that foster self-esteem and encourage positive social interactions. ZooTeens spend the summer educating our visitors about the Zoo’s animal residents and important environmental concepts by running stations located inside the Zoo. At these stations, teens encourage visitors to touch different biofacts, or animal artifact, and engage in conversation about animals. Learn more here.
How many days a week is up to you! The minimum requirement is two days per week and the program runs seven days a week. The hours are 9:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
A typical ZooTeen day begins with a team meeting when we share daily successes and challenges. We then break up into small groups and go to our starting station. Throughout the day you rotate through nine stations, educating the public about various conservation topics and inviting them to participate in crafts and activities. You may start at the Rhino Station, inviting visitors to touch a rhino horn and share information about our rhinos and how visitors can help protect their relatives in their natural range. Then it’s time to rotate to the Wetland Station, where you’ll run a demonstration on how wetlands protect waterways from excess pollution runoff. Station activities range from face painting to teaching the public about why snakes are important and giving them a chance to touch a snake shed.
Summer ZooTeens do not handle live animals, but you will have the opportunity to be around our animals all day and may have education animals, handled by our ZooTeen Leaders, at your stations throughout the summer.
There is a fee of $75 to participate in ZooTeens, which covers the cost of your shirt, training, station materials and the end-of-season picnic. This is due upon acceptance into the program.
Any teen who has completed 7th grade through just completed 12th grade at the start of the summer can apply to be a summer ZooTeen. You do not need to know a lot about animals, just be ready and excited to learn and eager to make new friends and gain public speaking skills talking with our visitors.
Yes! If this is your second year as a ZooTeen, we invite you to participate in special experiences. You can shadow summer education interpreters and camp counselors, or go on ZooMobiles and Butterfly Beltway programs. In the past, returning ZooTeens have created a newsletter, brought stations to Rochester Red Wings baseball games and gone on science-based field trips. We also want to know what ideas you have for additional experiences you are interested in.
2015 ZooTeens applications are now closed. Thanks for your interest!
2015 ZooTeens interviews: May 2015
2015 ZooTeens training dates: Two Saturdays, June 20 and June 27
2015 ZooTeens program dates: Monday, July 6 through Sunday, August 16.
We can accommodate teen schedules and work around summer jobs and vacations.
Please contact the ZooTeen coordinator with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 295-7394.