The ZooTeen volunteer program at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden connects area teenagers to nature and builds successful, caring members of the community. This youth development program is not only fun and a great way to meet new friends, but it also provides job readiness skills, life skills and opportunities to grow into responsible young adults, ready to inspire positive changes in the world. ZooTeens offers years of fun, adventure, animal handling and training to develop team building, public speaking, leadership and job readiness skills — all while having a WILD TIME!

For more information: Please contact Syndi Castelluccio via email or by calling 803.602.0883.

What ZooTeens Do

  • Assist with ZooCamps, education events and programs.
  • Educate visitors about wildlife and environmental conservation.
  • Engage and inspire guests through informal interpretive and presentations.
  • Participate in team-building, trainings and experiential learning.
  • Take action for wildlife through conservation projects.
  • Handle and present animal ambassadors (year two and beyond).
  • Participate in optional Conservation Field Studies (year two and beyond).

Program Requirements

Space is very limited in this program. No experience is required, but we do ask that you:

  • Must be a high school student and at least 14 years old.
  • Support the zoo and its mission.
  • Complete interview process to be selected for the program.
  • Attend program Orientation and all Mandatory Trainings.
  • Commit to at least one year (year round program).
  • Complete program and shift requirements.
  • Are comfortable with speaking in public and interacting with different ages and cultures.
  • Provide negative TB test results annually.
  • Applications accepted annually between December–March.

Program Commitment

ZooTeens is a year round volunteer program that runs weekly during the summer and monthly throughout the school year. All participants must complete one year of training and program requirements to be invited back for additional opportunities, with up to 4 years of service opportunities within the ZooTeen program. First Year ZooTeens will be required to attend an orientation and two mandatory training workshops in addition to choosing a 5 week summer session to volunteer. Summer weekly sessions starting in June for first year ZooTeens will run Monday–Friday from 8:30am–4:00pm. The program continues through the school year (September–May). ZooTeen participants will be required to attend a minimum number of meetings, events and presentations per year. Attendance will be monitored.

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