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Our 2024 Education Scholarships are now open!

Funding should never be a barrier to education. That is why we established a scholarship fund in 2020 to help ensure opportunities for students in Dane County. Our scholarship program has raised over $87,000 to date. We offer full and partial scholarships for our weeklong Summer Camps and one-day Mini Camps.

Summer Camp Scholarships

Come and spend the summer at one of our week-long inquiry-focused Summer Zoo Camps! In alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards, campers engage in the scientific process of observation, scientific reasoning, and engineering design to build solutions to real-life problems. Campers leave Zoo Camp with a greater awareness for the individual animals at the zoo and how to help animals in the wild, all while building their science skills and making new friends. Summer Camp programs feature experiences for elementary and middle-school aged children between the ages of 4 and 13. Participants get to meet zoo animals, see behind the scenes areas of the zoo and hear from the zoo’s knowledgeable zookeeper staff.

Mini Camp Scholarships

These scholarships can be applied for Spring Break Zoo Camp 2024, or any Zoo Mini Camps for the 2024 school year. Our popular Spring Break and Winter Break programs inspired us to create Mini Camps. Each Mini Camp is held on single no-school days for the Madison School calendar. Each Mini Camp offers a different theme and an opportunity for animal encounters, crafts, and games. Mini Camps are geared towards students in 1st – 4th grade and each session includes a science challenge to get our campers excited about the natural world!

The Marcia MacKenzie Education Fund

The Marcia MacKenzie Educational Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Marcia MacKenzie, who served as Dane County’s lead attorney for over 20 years. Each year the fund grants awards to two middle school students and covers the costs of a week-long Summer Camp at Henry Vilas Zoo. The winner gets to select their choice of Junior Zookeeper camp programs and the scholarship covers all program fees.

Scholarships are open to all Dane County residents between the ages of 11 and 13. Students who would like to apply for a scholarship award will need to submit an essay that is no longer than one page that explains why they would like to attend Summer Camp at Henry Vilas Zoo. Preference will be given to essays that talk about nature, wildlife conservation, or sustainability.

Applications must be submitted by May 15th of each year.

“If conservation education can teach kids anything, it is that there are things more important than economics. Without the land, there is nothing.”

– Marcia MacKenzie

For information about scholarships for all other education programs, please email: