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Teen Program

The interest period for Summer 2021 has now closed. However, you don’t have to be in the program to volunteer! Check out our opportunities on our volunteer page.


The Zoo Teen Program at the Henry Vilas Zoo connects teens to the invaluable conservation work done by AZA zoos and aquariums throughout the world. Through two of our primary volunteer roles – Wildlife Champion & Face of the Zoo Greeters – teen participants will work in small groups to teach guests about a variety of conservation topics. In addition to their volunteering days, teens will have the option of attending Friday activities specifically reserved for Teen Program participants.
Through this program teens will:

  • Gain valuable leadership and public speaking skills
  • Network with local teens and mentors that share a passion for wildlife and conservation
  • Increase their understanding of zoos, wildlife, and conservation, and the careers that support these fields
  • Engage in science and conservation education
  • Explore guest engagement and exhibit interpretation skills
  • Gain experience in a team-based environment
  • Earn volunteer hours

Who should apply?

The ideal applicant will be comfortable with and interested in public speaking in order to share their passion for conservation, wildlife, and Henry Vilas Zoo’s mission. Teens should have strong leadership skills and a positive attitude. In addition, participants will be required to:

  • Make a commitment to attending the program throughout the summer and clearly communicate when unable to attend
  • Have reliable transportation to and from the zoo
  • Be 14-17 years old at the start of the program

The Details:

The program will run from June 14th – August 13th. Participants will dedicate themselves to one day a week of volunteering with their group, 11AM-3PM between Mondays and Thursdays. Fridays are dedicated to hands-on activities for all participants that can include, but are not limited to:

  • Behind the Scenes tours
  • Keeper chores
  • Vet procedure observations
  • Off-grounds field trips

There is no cost for the Teen Program this year. However, space is limited.

Henry Vilas Zoo follows COVID guidelines in accordance with Dane County Public Health. All staff and guests are required to wear masks at all times. Teen program activities are modified to allow for social distancing when possible and limited gathering.

Important Dates

April 13th and 18thInformation Meetings for teens
April 24thApplication materials due
April 26thInvitations to interview to be sent to top applicants
May 1st – 5thPhone interviews
May 8th – June 4thOrientation/Training for new participants
June 14thSummer program begins

Questions about the Summer Zoo Teen Program? Please contact or call (608) 283-1612.