Recently graduated Los Angeles Zoo student volunteers celebrate with their families after the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Justin Lee)
La Cañada High School

LA Zoo Student Volunteers graduate and are ready for service

The Los Angeles Zoo student volunteer program is for high school students who are interested in the field of animal education. Students go through a 12 week training course where they learn how to speak to the public, how the zoo works, and most importantly, information about the animals.

On April 7, these hardworking students of this year graduated to officially be in public service.

As a recent graduate of the LA Zoo’s student volunteer program, the education they receive is thorough and extensive. This is half the amount of chapters students study, for example: arthropods, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, proto/metatheria, theria, and primates).

I am also a student volunteer of the zoo, but I graduated last year. I can still remember the excitement of knowing that I will be out there, working with the public. Now I am being trained to be a mentor for next year’s class, so I attended the graduation of this year’s class. While I was there, I asked a few people questions about the program.

“I’m really excited to be a student volunteer. I really want to go and interact with the zoo visitors,” Jacob, a student in the program said.

I also asked another graduating student, Kyle, about how he felt in terms of being prepared for public service.

“Of course, I am confident about speaking to the people and I think the zoo docents have done a really good job with this volunteer program,” Kyle said.

zoobadge 1 LA Zoo Student Volunteers graduate and are ready for service
All graduating students receive a badge to signify that they are an official student volunteer. (Photo by Justin Lee)

As student volunteers, they will get to do a variety of activities with the zoo visitors. You can’t physically operate with animals at the zoo, but it is still very fun. Some things these volunteers can do are assist the bird show, talking to people at a stand (teaching them about animals using variety of props like snake shed, or tortoise carapace), walking around and educating people about a certain animal, helping kids play safely with goats and sheep in Muriel’s ranch, Orangutan watch, and more. Sometimes, there are special events going on like the “Spring Fling,” and volunteers can help out with that too.

Student volunteers are usually at the zoo during Sundays. So if you see a student in uniform and with a name badge, feel free to ask them questions — they will gladly answer your question with the best of their knowledge.

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