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Wildlife Leaders: 2024 teen volunteer pilot program

Sea otter Lincoln closeup of nose and whiskers

Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders is a 10-week summer program for teens ages 13 to 15 with a passion for animals and conservation. 2024 is our first year offering this new program! 

What will Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders do? 

Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders will interact with guests in many ways, answering questions and engaging in activities around the zoo. Each day, they’ll have opportunities to learn about zoos, conservation and animal care. Participants will be expected to use their growing knowledge to support the zoo’s mission to connect our community to wildlife to create a better future for all.  

Engaging with guests, paired with daily learning opportunities, will help Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders build career skills while providing a well-rounded understanding of everything that happens at the Oregon Zoo. 

Note: Participants will not handle animals or work in behind-the-scenes animal areas 

Who can be an Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leader? 

Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders is for any interested teen from the Portland Metro area between the ages of 13 and 15. Space is limited, so participants will be selected through an application and interview process. The program is free, and no special knowledge is needed. We’re looking for young people of all kinds who are excited to learn about wildlife, conservation and zoo careers!

When will the Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders program begin?  

This year’s pilot program will run for 10 weeks, from June to August. Participants will attend an orientation on April 26; three Saturday training courses on May 11, May 25 and June 8; and volunteer for at least eight shifts during the program. Shifts will be on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Each shift will be six hours with a lunch break. 


Applications will take about 30-40 minutes to complete, sections include contact information, guardian/caregiver information, school and organization information, as well as an optional background information section. 

There are 3 short answer (3-5 sentences) and 1 Long answer (5-12) questions for teens to complete on their own.

Applications will open on February 7 at 9 a.m. and close on February 28 at 5 p.m. No late applications will be accepted.

Apply here 

Candidates will be selected for interviews in March. There are no right or wrong answers, and no trick questions – We want to get to know your authentic self!

For questions or inquiries about Oregon Zoo Wildlife Leaders, please email