Student Volunteer Teen Talks
Docent, Great Los Angeles Zoo Association
The Student Volunteer program is an important aspect of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ volunteer program. Teen Talks give our high-school-age students a way to engage the public. Many student volunteers are shy but give them a biofact, and suddenly the patrons come running. The students then engage the public without hesitation.
Biofact boxes focus on themes: birds, reptiles and mammals. Each box contains an information card about each biofact giving students ideas on how they can open up conversations with patrons.
A common problem is getting the students to participate. Many prefer assignments that do not involve talking to the public, but once they are working at Teen Talks they really enjoy it.
The most successful aspect of Teen Talks includes the docent program; Animals and You docents bring animals out for the public to touch. Students handle biofacts that match the presented animal. Having adults around encourages the student and gives them additional confidence. Both programs benefit from the partnership. Many patrons ask students how their own children can join the Student Volunteer program. The public is
excited to see youngsters out in the zoo educating the public and behaving well.