Hey Teens!

Love animals and kids? Passionate about wildlife and conservation? Want to help others appreciate the natural world? Got a knack for talking to groups? Have some time to give? Then check out the coolest opportunity for teens in St. Louis -- Zoo ALIVE!

Zoo ALIVE is the Saint Louis Zoo’s volunteer educator program for high school age students. (ALIVE stands for Active Leaders In Volunteer Education.) Zoo ALIVE volunteers:

  • Help Education Department staff members deliver weekend programs for children -- including preschool classes, youth programs, and scout overnights.
  • Lead educational activities for Zoo visitors.
  • Help with our awesome summer camp program, Camp KangaZoo, Camp Joey and Specialty Camps.
  • Go on hiking and camping trips to explore nature and wildlife.
  • Help with the Zoo's conservation programs and plan your own project.
  • Learn all about the Zoo, its animals, and more!

Who can join?

  • Teens who will be at least 15 years old by June 1, 2022.
  • Must submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (two shots). Applicants will bring vaccination card to volunteer interview.
  • We are seeking mature, responsible teens with an aptitude for leadership.
  • Applicants should enjoy working with children, and should be interested in animals and conservation.
  • No experience is necessary, but you must be willing to try new things, work together with members of our diverse group, and be an excellent representative of our world-class organization.
  • Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to lead discussions and demonstrate activities to groups of children and adults, so good communication skills are a must.
  • Enthusiasm, confidence and a positive attitude are required!


We expect a lot from the young adults in this program. It is rewarding for us and can be life-changing for the teens who rise to the challenge. If you are wondering if your teen is ready for this program, please click here to see our expectations.

How much time is required?

All Zoo ALIVE volunteers are required to attend a monthly meeting throughout the year, usually held the first Sunday of each month from 5 – 7:30 p.m. At the meeting, volunteers receive training for upcoming volunteer opportunities, leadership skills and learn about current events and happenings at the Zoo or with the environment. Teens create and give presentations about environmental topics of their interest. There is also time to socialize and get to know other volunteers. 

Besides the meeting, volunteers are asked to donate their time for at least two Zoo activities per month for at least one whole year.

New Zoo ALIVE volunteers are also required to attend a Volunteer Orientation, Camp Training and volunteer for two consecutive weeks at Camp KangaZoo, the Zoo's summer day camp.

Can I volunteer just for the summer?

Zoo ALIVE is a year-round program, which requires at least one full year commitment. If you are interested in volunteering only in the summer, see the Volunteer Opportunities  page and scroll to the bottom of the page for "Zoo Teens," the summer-only teen volunteer program.

What else is required?

All Zoo volunteers -- including Zoo ALIVE teens -- must pass a background check. Volunteers must agree to follow all of the Zoo's volunteer policies and procedures, including dress code, code of conduct and all COVID-19 safety policies. We communicate using Slack and email, so Zoo ALIVE teens must have an email account that they can check regularly. Most volunteer opportunities take place at the Zoo, so you must have reliable transportation or be willing and able to take public transportation to the Zoo.

How Do I Apply?

We will accept up to 30 new Zoo ALIVE members, based on your application and an in-person interview on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

The Zoo ALIVE application materials must be received no later than Thursday, March 3, 2022. The first 44 individuals that submit completed applications (all parts complete) will be invited to interview. Application materials may be sent via email or by mail to:

Eve Cooney, Saint Louis Zoo Education Department
1 Government Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63110

1. Application

Application period will open in February 2022.

The deadline for this year’s Zoo ALIVE application is March 3, 2022, and includes several steps:

A. Click this link to get started on your Zoo ALIVE application and Volunteer Intake forms! (allow about 1 hour to complete)

  1. Make sure that your parent/guardian is with you because they will need to electronically sign a release at the very end of the application (if you are under 18 yrs old).
  2. You will need to choose some appointment dates and times and choose dates that you are available this summer, so you will need your family calendar.
  3. You can preview the application here but can only complete it online by following the link above.

B. We need to receive 2 additional forms from you before March 3 – either via email or mail to the address above

  1. Recommendation Form. Send this form to one or more teachers or youth leaders who know you well. We only need to receive one Recommendation form.
  2. Medical/Health Form

C. If you are one of the first 44 individuals to complete the application process, you will receive an email inviting you to the interview on March 13. The application will close on March 3 or earlier if 44 completed applications have been submitted. Note that the forms in item B above still need to be received by March 3 in order for your application to be complete.

D. After your interview on March 13 and if you are accepted, you will be directed to a website to complete a background check and complete an online training before May 1.

2. Group Interview

Group interviews will be held at the Zoo on Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Group interviews will be held in 2 sessions, 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m. All applicants are required to attend one group interview session. The only exception is illness/quarantine.

There are a limited number of positions, so not all applicants can be accepted into the program. We hope that you will find the application and interview process valuable, even if you are not accepted. Final selections will be made and applicants will be notified in April 2022.

For more information, please e-mail the Manager of Youth Programs, Eve Cooney at cooney@stlzoo.org or call/text her at (314) 568-0007.

Whether or not you are not selected for Zoo ALIVE you are still welcome and encouraged to apply to Zoo Teens, the Saint Louis Zoo's summer-only teen volunteer program. See the Volunteer Opportunities page and scroll to the bottom of the page for details.