Volunteen Program

The Volunteen Program promotes the personal and professional development of teenagers so that they become leaders in animal science and conservation education. 

The Volunteen Program is designed for high school students ages 14 to 17 who are interested in careers in the zoological sciences. Volunteens work toward a minimum of 160 service hours over the course of the program year, with specific hour requirements during each of the three terms. This is a year-round program. Through their participation, Volunteens will develop advocacy for themselves and others, empathy for the world around them, and commitment, leadership, and customer service skills. They will also learn in-depth information about animal species, care, conservation, and research. 

To learn more about the many experiences Volunteens have as part of the program, please click here

View experiences

Our program runs June 1 through the following May 31 each year.  

14-17 years old

  • Applications will open at 9 a.m. on January 1, 2022, and will close at 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. All portions of the application must be complete by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
  • Preview Nights for the Volunteen Program will be held on Saturday, November 13 and Sunday, December 12, 2021; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration is required for all attendees. 

Nov. 13 Preview      Dec. 12 Preview

  • The 2022-2023 program year begins June 1, 2022. Training Week, which is required for all Volunteens, will be June 6 through June 10, 2022. All 5 days are required, and make-up days will not be allowed. 


  • Applicants must complete all application steps to be considered for the program. 
  • To be eligible for the program, Volunteens must be 14 to 17 years old by June 1, 2022, and be enrolled in high school (or equivalent program) for the 2022 – 2023 school year. 
  • Volunteens must commit to:
    • 100 service hours in the summer semester (June 1 – August 31)
    • 30 hours in the fall (September 1 – December 31), and
    • 30 hours in the spring (January 1 – May 31). 
  • Volunteens pay a $30 orientation fee to cover a name badge, uniform T-shirt and access card. Scholarships are available for qualified applicants. 
  • All Volunteens must have a current TB test on file for each year of active service by June 1. 
  • All accepted new Volunteens are required to attend one orientation date with a parent. 
  • All Volunteens are required to attend a week-long “The Zoo and You” training at the start of the summer semester. Each day is required, and makeup trainings are not offered. Failure to complete any portion of training will result in loss of position in the program. 
  • If you are accepted into the Volunteer Program, we will require you to prove that you have received the COVID-19 vaccine or have a valid religious or medical reason not to be vaccinated.


There are three parts to the Volunteen application. Each part must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. Please read the instructions carefully before applying. Incomplete or incorrect applications will not be considered. 

1) Application 

The first step is to complete the online application. This should be completed by the Volunteen candidate with no assistance from others. The application will ask for basic information and emergency contacts. There are also four essay questions. All four are required and should be answered within the guidelines provided. Applicants are able to open and view the application as often as needed but will not be able to save their progress. We recommend writing the essays in a separate document and then copying and pasting them into the application. 

The application will go live on January 1, 2022. Please click the button below to access the application on or after that date. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022.

Volunteen Application

2) Science Teacher Recommendation 

As a science-based organization, we are most interested in applicants who show a strong interest in science. Each applicant will need to have a science teacher complete a recommendation form as part of their application. This form is completed online by the teacher and sent directly to the Supervisor of Youth Volunteers. The applicants will not be able to see their recommendation.  

The form should be a current science teacher, and the exact field of study does not matter (life science, biology, chemistry, physics, zoology, geology, etc., are all acceptable.) If an applicant does not have a current science teacher, any science teacher from the past two years can complete the form. For homeschooled applicants, a parent may complete the form if they are the applicant’s science teacher. 

The Google form will go live on January 1, 2022. Recommendations are due by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. You may share the link below with the teacher completing the recommendation for you.

Science Teacher Recommendation

3) Letter of Recommendation 

The third and final portion is a letter of recommendation for the applicant. This can be written by anyone except a family member. Coaches, youth group leaders, family friends, and employers are all good examples of people to ask. Teachers of any subject may also complete the form, but this should be a different teacher from the teacher who completes the Science Teacher Recommendation. The letter should clearly state why the applicant is a good fit for the program, including special talents or interests and their readiness for the responsibility. This letter will be submitted via an online form and will not be visible to the applicant. Applicants may not submit their letter of recommendation directly. 

The Google form will go live on January 1, 2022. Recommendations are due by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. You may share the link below with the person writing your recommendation.

Letter of Recommendation


If you have any questions about the Volunteen program, please reach out to the Supervisor of Youth Volunteers at teenvolunteer@zooatlanta.org. 

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