Zoo Teen Program

The Zoo Teen program at Potter Park Zoo is a volunteer opportunity which allows youth, ages 14-17, the chance to be a part of the daily operation of the zoo! Zoo Teens must have the ability to complete activities independently, a positive attitude, and willingness to engage in a team environment. Share your love of animals and the natural world while spending time at the zoo this summer!

The Zoo Teen program strives to work with individuals of all abilities. Please contact Marie Benner to discuss reasonable accommodations at mbenner@ingham.org or 517-342-2769.

Program Opportunities

  • Assist with Zookambi Summer Camp
  • Engage with the public at our Conservation Education Stations
  • Assist zookeeper staff in the Contact Yard (goats)
  • Shadow zookeepers to learn what it takes to be an animal caretaker

Additional information about year-round program opportunities, including requirements and applications, will be given at the end of the summer season.


  • Access to reliable transportation to and from Potter Park Zoo
  • Willingness to work outside in all weather conditions and engage with guests of all ages
  • Must be willing to obtain a tuberculosis test for animal care shifts (goat yard & zookeeper shadow)
  • Commit to a minimum of 40 hours of service from May-August
  • Commit to attend orientation and all mandatory training dates 
    • Training dates count toward hour minimum
  • Complete and submit required application and documentation, and must be willing to participate in a group interview
  • Teens must agree to abide by all safety regulations and the volunteer code of conduct

Program Fee

The Zoo Teen Program requires a fee of $50 to cover the cost the program, including shirts, training materials, nametag, and other supplies. This fee is payable at the time of orientation, and not at the time of application. Scholarships are available. Please contact Marie Benner at mbenner@ingham.org or 517-342-2769 for more information.

Application Process

Applications open in the winter and teens must submit required documents, including a resume. Teens are welcome to submit their own resume, or create one with the template provided. All teens that apply will participate in a group interview, and accepted teens will be required to attend orientation and mandatory trainings. Parents will receive an informational guide and are welcome to attend orientation.

Applications for 2024 are closed.

Please send your resume to Marie Benner at mbenner@ingham.org in addition to submitting an application form. If you do not have a resume, you are welcome to create one using this template: RESUME TEMPLATE


Zoo Teen Leaders

The Zoo Teen Leadership Team is a highly-motivated group of returning Zoo Teen members who have a strong interest in education and conservation. This is an opportunity for returning Zoo Teens to build leadership and teamwork skills while providing insight into how we can improve the Zoo Teen program.


  • Must have completed at least one summer as a Zoo Teen and be in good standing
  • Be between the ages of 15 and 17 through the end of your summer session
  • Submit an application and, if selected, participate in an interview on an individual basis
  • Must attend pre-summer training and planning meetings
  • Must complete two projects
    • Complete a project to improve the Zoo Teen Program
    • Research and create a presentation about conservation hot topics of your choice
  • Must be willing to attend monthly meetings


  • Gain leadership and teamwork skills
  • Assist with event coordinating and planning
  • Participate in discussion of conservation hot topics
  • Hear from guest speakers
  • Participate in off site conservation projects
  • Receive in depth training on interpretation and guest engagement

To Apply 

Applications will open February 14, 2024 and will close Sunday March 17, 2024. Interviews will occur between April 1-5, 2024. Applicants will be chosen based on their application, interview, and previous evaluations.

Applications for 2024 are closed.

Parental/Guardian Agreement 

Being part of the Zoo Teen Leadership Team is a significant commitment. We want to ensure that all Zoo Teen Leader members and their parents/guardians understand and agree to commit to all required meetings/participation dates as outlined above.