Zoo Animal Presenters (ZAP) Program is a grant-funded youth program that employs young people as educators providing free conservation programming to systemically marginalized communities in the Portland metro area. ZAPs receive training and mentoring to hone their leadership and job skills, and explore job and career opportunities.
Who can be a ZAP?
ZAPs are teenagers hired at the age of 15 to 16 who show an interest in working with children and animals. Each fall, the zoo works with local high schools and Metro-area community-based organizations to recruit potential ZAPs with an emphasis on hiring low income youth and youth of color. Every year, dozens of teens apply for 10 open positions.
What do ZAPs do?
After training each spring, Zoo Animal Presenters provide programming for our partner organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, SUN schools, and community based organizations that serve low income communities and communities of color. Programming is often developed in cooperation with these organizations and can include Zoo visits, outreach programming, or nature connection programming. As paid interns, ZAPs receive opportunities to learn from Zoo professionals, and the staff of our partnering organizations.