The Miller Park Zoo is celebrating its 40th year of the junior zookeeper program.
The junior zookeeper program allows students finishing sixth grade through high school learn about animals and help around the zoo. Education specialist at Miller Park Zoo, Shannon Reedy explains students are grouped into various levels. The levels go from learning basic animal tips through actually helping around the zoo.
The program has around 250 students particpating in it every year. Reedy adds since there are so many students in the program, many of them volunteer at the zoo 3 to 4 times a month.
To participate, students must attend a meeting held by the Zoo in the March prior to the summer they want to work at the zoo. All meeting times are posted on their website in the month of January. Reedy says it is a competitive process, but she says that if a student doesn't get in one year, the zoo tries to put them in the next year.
Miller Park Zoo will be holding a reunion for all former junior zookeepers. This Saturday, June 23 the zoo will hold an open house from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for all the former junior zookeepers to meet up and see the changes that have happened in the zoo. The program was started by a group of mothers in 1972 and is one of the few zoo programs in the United States that works with teenagers year round.
For more information, go to millerparkzoo.org.