In 2020, we established the first UK Charity Zoo Youth Board to help shape the future direction of the zoo and increase our engagement with teenagers and young adults.

From tattoo artists and engineers to teachers and students, our Youth Board is made up of diverse young professionals and students. All aged 18 to 26 years old, they have one mission – to help prevent extinction.

Members contribute to the Board on a voluntary basis, elect their own Chair and are accountable to the Board of Trustees. They provide a voice for young people and support the zoo to develop its programmes to appeal to teenagers and young adults.

Through working collaboratively with Trustees, Directors, zoo staff and other young people they enable the zoo to achieve its mission, with a particular focus on empowering the next generation of conservationists.

Young voices in conservation

Hear first hand from members of our Youth Board programme, as we work with them to help shape the future direction of the zoo and increase our engagement with teenagers and young adults.

Find out about the topics the Youth Board focus on, how they participate in trustee meetings, and the ways in which we include young voices in the conversation around conservation.


Our Youth Board have created a Youth Governance Toolkit which aims to give organisations the tools needed to establish their own systems of youth governance, and collectively drive forward the role of youth voices within the conservation sector.

We believe that the tangible, essential skills young people possess are invaluable in providing insight and contributing to zoos and their missions. Youth governance tackles the misconception that youth voices are less important and less impactful than older voices, by facing these challenges head on. Our Youth Board demonstrates the impact that young voices can have.

Download our Youth Governance Toolkit

Members of our Youth Board spoke at the 2022 BIAZA Annual Conference 2022 to outline the impressive achievements they’ve made over the last two years, and share advice with other organisations looking to set up their own youth boards.

Our mission statement

“Preventing extinction by empowering future generations”
As Chester Zoo’s first Youth Board, our mission is to provide a voice for young people. We will ensure that Chester Zoo offers a universal experience, whether at the Zoo or in wider communities, that puts young people right at the heart of it. We will work to make sure the next generation are represented in conversation, are engaged with the work of Chester Zoo and are empowered to have an impact on the future of conservation, so that together we can all help to prevent extinction.

So far, our Youth Board have: 

  • Developed and delivered two workshops at the IUCN One Nature, One Future Global Youth Summit in April 2021. During the workshops they hosted speakers and 120 delegates from across the globe to shape a discussion about the value and mechanics of youth governance in conservation.
  • Co-presented a paper at the EAZA/IZE International Conservation Education Conference about the role of young governance in conservation education.
  • Hosted the first ever Chester Zoo Youth Symposium, which was attended by over 100 young people and provided a forum for young people to share and discuss different aspects of their engagement in conservation.
  • Worked with senior zoo staff to further our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work, in particular through completing audits of the zoo site and making recommendations for accessibility improvements.
  • Contributed to the zoo’s youth programmes, including participating in a panel discussion as part of our inaugural Careers Festival.
  • Co-ordinated their own fundraising campaign to support the zoo during the pandemic.
  • Offered advice and support to several organisations interested in setting up their own youth governance structures.

Youth Symposium

The event welcomed over 100 young people from across the UK for an inspiring weekend of presentations, discussions and networking.



IUCN Youth Summit

Members of our Youth Board presented at the virtual event on how to immerse young people into the governance of conservation organisations.


Your Visit

Your zoo ADVENTURE starts right here! Plan your BEST DAY and explore Chester Zoo. There’s plenty to do – so make the most of your day out.