What’s your role on the Youth Board?
I’m the Vice Chair of Chester Zoo Youth Board.
What does the zoo mean to you?
The Zoo for me is an escape and a place that is always changing and evolving. Whether I visit alone with my camera for an hour or 6, or visiting with family and friends for a day trip, there is always something new to see. Before I was a member of the YB, I would photograph the big animals and then leave without really paying much attention to the smaller animals. But since being on the YB, I have learnt to appreciate everything it takes to run a zoo, to appreciate the people, the work, the money and the conservation that has been spent on all animals, whether it be an elephant or an ant. I always feel truly blessed and extremely grateful that I get to play a very small part in the shaping of the future of Chester Zoo.
How have you supported the zoo, whether that be recently or over a longer time period?
I have always lived locally, and I got my first Chester Zoo membership when I was 2 months old, and each year since I have renewed my membership. Every year on my birthday I ask for a giraffe to be adopted at the Zoo because they’re my favourite animal. It’s a gift that not only benefits myself, but the other visitors, the Zoo and the conservation of giraffes.
Why do you feel so connected and passionate about the zoo and it’s work?
Having grown up always being a member of the zoo, I’ve seen the way that the breeding programs have changed and adapted due to more and more species being listed as endangered. I am so passionate about the work that Chester Zoo do in regards to raising awareness of these species, and the conservation work they do, as I believe that it will help to secure the future of the animal and allow future generations the chance to see the same animals in real life rather than just in textbooks.
What do you hope to achieve in your role on the Chester Zoo Youth Board?
If I can get even one young person to change the way they see how zoo’s operate, to see the amazing work that CZ are doing, and to see that change is desperately need, then I’ll have achieved my goal.
What have you got out of being a part of the Youth Board so far?
I came into the Youth Board not knowing what to expect, and I also felt like I was on the backfoot as I don’t have a background in conservation, nor had I been to university, let alone to study a zoo related topic! However, I couldn’t have been surprised at how much that didn’t matter. We have gelled as a team, we work together efficiently in setting clear goals and we ooze ambition, whilst still being realistic. Personally, I have gained a lot of confidence, a lot of knowledge about conservation and some fascinating insights on what it takes to run and maintain a zoo.