We have enlisted the help of 13 young voices in the fight to prevent extinction, with the appointment of the UK’s first zoo Youth Board.
From tattoo artists to engineers to students studying animal-related degrees, our inaugural Youth Board – made up of talented young professionals and students aged between 18 and 25 – will help to shape the zoo’s future direction and represent a generation that has rightly highlighted conservation as one of its biggest priorities.
The new team will meet several times a year to challenge the zoo, which already engages hundreds of thousands of young people every year, and each member will have their own mentor from our senior management team who will help to develop their leadership skills.
The appointment of the first ever UK charity zoo Youth Board is a real step forward in engaging with the conservation leaders of tomorrow. Working with this age group is vital because they will be the ones who decide on the future of conservation, encouraging positive behaviour change among their peers and speaking up to protect the natural world.
Mark Pilgrim, our CEO.
“The new Youth Board will bring fresh ideas, challenge us to think differently, inspire us to engage with a younger audience and steer the future direction of the zoo to ensure we are tackling the most important issues. In return, we hope to support them in being a voice for change and help to develop their own leadership skills.
“At a time when global environmental pressures are at a tipping point, the importance of progressive, charity zoos being able to use their unique position to cultivate future conservationists cannot be stressed enough.”
During the selection process, more than 100 hopefuls each submitted a 90-second video detailing why they wanted to be a part of the Chester Zoo Youth Board. Of those, 24 were then invited to a selection day before the final 13 was chosen.
In the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, the group has been meeting virtually to discuss their vision for the zoo and to decide on which areas of the charity they will focus their efforts on. One of their first actions will be to get the views of other young people to ensure they are representing a wide range of opinions.
The mission of the zoo’s new Youth Board is to provide a voice for young people and places us right at the heart of its conservation mission. We’ll be working to find new ways of empowering young people and representing the next generation who see that conserving animals, protecting natural habitats and improving the relationships between humans and animals is critical to the future of the planet.
Chelsie Jones, 24, Chair of the Youth Board.
“This is a truly wonderful opportunity to contribute to and support Chester Zoo’s mission of preventing extinction and we’re really excited about helping to make a positive impact on the environment, and for species globally.”
*All group photographs were taken prior to the enforcement of social distancing measures