6 Jun 2023

During Power of Youth Day and to celebrate Volunteers Week 2023, we take the opportunity to recognise the achievements of young people engaged in Youth Volunteering at Chester Zoo and in the community.

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Duke of Edinburgh Youth Volunteers

We provide an enriching experience designed for young people aiming to fulfil the volunteering component of their Duke of Edinburgh bronze or silver awards. This comprehensive initiative offers training, volunteering opportunities and support to ensure a fulfilling experience for young people.

For three months, seven young people from local schools actively engage in activities such as interacting with zoo visitors, gaining knowledge about our animals and conservation campaigns, and participate in skills masterclasses.

Youth Volunteers benefit from the guidance and experience of specialist staff and adult Youth Champion Volunteers who help them through their volunteering journey and support them in developing diverse skills, including confidence, teamworking and problem-solving.

As part of the masterclass skills sessions, we challenge them to develop their own conservation campaign or learning resource to teach others about conservation issues or raise awareness about different species.

The most recent group of young people, created a wonderful mix of resources and activities, including educational posters about the Illegal Wildlife Trade and conservation issues affecting sun bears and a digital game teaching people to recycle. There was also an engaging storybook designed for children, teaching them about orangutans and the issues around unsustainable palm oil and a QR code treasure trail for zoo visitors to teach them about animals and conservation during their school visit. In addition, some created presentations or videos highlighting the scale of plastic sea pollution, the decline of nature in the UK, and hopeful ways people can make a difference in these issues.

Take a look at one of the participants film about Nature in the UK


The programme concluded with a tea and cake celebration hosted at our new events venue, The Square. The Youth Volunteers confidently presented their activities to their families, volunteers and staff, receiving applause and recognition for their talents and hard work. Director of Conservation Education, Charlotte Smith, proudly presented the group with certificates of appreciation for volunteering and congratulated them on their achievements.

Power of Youth Day is a great chance to reflect on young people’s impact and potential in their communities through volunteering and social action. I am proud of everything the group achieved during their time with us; they were a fantastic addition to our volunteering team, bringing in fresh perspectives and inspiring visitors they engaged with in the zoo. We were impressed with the learning and campaign resources they created, showcasing their creativity and passion for conservationWell done!

– Lindsay Marston, Volunteer Manager

Community Volunteering

Our community volunteering programme gives people the opportunity to join some of our initiatives for short micro-voluntary experiences. Over the passed year we’ve had young people join us to remove invasive pennywort from local canals, plant beneficial bulbs, sow pollinator friendly wildflower meadows and plant trees. Earlier this year, a group of students from Chester University got involved in conservation action by planting 6 sections of hedgerow on the Chester Zoo estate as part of the Nature Recovery Corridor project. The hedges were filled with lots of different species of plants in order for them to be a beneficial habitat and corridor for wildlife in the future.

The young people who have volunteered their time have learned new skills and championed conservation of UK species. They continue to make incredible impacts within their own communities by passing on knowledge, positive messages and actions to a wider audience of people.


This is an image of the hedge planting group in front of a freshly planted hedge.
Chester University students who took part in hedge planting on Chester Zoo estate in 2023

Youth Board

Our Youth Board is made up of young volunteers aged 18-26 years old. They sit directly beneath our Board of Trustees and are a core part of the governance of our organisation. They volunteer their time regularly to input into all aspects of our operation and particularly support the development of our programmes to engage young people in our mission.

An image of 13 young people (male and female aged 18-26) who make up Chester Zoo's Youth Board
Chester Zoo’s Youth Board is made up of young people aged 18-26 years old

I’m really proud of all of the work our Youth Board do. They contribute so much to our organisation and to making sure that conservation benefits from the voice and talents of young people.

– Charlotte Smith, Director of Conservation Education

Our Youth Board bring new energy and ideas to the organisation, helping us to stay relevant to young people and ensuring that young people have the opportunity to influence what we do. As well as offering advice and feedback on the zoo’s operations, particularly our programmes for young people, the Youth Board contribute to a wide variety of events and initiatives. This includes hosting our annual Youth Symposium, advocating for youth governance at conferences and with individual organisations, and inputting into national conservation and education initiatives.  Their contribution goes far beyond what we do here at Chester Zoo!


NOW is the time to ACT FOR WILDLIFE. Conservation is CRITICAL; species are under threat. TOGETHER we can make a BIG difference. Take action TODAY and join us in PREVENTING EXTINCTION.