Junior Conservation Crew

Summer Conservation-focused Program for Youth Ages 10-13

Make a real impact on wildlife this summer with Sunset Zoo and the Gregory P. St. Amand Memorial Fund. Thanks to the support of the Gregory P. St. Amand Memorial Fund, Sunset Zoo is launched the Junior Conservation Crew in 2021. After our inaugural year, this new program will continue to provide preteens and teens the opportunity to directly engage in conservation action through citizen science, removal of invasive species, research, and more.  

The Junior Conservation Crew program is a structured volunteer program designed for participants’ ages 10 to 13 that have a special interest in learning about conservation and zoos. After completion of the training program, students are expected to sign-up and work scheduled shifts during the summer. Participants will join their Crew at Sunset Zoo once per week for 3.5 hours. Each session will incorporate a citizen science lesson and activity, a behavioral research component, and one of many rotating projects. All activities are designed for maximum conservation impact and to foster the passion for wildlife, nature and conservation in tomorrow's leaders.

Orientation & Training

Orientation for the Junior Conservation Crew is required, and will be conducted virtually via Zoom.  To access one of the virtual orientation sessions, please register for the orientation date you would like to attend.

Orientation Dates:

Training for the Junior Conservation Crew will consist of a series of online training components through Sunset Zoo's Google Classroom. A link to the Google Classroom will be provided to all registrants. Participants will have until May 13th to complete training.  

Registration & Fees

Registration opens with the first orientation, and is due by April 29th. Space is limited to 60 participants, and will be on a first come, first serve basis. To register, click here.  To register using a scholarship, see details below. 

Registration Fee: $125

Registration fee covers training and participation for 10 weeks throughout the summer. Please review the Junior Conservation Crew Policy before registering.


Thanks to the generous support from the Gregory P. St. Amand Memorial, Sunset Zoo is able to offer 5 scholarships in 2022. Scholarship applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25. For details and requests of applications, contact Nicole Wade by email or phone at 785-587-2737.  

Summer Schedule and Activities

Summer schedules will be assigned and provided to families by Tuesday, May 23.  Availability forms will be emailed to families with the Google Classroom link on Monday, May 2, and will be due back by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13. Availability forms received after May 13th may not receive priority placement.

Junior Conservation Crew starts on Tuesday, May 31, and ends on Monday, August 8.  Each participant will join their Crew for activities once each week during this timeframe, for a total of 10 sessions.  Sessions will take place from 8:15 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. or from 1:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.  Parents must pickup their youth participant within 15 minutes of program conclusion.

Below is a sample schedule for a session:

8:15 a.m.Bug Safari Citizen Science Activity
9:00 a.m.Zoo Monitor Behavioral Research
9:45 a.m.Conservation Education Project Work 
10:15 a.m.Snack (provided) 
10:30 a.m.Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project
10:45 a.m.Invasive Species Removal or Recycling Audit
11:30 a.m.Zooniverse Citizen Science

All activities are led by trained zoo education staff, and each session will start from the Zoo's ticket booth. Sessions will be limited to 6 Crew members, and safety measure will be in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Those measures include increased airflow in indoor spaces, enhanced cleaning measures, and hand sanitizer stations. Masks are highly recommended in indoor spaces and requirements may change based on community spread of COVID-19.