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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!!! I'm really looking into my future since I will be graduating from high school in a couple years and I'm really interested in working at a zoo as a zoo keeper. I know that they don't get paid a lot and the job can be very demanding so I'm thinking about volunteering at the Louisville Zoo. Has anyone ever done this? Basically I will be shadowing the zoo keepers and helping with cleaning enclosures. Also, has anyone on here had any experience with working as a zoo keeper? If so is it worth the time, effort, and lack of pay?
-Nathan
 

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I would LOVE to volunteer at a zoo, a zoo in Michigan has programs over the summer for teens wanting to volunteer there, but unfortunately its about an hour away from me. I would like to be either a zookeeper, or a veterinarian in a zoo =] I don't live in kentucky, so I can't really help you, sorry :|
 

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I think the volunteering would be good. That way you would get more experience with animals and get to see if that is a job you really want to do/have. You could ask the zookeepers about the pay being worth it when you get there. If its just volunteering, you won't be getting paid right now anyway. Or at least that's how I see it.
 

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My senior year in HS I did a internship for a semester at a local vet clinic bc I wanted to be a vet. LOVED IT. You will get to see things behind the scenes that you would never get to see otherwise. I got to see all the awesome fun things and also the sad or hard or nitty gritty things (i.e. euthanizations, amputations, dental work ewww).

You will also get to ask all the insiders lots of good questions like where to go to school, what internships to take advantage of, how to specialize, what their favorite/least favorite things about their jobs are, and get access to good journals or professional information. You probably won't get too much hands on experience because of legality issues but it would be a valuable experience regardless.

Just stick to your goals and make them a priority bc if I wasn't so swayed by all the social things at college (i.e. alcohol, other "substances", boys) I probably coulda been a vet by now. Let us know what you decide to do!

edit: I just want to add that if you DO decide to do it make sure that when you leave you show some token of your appreciation like a gift basket or lunch or at least a card. Four or five years after I graduated hs I took my cat to the same vet clinic for his first checkup and the vet did remember me and commented that I was the most involved and APPRECIATIVE intern that they've ever had. The small tokens really leave a lasting impression. Throughout graduate school it always surprised me the number of students that didn't give at least a card at the end of their clinical rotations. Its never too soon to start networking!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
r_k_chic47 said:
I would LOVE to volunteer at a zoo, a zoo in Michigan has programs over the summer for teens wanting to volunteer there, but unfortunately its about an hour away from me. I would like to be either a zookeeper, or a veterinarian in a zoo =] I don't live in kentucky, so I can't really help you, sorry :|
It's okay I wasn't talking about people having experience volunteering at a specific zoo but rather a zoos in general. Yeah pretty much all zoos have teen programs. The Louisville Zoo is an hour away from me also but my step dad drives to louisville everyday for work so I would be riding with him early in the morning. I'm pretty sure my step sis and I are getting involved in their summer program.

Animals have always been my life and I really want to do something involving animals (especially exotics) so I'm really interested in this. Heather, I never thought of that and if I ever get involved with the zoo or a vet clinic I will def. leave a gift basket or bring in lunch. Great idea!
 

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It might be farther away, but the Cincinnati Zoo has an amazing "Voulenteen" program. You can choose between things like helping out at the summer camps and being a teacher, or going to an exibit and helping the animals. It doesn't pay though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah I would love to volunteer at the Cincinnati Zoo but its about 2-3 hours away. :( This is a little off topic but the most amazing thing happened to me last week!!! The education department at the Cincinnati Zoo called me wanting to be added on my waiting list. They wanted a couple more hedgies to add to their school program!!! Anyways back to the topic lol. The Cincinnati Zoo would be really awesome to volunteer at but the Louisville Zoo is closer and still offers a lot of things to do! Based on what I would like to do and what I'm best for they will assign me to a zoo keeper and I'll get to help with the behind the scenes stuff!
 

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My mom went to the zoo about a year ago and saw a hedgehog there! (It died soon after, though :( ) That was how she first got interested in hedgies. I think volunteering at a zoo would be great. Maybe they'll even have a hedgehog. ;)
 
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