Connecting students with nature through science and sustainability Book An Excursion
Work with animals and real zoo keepers hearing amazing stories Book Now
Educating students about healthy marine life, sustainable seafood & how their choices matter. Fish for Good Schools Program

There is always heaps happening at YATZ. Check out the latest news below to make sure you don’t miss out.

Boral Youth at the Zoo Eco Fair- 1st, 2nd & 3rd October 2013


The annual Boral Youth at the Zoo (YATZ) Eco Fair is a great way for YATZ volunteers to encourage zoo visitors of all ages to learn more about our natural environment and ways they can support and protect the environment. This year’s Boral YATZ Eco Fair did not disappoint – it was extremely exciting and informative for everyone involved!

This year the Eco Fair was held inside the zoo at Backyard to Bush. We were very lucky to have more than half a dozen organizations participating this year, including Sydney Water, WIRES and Mosman Council. All YATZ that manned our partner stalls were given information about each stall so they could help educate visitors about how that organisation encourages environmental conservation.

In addition to our partner stalls we also had plenty of interactive competitions to participate in, including a Rhino Colouring-In Competition. This stall was an amazing hit and we couldn’t print the colouring-in pages fast enough to keep up with demand!

We also had some other really cool arts and crafts projects at the Eco Fair. One of which was the Arts and Crafts Corner. This creative space allowed YATZ to help kids create works of arts out of seemingly pieces of ‘trash’. Besides being lots of fun and messy, this activity allowed YATZ to show kids, first-hand, how we can re-create ‘waste’ into fun, new and exciting products. Some of the great pieces produced in the Arts and Crafts Corner included bird feeders (made out of drink bottles), garden shovels (made out of milk containers) and a variety of animals (made from paper plates, cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls). This was a great way for YATZ to engage kids in ways we can combat waste management issues. This is important as lots of products we use can often be re-used rather than going straight into landfill.

To all the YATZ that helped out and manned stalls at this year’s fair thank you so much. You hard-work and interest in conservation was truly inspiring!

-       Natalie Bell (YATZ Admin Assistant Volunteer) 

Saturday, 17th August - Capertee Valley


Saturday 17th August was definitely an early start for 28 enthusiastic YATZ volunteers! After waking up at 5am in the morning, and a four hour bus trip, we finally arrived at Capertee Valley to plant trees for the endangered Regent Honeyeater!

Earlier this year some YATZ released a group of Regent Honeyeaters into the wild in Chiltern, Victoria. This release boosted their numbers in the wild, increasing their chance of survival.

The trip to Capertee valley allowed YATZ to plant out some new native trees for Regent Honeyeaters, and will hopefully encourage them into areas that were previously unsuitable for them, and provide them with more habitat, food and areas for nesting.

The day was a great success, with around 250 new trees put into place! YATZ also had a wonderful time, meeting new people, gaining new skills and doing their part for the conservation of this beautiful bird!

By Maddie, Imogen, Nataysia, Liz and Maya


Tuesday, 9th July- Red Panda YATZeD day

After a morning of theory, it was time for some practical work. We all went down to the Red Panda exhibit at the zoo to have a look at Seba and Mayhem, the zoo’s two Red Pandas. Alison, one of the carnivore keepers, told us some further information about the Red Pandas, before taking some very lucky YATZ on a behind the scenes experience, where we got to go into their exhibit and feed them some bamboo. It was such a great opportunity!
The Red Panda YATZeD day was definitely extremely exciting for everyone! Emma Dale, who works for the Red Panda Network came in to run the day, and we started the day by learning all about the Red Panda, such as their habitat, diet, threats and features. YATZ also learnt about the Red Panda Network and other organisations that are helping protect and conserve this amazing animal. To find out more, follow this link: http:/

Once we returned to the Education Centre, we were asked to come up with a small presentation about the Red Panda that we could go and show the Zoo Adventures, so that we could pass on what we had learnt throughout the day. YATZ had heaps of fun with the kids, and they all loved listening to what we had to say about Red Pandas.

To finish off the day, Emma told us about a very exciting upcoming trip to Nepal! This trip, called ‘EcoAdventure’ will be held during the Christmas holidays for three weeks, which ten very lucky people will be able to attend. The trip will be focused on doing research regarding Red Pandas in the wild, and how climate change is affecting the species. Some YATZ have already put their names down to go on the trip, and are all extremely excited.

By Maya Yaffe, YATZ member.

Wednesday 10th July- Campaigns YATZeD day

After this little introduction, Taronga Community Conservation Manager, Kira Husher, , came in to speak to all of us more in-depth about the campaigns the zoo runs. Kira explained why they are so important, the steps taken to get a campaign going, as well as talking about the current campaigns, and some campaign ideas that the zoo has. YATZ discussed some of the issues about wildlife that the zoo is currently addressing, such as the palm oil issue, and the illegal wildlife trade.
The campaigns YATZeD day was another great day full of learning. To start off the day, YATZ were taught about the community conservation campaigns that Taronga runs, and why they are so important to help the conservation of endangered species in the wild. As an activity, YATZ were asked to brainstorm a campaign for an endangered animal, and we all came up with some great ideas.

In the afternoon, everyone watched an episode from Taronga’s documentary series  Wildlife at the Zoo, which addressed the illegal wildlife trade. After watching the episode, YATZ were given a sheet where anyone could come up with a campaign proposal, and we had to make up a campaign idea that addressed some of the main threats to wildlife. We all found this to be a useful activity that really helped us in coming up with some great ideas!

Overall this was a brilliant day, which really helped make all us YATZ more aware about the threats towards wildlife, and what the zoo is doing in order to inform other people, and make them more active towards these issues.

By Maya Yaffe, YATZ member.

April 2013 YATZ holiday activities

These April school holidays YATZ had a great time contributing and helping out in and around the zoo! We all took part in many fun activities including YATZeD, Section, Zoo Adventures, Sydney Water campaigns, and a very exciting camping trip to Victoria to help out with the release of the endangered Regent Honeyeater.


YATZeD was held every day, each day being a different theme, some of which included Mammal Day, Animal Photography Day, Animal Enrichment Day, and much more. Everybody loved coming to the zoo for the day to participate in YATZeD, learnt a lot about animals and conservation, and had heaps of fun!


Section was definitely very popular amongst YATZ! Usually in the mornings for a few hours, YATZ came to the zoo and were allocated a division to work in e.g. Primates, Ungulates, Birds, Reptiles, Backyard to Bush, Bug house, Australian Mammals and Nocturnal animals. YATZ helped the keepers out with jobs such as cleaning, food preparation, keeper talks, feeding and anything else the keepers needed help with.

Zoo Adventures:

Zoo Adventures is a school holiday program for children aged 5-12 years. The kids participated in a range of fun activities around the zoo, such as craft, animal encounters and behind the scenes tours, and learnt loads about wildlife, conservation and other animals. YATZ spent the day with the kids, helped the hosts out by engaging them in fun activities, and making sure they had a great day out!

Sydney Water Campaign:

The zoo is involved in many campaigns that contribute to animal and environmental conservation. The aim is to educate the general public in ways which they can be sustainable, in order to give animals and the environment a brighter future. These holidays the focus was Sydney Water, and every day YATZ came to the zoo and engaged the public in different activities that gave them some knowledge about what Sydney Water does. Visitors also learnt about how they can be more sustainable, such as drinking tap water, and how to effectively manage the water in and around their homes. The visitors really enjoyed learning from YATZ, and YATZ found these activities very rewarding.

Regent Honeyeater trip:

A definite highlight of the holidays was the very exciting Regent Honeyeater trip! 15 YATZ were selected to spend a week in Chiltern, a small town located in Victoria, to assist in the release of 38 Regent Honeyeaters at Mt. Pilot National Park. These beautiful, critically endangered birds were bred at Taronga Zoo, which had prepared for years for this very special release.

YATZ arrived at Chiltern and assisted the keepers in preparing for the birds’ arrivals, such as setting up the large tents that acted as the Regents’ temporary homes, as well as setting up some tracking equipment. When the Regent Honeyeaters arrived, we were privileged enough to collect some of them from the airport, and were also lucky enough to witness the medical checks, as well as the fitting of the tracking equipment.

Over the next few days, YATZ spent their time working with local schools, and enjoyed educating the enthusiastic students about the Regent Honeyeater Project, and what they can do, both as individuals and a community in helping the birds around their area. The students benefited from our visit, and had a great time!

One of the most exciting moments of the trip was the release itself. Along with heaps of volunteers, members of Birdlife Australia and some zoo staff, YATZ watched as the birds gained confidence and flew out of the tents. What a sight!

This release was extremely significant and important for Regent Honeyeaters, and boosted their numbers in the wild. Currently, the released Regent Honeyeaters are thriving in their new homes, and there are still many volunteers tracking the birds.

The trip to Chiltern was by far one of the most memorable experiences for us YATZ that we had ever had!

To read the daily blogs of YATZ members, recounts on the days at the primary schools (written by the students), and more information on the Regent Honeyeater Project, click here

Overall, these school holidays were packed with great activities, learning, meeting new people, and having lots of fun for all YATZ members, and we are all looking forward to next holidays!

By Maya Yaffe, YATZ member.

January 2013 YATZ holiday activities

During the Summer school holidays YATZ members enjoyed a huge range of activities including:

  • YATZeD
  • Induction for new YATZ members
  • Zoo Adventures school holiday program
  • Dinosaurs in the Wild
  • Sustainable Seafood conservation campaign
  • Working with keeping sections

YATZeD is where loads of YATZ come together to learn about different things in and around the zoo such as the Careers day & the Invertebrate day. YATZeD also includes walks, bush regeneration, photography day, camps, excursions and more!

Induction for new YATZ members is a great way to meet new people & to get involved with the Zoo and learn what YATZ is all about. New YATZ should attend this activity.

Zoo Adventures holiday program  brings loads of young kids together for a great fun day at the zoo, helping kids learn about animals, wildlife and conservation & things to learn in everyday life. Kids engage in craft and also go behind the scenes to learn about the animals, ensuring that the kids have a really amazing day at the zoo!
YATZers help out with all of these activities so it’s a great activity if you love and enjoy working with kids!

Dinosaurs in the Wild: During Dinosaurs in the Wild, YATZ got to tell the public about animals becoming extinct and how we have the ability to save the species of today. All around the zoo were massive moving dinosaurs, so life-like!

Sustainable Seafood conservation campaign:  Campaigns can have a massive influence on the general public and visitors to the zoo. They can teach people how to care for the environment and the animals and their habitats, while learning about all these wonderful things. YATZ help kids to do art, have their face painted and other fun things. The Sustainable Seafood campaign aims to educate zoo guests about the different types of fish people are eating and how this affects the ocean and marine life. YATZ run activities that involve kids fishing in a baby pool with canned seafood-kids have to pick the right can that is based on sustainable seafood stocks. If kids ‘catch’ the right can they got a temporary tattoo!

Working on keeping section is where YATZ come in the morning and get given an area where zoo keepers need help e.g. Reptiles, Bird Show, Australian mammals, Nocturnal area and also Primates.
YATZ help with cleaning, feeding and also keeper talks, it gives you a sneak peek into what being a zoo keeper is all about. It’s really fun!

So these are all the things YATZ are involved in throughout the January holidays.  YATZ really enjoyed it all!

By Gemma Collinson, YATZ member

Friends on Facebook?

If you are a member and are on Facebook, you can ask to be our friend! Our name is YATZ at Zoo (yes YATZ was taken) and just make sure if you are using a different name write us a message to let us know who you are so we accept you.