Posted on 18th April 2011 by Media Relations
The Youth At The Zoo program,
or YATZ, is comprised of almost 600 enthusiastic Australian kids, passionate
about educating the public about wildlife conservation. Boral YATZ has been running
for 10 years, passionately promoting awareness about conservation concerns by
running different environmental activities throughout
the year that the teenagers get involved in and the annual Eco Fair which is held by the kids at the Zoo. Today is
the day before the fair kicks off its three
day course and the YATZ volunteers are clearly excited. This is actually the
first year that the fair has been held for multiple
days rather than a one day event, and
as I ask them questions about YATZ and the impending Eco Fair, it is clear that
these guys are thrilled to be a part of this educational program.
What exactly is the YATZ program?
Jess: We’re a volunteer group
of 13 to 19-year-olds who come to the Zoo,
mostly during school holidays. We’re all about learning how to sustain the
future of the environment of the country where we live.
So what role does YATZ play in the Eco Fair that’s
Jess: We basically run it.
Ryan: We’ll be there all day
helping to set up stalls and handing out fliers. We also try to talk to people
about the campaigns that are running, like the ‘Gorilla Campaign’. It’s a
pretty fun day.
Jess: The Gorilla Campaign
pushes for the recycling of mobile phones.
What are some of the other campaigns that you run?
Ryan: The ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’
campaign was really successful. We raised a lot of awareness about how the
natural habitats of a lot of different animals are being jeopardised through
palm oil plantations.
Jess: Some food companies changed their recipes so that they didn’t
include palm oil anymore.
Ryan: The ‘Sustainable
Seafood’ one is really important as well. Most people don’t know about the
problem of overfishing. The (fishing) methods that get used today will actually
wipe out a lot of fish by 2050 and that needs to stop.
You guys seem to be really successful in raising
awareness about these issues. So who comes to the Eco Fair?
Jess: It’s not just the
community who come down. A lot of our sponsors come down to hear what we have
to say, and to talk to us about anything that they want done too.
Josh: Boral is our major
sponsor. We have the logo sewn onto our shirts!
Jess: Sydney Water are also
usually there. Then there’s NRMA and other youth organisations that are
passionate about conservation like the AYCC (Australian Youth Climate
Coalition) and SYCAN (Sydney Youth Climate Action Network) are pretty big.
Great! Lastly, can you tell us about what activities
will be happening at the fair?
Ryan: Face painting is always
really popular. There’s also a big raffle and we hand out fliers about the
campaigns being run.
Jess: We also do
science-based activities like collecting Tassie Devil genes, and learning about
what specific genes do.
Josh: The Aboriginal
Education Officers are also doing singing and weaving demonstrations…
Jess: I wish we could do a
Josh: You could do a one-man
The YATZ Eco Fair runs from Tuesday the 19th
of April to Thursday the 21st at Taronga Zoo's Backyard to Bush environmental exhibit. YATZ also recently took part in 'Clean Up Australia Day'. See their video below.