Youth at the Zoo

Youth at the Zoo

Taronga’s Youth at the Zoo program (YATZ) gives teens the opportunity to learn more about how our Zoos operate, develop skills for the future and spend time with like-minded people who share a passion for animals and conservation.

The program, proudly supported by Boral, is open to teens aged 13 – 19 years old. Members will have the opportunity to take part in a range of training programs, volunteer their time with our Guest Services team or at Special Events, take part in campaigns, interact with Zoo guests, attend Social Nights and so much more. 

As our YATZ get older they can even put up their hand for additional responsibilities like training for our overnight programs, or becoming a Leader or Mentor for younger YATZ.  

Members will develop important skills in communication, both in person and via email as they manage their availability with the YATZ Coordinator via our online Volunteer Management System called Volgistics. 

NOTE: The Boral YATZ program does not guarantee anytime with keepers or animals and cannot be used as hours towards TAFE NSW or Taronga Training Institute courses in Animal Husbandry. Read more about what the YATZ program can be counted toward. In some case Boral YATZ may be able to help you with Duke Of Edinburgh Service Hours requirements but there are many things to consider. Read more about these considerations.

Due to the popularity of the program, applications are opened twice yearly, in May and November. To receive information about the next round of applications, you must first join the waitlist for the Sydney or Dubbo program. 

NOTE: You are more than welcome to join the waitlist to apply if you are under 13, but you must be 13 years of age or older when you apply. 

Sydney applications

Please use the Expression of Interest form to add your name to the Expressions of Interest list for the next intake, typically May and November each year. 

Please note this allows us to contact you and invite you to apply at a later date and is not a wait list or confirmed application. You should receive a confirmation email once adding your contact details to the form – if you do not – please carefully check your email Junk Box as it means you may not receive emails from us inviting you to apply

Sydney expressions of interest - please complete and submit the form to apply.

Dubbo applications

Please email the YATZ Coordinator directly at to inquire and please mention “Taronga Western Plains Zoo” in the subject line.

YATZ and external programs

In some case Boral YATZ may be able to help you with Duke Of Edinburgh Service Hours requirements but there are many things to consider.

Can YATZ count towards Duke of Ed Service hours?


Some activities within YATZ are considered appropriate for Duke of Ed Service hours. These include Section, Campaigns, Zoo Adventures, Guest Experience Operations. YATZeDs online or onsite, and YATZeXs do not count.

As YATZ Coordinators, we are also happy to be your Duke of Ed Assessors. However, the Boral YATZ program does not support the required weekly service hours format, i.e. 1 hour a week for 12 weeks, that is typically required particularly in the Bronze level. And we cannot promise you will get enough shifts/activities to get the required hours.

As most YATZ hours are accumulated within a block over school holidays, we may be able to assist you if your DoE Facilitator (usually a teacher in your school) allows you to average out your hours across a 12 week period. The Duke of Ed Award Coordinators have stated to us that they permit this, despite it being not strictly in their formula and format. You will need to talk with your DoE Facilitator to approve this process. Please provide our contacts details if your Facilitator needs to talk with us about this process.

If YATZ cannot help you and your Facilitator do not allow you to average out hours, you could look into Parkrun Australia. Parkrun Australia is a not for profit weekly timed running race that is manned and coordinated by volunteers and every week they need race marshals, time keepers and record keepers. Read more information on the Parkrun Australia website.