Conservation Leadership Program at Brookfield Zoo

Track Your Science Career

Whether exploring the natural backwoods of Illinois, talking to zoo guests about dolphins, or researching penguin DNA, the Chicago Zoological Society's Career Ladder has something for you!

Youth from the Chicagoland area are taking advantage of the Career Ladder to learn about the zoo’s animals and exhibits, make new friends, go to different natural areas and cool places, and get connected with jobs in the summer. Kids and teens make their way through Brookfield Zoo, following their own interests and enthusiasm.

There are currently five rungs on the Career Ladder:

First Rung:
ZAP!—Zoo Adventure Passport!
(Open to families with children ages 3-12)
Come join the fun at the Chicago Public Library (Rudy Lozano, and West Belmont branches only) to explore our world through games, fun activities, and crafts. You'll receive a passport at the first program which you can get stamped each time you come to ZAP! Attend three or more programs to be invited to attend Brookfield Zoo on ZAP! Family Days.

Second Rung:
KIDS (Kids Investigating Diverse Sciences)
(Open to students grades 6-8)
Join a KIDS at the Chicago Public Library (Rudy Lozano and West Belmont branches only) or the Maywood Public Library to participate in fun, hands-on science and nature-related activities. All KIDS activities are free, and members meet once a month, from October through April. Each location has up to 15 participants.

Third Rung:
Conservation Science Scholars Program--Learn, Serve and Achieve with Brookfield Zoo
(Open to students entering grades 9-11)
A new way for teens to learn more about the natural world while building college readiness and career skills. Through engaging hands-on workshops and experiences, volunteer opportunities at Brookfield Zoo, research and communicat action projects, teens will gain confidence, knoweldge and life skills all while having fun and making friends. 

Fourth Rung:
Paid Positions
—Career Ladder teens are encouraged to apply for any open position with CZS if they meet the requirements. Each year, a limited number of positions within the Conservation, Education & Training department are held open only for students who have successfully participated in our teen programs.

Final Rung:
College Scholarships
—As a Career Ladder member who is majoring in a conservation-related field, you can apply for special scholarships awarded by the Chicago Zoological Society’s Women’s Board and other supporters when availalbe.

Brookfield Zoo is a great place to learn about careers in conservation, help our guests, and learn more about this planet’s wildest and most diverse animals while making a ton of new friends.