Zoo Teen Anna Starts Environmental Club

Anna started an organization at her school and also is in the Zoo Teen program at the Phoenix Zoo. We see great things in Anna’s future!

What kinds of activities and programs are you involved in outside of school?

I’m pretty involved inside and outside of school. In the summer and fall I played beach volleyball in a women’s league and right now I’m playing varsity soccer for school. I am also a member of National Honors Society and the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. This school year I founded the Protect Our Environment Club. In addition, this is my second year volunteering as a “Zoo Teen” at the Phoenix Zoo, where I am currently on the Conservation Team.

What was your motivation for starting the Protect Our Environment Club (POE) at Horizon Honors High School and what does the organization do?

In seventh and eighth grade, I attended St. John Bosco Catholic School (SJB). SJB was ranked one of the best schools in the state for recycling and we took great pride in caring for our ecosystem by picking up trash and growing a vegetable garden. At Horizon Honors, I was disappointed that our school only recycled paper in the classrooms, and there was only one general recycling bin outside the gym. Inspired by my SJB Science teacher, Ms. Whalen, I decided to try to make a difference. I met with the school principal about the issue, and she suggested creating a club for Horizon Honors students who cared about the environment as much as I do. I founded the POE Club with the help of my friend Kamryn Chan, and many students have joined. Currently, our club has purchased two large recycling bins for the high school and middle school areas, and after winter break, we are going to hold a competition between the grades to see who can recycle the most!

Tell us about your work at the Phoenix Zoo.

This is my second year in the “Zoo Teen” program at the Phoenix Zoo. My first year I worked as a Trail Teen, in which I taught zoo guests about different animal species using artifacts and interactive activities. This year, I was accepted onto the zoo’s Conservation Team. The Conservation Team educates zoo guests about endangered species and the Phoenix Zoo’s ongoing conservation efforts. We count native Arizona fish for population surveys and help restore habitats for plant and animal species. Hopefully, I will go on a field assignment sometime this year to count black­footed ferrets!

What are your plans for the future?

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to be a veterinarian. I still have that dream, but the zoo has inspired me to want to specialize as a zoo vet. Next year I will be able to apply to the Animal Care Center at the Phoenix Zoo, where I will work side­by­side with a zoo veterinarian. Even if I don’t become a veterinarian, I think I would be happy in any scientific, medical, or conservation field. Science has always been my favorite subject, and I keep my eyes open to any cool careers I come across.

Anna is a junior at Horizon Honors High School.



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