Amur Leopard at Brookfield Zoo

Legacy of Learning
Since Brookfield Zoo opened its doors to the public in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had a legacy of educating the public about environmental conservation. The Conservation, Education and Training (CET) staff at Brookfield Zoo is continuing the tradition by incorporating an innovative learning strategy to create a variety of programs for students, parents, teachers, and other community conservationists. As part of the new Center for Conservation Leadership, educational programs are designed to not only to inform and entertain, but to teach students about their responsibilities as world citizens and to inspire them to enter scientific fields.

In hopes of preserving the world’s natural habitats and resources for future generations, the Center will continue to expand these outreach efforts and bring the message of environmental stewardship to the broader community, informing and inspiring new audiences.

Sea Otter at Brookfield ZooConservation Starts with Families and Schools— Are you ready for an adventure in learning? Each year, the Conservation, Education and Training (CET) program serves over 220,000 students and hundreds of families. Families find fun and adventure in Zoo Classes while school groups learn through our exciting Connections Classes. In addition to our programs for individuals, for schools and instructor-led programs to accompany zoo visits. CET provides Teacher Resources including curriculum guides and videos. Chicago Public School teachers have access to training, conferences, and school partnerships all geared towards improving teachers’ competency and confidence in teaching science. Learn more about school field trips, teacher classes, and other resources designed to enhance your school’s curricula.

Children petting Goat at Brookfield ZooCommunity Outreach—Our Youth Conservation & Science Leadership Program offers a sequence of scientific discovery for toddlers to teenagers. Known as Career Ladder for Youth, these programs have provided in-depth experiences for more than 5,000 individuals to date. The program consists of sequential steps designed around individual interests and strengths combined with rewarding opportunities for discovery. Youth climbing the Career Ladder start with the family-based Zoo Adventure Passport (ZAP!) program, move on to the after-school Kids’ Club, the high school Youth Conservation & Science Corps, and may eventually progress to paid positions, internships and a Women’s Board College Scholarship.

Find out about Brookfield Zoo's self-guided Zoo World Patch program for scouts, after-school clubs, or check out how the zoo works to bring educational programming to some nearby suburbs and neighborhoods. Teachers and group leaders can also discover more about the Chicago Zoological Society’s award-winning accessibility program.


2013 Recipients Honored

Conservation Leadership Awards

Recognized for their significant impact on conservation efforts locally and around the globe, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, honored three recipients with its 2013 Conservation Leadership Awards. The awards were presented to the Getz Family, Walgreen Co. and Randall Wells, Ph.D., of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.
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Leading the Field