Lions and tigers and bears " heck, yeah! The Oklahoma City Zoo is looking for teens who want to work closely with animal friends in the "Junior Curator" program.

The program, which lasts around a year beginning in September, takes teens 14-18 years old and places them side by side by with members of the zoo staff. While direct contact with animals will not be allowed, kids will assist in feedings, including:
" preparing diets and putting them out for the animals,
" participating in special events and
" assisting at the education center.

"In education, we have some outreach animals that from time to time, they get to assist in working with those, as well," said Lizabeth Ogle, naturalist instructor and volunteer coordinator.

Teens also will help in the aquarium, as well as in the reptile and bird departments. Some of the junior curators go on to be part-time staff members and help with summer camps.

"Occasionally, they do come back as keepers. Some of our keeper staff started here as teen volunteers," Ogle said. "The future of the animals is not only taking care of the animals now, but also helping to help to foster that compassion and the care for the animals."

Only 35 junior curators are accepted into the program each year. Applications are now being taken and are due by June 30. For more information, call 425-0275. "CJ Macklin

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