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Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens opened in 1966 and is currently home to more than 1,400 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Their mission is to create an environment in which the Los Angeles community can discover, learn, and appreciate wildlife.

Since 2008, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) has provided groups of students and Zoo employees the opportunity to participate on an Earthwatch expedition, thanks to funding from an individual donor. The goal of this partnership is to provide a rewarding experience for hard-working high school students who volunteer as docents at the zoo throughout the year and to offer a reenergizing professional development opportunity to zoo staff. Both staff and students are able to get out of their comfort zones, connect with nature, and contribute valuable data to conservation efforts around the world. As of 2019, this program has sponsored over 87 students and 39 adult Zoo mentors, sending them to 9 countries to study wildlife.


This trip easily surpassed my eager anticipations. I became more knowledgeable about biology, excited about careers in science, and closer to a distant culture. I made life-long friends among those who shared in my adventures.

Suzanne Bernard  — Program Participant


Earthwatch depends on donations—above and beyond what we raise from volunteers who participate on our expeditions—in order to deliver our global conservation mission. In fact, volunteer contributions provide only half of the total resources Earthwatch needs to sustain over 40 field research expeditions, a wide variety of educational programs, corporate sustainability trainings, and more each year.