Youth Advisory Council

Youth Advisory Council

Roger Williams Park Zoo values the input, perspectives, and leadership of its community’s youth and is seeking a diverse group of individuals ages 16-21 to join the RWPZ Youth Advisory Council. 

The Roger Williams Park Zoo Youth Advisory Council will inform future RWPZ initiatives by providing thoughtful feedback and a unique perspective.  Members will serve as a voice for youth within the Zoo and community.  Youth Advisory Council members will collaborate to lead, design, and execute various initiatives and projects that will positively impact the Zoo, community, animals, and the environment. 

Participation in the RWPZ Youth Advisory Council requires a commitment of 2 years with participation in an orientation weekend January 19 & 20, 2019 and meetings every Sunday.  Participation in the council is unpaid.

The application period is now open for the 2020 season. Application forms can be found at the links below:

Youth Advisory Council 2020 Member Application

Youth Advisory Council 2020 Member Recommendation

If you are interested in applying for this program, please contact

Applications must be received no later than November 22, 2019. 

Meet Our Current Members
Get to know our talented bunch of Youth Advisory Council Members.
Melanie Reyes

What would you ask your pet if you had a reasonable chance of getting an answer from them?

I would ask my dog if there are ghosts living in the house?

Person you would most like to have dinner with?

Gordon Ramsey.  I want to see and hear his rants while we’re eating.

What is the greatest invention of all time?  Why?

Musical instruments.  If you add music to anything, it makes it better.

Emmy Berriman

What do you see as the role of Zoos?

I see the role of zoos as a sanctuary for animals and for education.  Zoos offer a safe haven to animals who have been rescued and/or are endangered, as well as a way to educate the public about animal that they might not see in their everyday lives and about conservation.  Zoos play an extremely important role when it comes to keeping our planet and animals safe.

Greatest invention of all time:

The printing press because it allows for the spread/development of books and newspapers and eventually many other inventions that ultimately brought about serious progress through history.

What’s the dumbest thing you have ever done?

I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life, but probably the time I decided to try to learn to flip a bat in the air and catch it by the handle, but instead hit myself super hard in the face, is the dumbest. 

Corey Pierce

What do you see as the role of Zoos?

Zoos provide species with a unique chance to outlast the challenges facing them in the wild, safe from poaching, logging, and disease.  With this, the survival of these great creatures can be ensured for future generations.

Favorite rainy day activity?  Sleep!

Emma Robertson

What is your favorite rainy day activity?

Go for a jog in the rain (weird, I know).

Dumbest thing you ever did? 

When on Block Island, I was riding my bike down a steep hill.  I tried to reach for my phone in the front basket of my bike right as I hit a bump in the road.  I FLEW over the handle bars and broke my collarbone and fractured my neck.  Don’t try to bike and text, kids!

What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

The greatest invention of all time is the automatic treat-giving robot with a built in camera so you can see and talk to your pet while you’re not home!

Olivia Massotti

What do you see as the role of zoos?

The role of zoos is to educate and inspire youth to be aware and active in the preservation of animals that we share this earth with.

What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

Medicines and vaccines because without those, people would die before they had the chance to invent other useful things.

Do you have a weird or useless talent?

I am double jointed in both my thumbs and can easily positon them perpendicular to my pointer finger by popping the thumb out its socket.

Jaden McCarthy

What do you see as the role of zoos?

Zoos are an amazing resource for people of all ages. Zoos preserve threatened and endangered species and educate the population about what is happening and what they can do to help. They connect people with animals that they would never be able to see in the wild and inspires them to help with conservation efforts.

Who would you most like to have dinner with (can be living or deceased)

Jane Goodall, because she devoted her life to animals and speaking for them.

What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

Planes, they opened the average person up to world by providing fast and relatively affordable travel.

Katie Kuhl

What is your favorite rainy day activity?

My favorite rainy day activity is staying in snuggling with my puppies watching Harry Potter. Nothing beats staying dry, getting cuddled, and watching the BEST movie series!

Who would you most like to have dinner with (can be living or deceased)

If I could have dinner with any person in the world, it'd be Steve Irwin. I grew up watching his shows and his dedication to wildlife preservation truly inspired me to be the person I am now.

What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

The greatest invention of all time is golden retriever Instagram accounts. I could spend hours watching funny videos of golden retriever voice-overs and of them just running around.

Hannah Wood

Who would you most like to have dinner with (can be living or deceased)?

I would love to have dinner with Elizabeth Cady Stanton because of what accomplishments she achieved for women’s rights. I would love to be able to talk about the platform she gave so many and the influence and impact she’s had on me.

What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?

Best invention would be smart phones. It gives you the world in your pocket. I could have a conversation with someone halfway across the world and look at an article about something else all at the same time. It’s helped us become more intelligent and forward thinking because you get to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise get to. This also helps with families moving apart. There is a less of a strain because at any moment you can video call them and they are there.

Do you have a weird or useless talent?

I can play hot cross buns on the recorder… I don’t know many real life scenarios where that would help anyone.

Youth Advisory Council Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of participating in the Roger Williams Park Zoo Youth Advisory Council?

Participation in the RWPZ Youth Advisory Council (RWPZ YAC) is a unique opportunity for youth, ages 16 – 21, to influence RWPZ’s impact locally and nationally. Members of the RWPZ YAC provide feedback on various initiatives and issues to RWPZ leadership while also collaborating with other council members to lead projects that will positively impact the Zoo, the community, animals, and the environment. In doing so, members gain valuable experience, as well as personal and professional skills as they engage in:

  • Dialogue with RWPZ leadership
  • Collaboration with other teens
  • Special tours at RWPZ
  • Meetings designed to enhance leadership, professional development, and life skills.
  • Organizing and leading projects and events
  • Potentially fulfill school-required Community Service Hours
What is the time commitment for members of the RWPZ YAC?

The RWPZ YAC requires a two year commitment, with one meeting per weekMeetings will be Sunday afternoons at RWPZ and/or via virtual video and project collaboration platforms.  Participation in yearly orientation weekends (January 19 and 20 in 2019) is mandatory.  In addition, between meetings members will frequently collaborate in sub-committees on project work.

Are members of the RWPZ YAC paid?

No. Participation in the RWPZ YAC is unpaid.

Do I need to know a lot about Roger Williams Park Zoo in order to become a member of the RWPZ YAC?

Not at all. Youth selected to serve on the RWPZ YAC do not need to be experts on Roger Williams Park Zoo, animals, or the environment. However, members do need to have an interest in learning more about the Zoo and a passion for making a positive contribution.

Where can I find out more information about Roger Williams Park Zoo?