Climate Action Learning & Leadership Program!
Introducing the CALL Program: Empowering Change through Action
In the world of conservation science, a stark reality persists: marginalized communities bear the majority of the burden from climate change while being under-represented.
The CALL Program is a dynamic initiative rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) principles. Our mission is to engage and inspire youth from marginalized communities (low-income neighbourhoods, Black/Indigenous/People of Colour, and new Canadians) to combat climate change.
In a world marked by socioeconomic inequalities, marginalized youth often find themselves deprived of exposure to conservation science. As a result, they remain unaware of the diverse range of careers available or are discouraged from pursuing an education in conservation. This perpetuates a cycle where their potential contributions to conservation are untapped and underutilized.
By providing unique experiences, the CALL Program raises awareness of climate change and provides conservation science career opportunities. A key aspect is equipping participants with the knowledge and skills to create their own climate change projects within their communities. Together with community partners, the CALL Program fosters collaboration, igniting a ripple effect of transformative action. Join us in this empowering journey of change.
For questions or queries, please email [email protected]
Building Leadership through Climate Action Internships
- Duration: 12 weeks, small group of 4 people for an immersive experience.
- Paid internship program.
- Application available to the general public.
- Zoo experience: Interns will explore areas of the zoo like Wildlife Care, Wildlife Health, Nutrition, Exhibit Design, Reproductive Science, Conservation, Horticulture, and Learning & Engagement.
The CALL Intern Program is a 12-week paid internship for youth looking to get a better understanding of the various career options in conservation. The CALL Interns work in various areas of the Zoo, for example, nutrition, horticulture, wildlife care, and conservation programs, to gain valuable work experience, and knowledge and build transferrable skills. Leadership skills and communication skills will be developed through engaging others (guests, Zoo Members, their community, and online followers) about the program, their experiences, and conservation. Various platforms of interactions help them develop organizational/planning skills through designing/delivering programming (e.g. on/off-site events/ virtual broadcasts) and engaging audiences in activities related to conservation. A few of the CALL interns from 2021 have since been employed in other positions at the Toronto Zoo, and a few are continuing on by pursuing higher education in the field of conservation.
Spotlight: Featured CALL Intern Project and Profile
One of the impactful projects created by our talented CALL interns is the "Eat Stay Love" mural. This visually striking artwork is designed to capture the attention of all who see it, sparking curiosity about the urgent issue of climate change. Through captivating imagery, the mural tells a compelling story about the impact of climate change on polar bears. It depicts their diminishing habitats, disrupted food sources, and the significant challenges they face in reproduction. The primary goal of this project is to utilize art as a powerful medium to communicate climate change messages to the public. As visitors explore the underwater polar bear viewing area, they will have an immersive aesthetic experience enriched by the mural.
Our talented artist and CALL Spring 2023 Intern, Quratulain Shahzad, highlights the significance of the extensive efforts undertaken by the various departments at the Toronto Zoo. In particular, she emphasizes her passion for the conservation projects department and the vital role it plays in preserving wildlife and their habitats. Quratulain's dedication and enthusiasm shine through as she shares her insights on the impactful work carried out at the zoo.
Engaging Climate Action Champions
(Ages 13 to 17)
- Duration: 2-4 weeks (July and August), 10-15 participants per session.
- Coordinated bus transportation provided, lunch and snacks included.
- Application exclusive for youth part of four community partners: Woodgreen, Storefront, Native Child & Family Services, Toronto Community Housing.
- Zoo experience: Participants learn about biodiversity, climate change, and its impact on wildlife from Zoo staff.
- Youth are awarded prizes and track engagement with Zoo guests.
- Additional Opportunities: Integration into the Volunteer Program at the Toronto Zoo and other partner organizations after the program.
The Youth Climate Action Champions program, for ages 13-16, is a 2-week experience where the youth learn from Zoo staff about biodiversity and climate change, and their impacts on wildlife. A key aspect of this program is also having the youth work together in small teams, under the guidance of Zoo staff, to create and deliver action-oriented projects. These have involved hosting multiple onsite events for Zoo guests including info booths and trivia games. The goal of the program is that these experiences will flow into additional opportunities for these youth e.g. integrating them into our Volunteer program at the Toronto Zoo/other partner volunteer opportunities, and further provide them with hands-on experiences when applying for positions at the Zoo or other like-minded organizations committed to protecting biodiversity.
Three of the many projects designed by our CALL youth:
On Thin Ice: The youth developed the On Thin Ice app and used it to educate the public about how climate change is disrupting the delicate balance of life in the Arctic. The Arctic is warming at a rate of almost two times the global average. Shrinking sea ice is a huge problem for Arctic wildlife, especially polar bears. The app helps understand the struggles of polar bears and the arctic wildlife with climate change on the rise.
Team Tiger: The youth focused on the Sumatran tigers for their project, educating the public on the species, current threats they are facing (ex. Palm oil production and climate change), and how you can take action to help them at home.
Pollution Project: The youth focused on educating the public about the impacts of pollution on aquatic species. They hosted their project in the Americas pavilion and gave short presentations about their topic, showed visitors their materials (poster, pamphlets and an art piece), and gave out prizes to guests who participated in a round of trivia (they created different levels for different ages).
Recap of cohort 1 of the 2023 CALL Youth Champions Program. In partnership with East Scarborough Storefront.
Recap of cohort 3 of the 2023 CALL Youth Champions Program. In partnership with WoodGreen Community Services.
“The CALL Program was a very great program that has taught me a lot about climate change and environment conservation. I enjoyed touring around the zoo and learning about the different animals, how endangered they are, and how we can protect them. All around, I loved every single day and everyone I worked with during the program. I have learned a lot, and I'm so grateful for the experience.”
Laura – CALL Engaging Climate Action Champions Participant 2023
“The CALL program was a great opportunity to learn about climate change, its impacts, and what we can do to help. I enjoyed the culminating project as I got to learn more about my peers while using critical thinking skills to problem solve. As COVID impacted my confidence in public speaking, through the CALL, I attained new public speaking skills. Additionally, I enjoyed the team-building tasks as I learned to be a stronger leader.”
Faith – CALL Engaging Climate Action Champions Participant 2023
“Everything about the program was great! Our AMAZING CALL mentors … were more than amazing. They were with us every step of the way, and they definitely made our time at the zoo more exciting. They brought in so many guests and introduced us to so many people, all of which gave us a very blessed experience.”
Azan – CALL Engaging Climate Action Champions Participant 2021
“CALL internship was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about animals and climate change. I always wanted to do something about climate change and animal conservation, but I was unable to do something about it due to a lack of opportunity in my community. Thanks to the CALL internship I was able to meet lots of amazing people at the Toronto Zoo. Who taught me a lot about climate change and conservation. I am grateful to them. Because of the CALL internship, I feel like I am better equipped for the future and many other climate change challenges we might face in the future. Thank you CALL Program for giving me this amazing opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time.”
Farhan – CALL Building Leadership through Climate Action Intern 2021
“Through the CALL Youth Program, I was able to improve my communication skills. Improve my knowledge on climate change and wildlife, and was introduced to many jobs in the community.”
Recyer – CALL Engaging Climate Action Champions Participant 2022