Westerville Central High School senior Emma Snyder was part of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Summit Squad, a group of youth conservation leaders who helped plan and present the Teen ECO Summit on Jan. 13.
The virtual event featured guest speakers, workshops and presentations from teens such as Snyder who have worked on sustainability projects.
She created a video presentation on palm oil and its impact on orangutans, which has been featured on the zoo’s Facebook and Instagram platforms. (You can also watch the video here.)
“I enjoyed the opportunity to help push the conservation message and hopefully, it will make a difference,” she said.
Snyder has volunteered at the zoo since she was 13, participating in the ZooAide program and logging in more than 70 hours each summer. She became a regional aide for the North American area of the zoo where she worked behind the scenes with keepers while also maintaining ZooAide hours.
She was also one of three student volunteers to be invited to participate in a Conservation Mentorship Program. She chose Australia and the Islands, spending hours meeting with region docents and zoo staff to develop conservation messages for zoo guests and researching what other zoos do to make guests aware of the importance of conservation.