Summer is a very busy season for the zoo’s education department. While it is often difficult to keep track of all the programs the department in coordinating, from stage shows and Overnight Safaris to summer camp classes and Tea & Tours, we can always count on the smiling faces of the camp teachers and education staff, many who we have watched grow over the years as they continue to return every summer. We are excited that the familiar face of Lauren Fong has returned once again to Sacramento Zoo’s summer camp.
Lauren Fong began working as a camp counselor at the Sacramento Zoo in 2009. One of her friends convinced her that it would not only be fun (because who does not want to work at the zoo!) but it would also fulfill community service hours. However, for Lauren it was about more than just community service, it was about learning to get out of her comfort zone and meet other kids from different high schools. Over her three years as a counselor, she gained many memories and also many skills that helped her through her college years and into her current job as recycling coordinator at Waste Management.
According to Lauren “working at the Sacramento Zoo’s Summer Camp program plays a big role on the skills I gained to do my job at Waste Management as the recycling coordinator. I do mostly outreach and I educate different customers in cities in Sacramento County about recycling laws and different ways they can implement them in their businesses.”
After three years as a counselor, in the summer of 2013 Lauren was asked if she wanted to work as a teachers assistant at the college she was attending. It was an opportunity she could not pass up, however, she missed summer camp, “over such a short period you feel like you become part of a summer camp family”. In 2016, after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Environmental Sciences, she returned to summer camp at the Sacramento Zoo to work as a teacher. For Lauren, it felt like she had come full circle since those summers as a camp counselor.
“Over the years working at the summer camp I started to grow at the idea of becoming a teacher,” said Lauren. “I love educating the kids about different animals, but I like to focus on conservation and how they can play a big part in helping save animals from extinction and helping our planet too. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that the Sacramento Zoo summer camp gave to me over these past six years and cannot wait to return this summer to teach again!”
If you see Lauren this summer be sure to say hello!