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Shaping champions for conservation who are inspired and empowered to make their world better for wildlife and wild places.

Conservation Champions Festival 2023

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo's Conservation Champions program invites young people to join us in our mission to sustain wildlife and wild places.

Incorporating aspects of field study, inquiry and service learning, this program gives young people the opportunity to explore their passion and take action for the natural world around them. The program culminates in our Conservation Champions Festival on May 3 - 4, 2023.

From sea otters to swift foxes, polar bears to giraffes, students will become conservation educators for the day. Student displays will be throughout the zoo and the garden of champions will be "planted" the same day featuring all the videos created by the attending classes. Come join us in celebrating the Conservation Champions of 2023.

See below for our previous years Conservation Champions' videos!


Become a Conservation Champion!

Our 2023 festival has a few more spots, register now so you don't miss out! We will be welcoming more than 1200 students on May 3 & 4, 2023. If you are interested in joining our mission to sustain wildlife and wild places for the 2023-2024 school year, please email [email protected] for more information. Classes must be enrolled in a school program for the 2023-2024 academic year to register for the 2024 Conservation Champions Festival!

Conservation Champions Festival 2022

Last year's Conservation Champions Festival showcased 19 classes from 12 school who spent the year learning about a conservation topic of their choice! The festival had three parts: 

Conservation Champions Online Classroom
January 10 - May 31, 2022

Conservation Champions Festival 
May 4, 2022

Conservation Champions: Garden of Champions 
May 1 - September 30, 2022

Conservation Champions Festival 2021

The 2021 Conservation Champions Festival celebrated the conservation action of 635 students in 31 classes from 19 schools around Alberta! Congratulations to all of them! The festival had two parts: 

Conservation Champions ZOOmFEST
June 9, 2021

Conservation Champions FilmFEST
June 30 - September 30, 2020

Additional Info/Links

Four children in yellow t-shirt that say Conservation Champions holding up their pollinator seed paper

Not Just Onlookers: Valuing Youth Voice in Conservation Action

AZA Conservation Education Committee Newsletter, Fall 2019

“It’s for the fish!”seven-year-old Cassidy exclaimed when asked why she is so passionate about decreasing the use of single-use plastics in her community. As the Calgary Zoo’s first cohort of Conservation Champions, Cassidy and 401 other young people gathered in June for our first Conservation Champions Festival. The showcase featured interactive displays, dramatic performances and a variety of activities highlighting how each student had contributed to the zoo’s mission to take and inspire action to sustain wildlife and wild places.

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Four children looking at a project about batteries and their impact on conservation

Creating Conservation Champions

AZA Connect Magazine, Jan 2020

On a lovely soggy day in June, 402 passionate young people gathered at the Calgary Zoo for the first annual Conservation Champions Festival. The zoo’s Festival Hall overflowed with a diverse spectrum of projects and the sounds of their student designers enlightening zoo visitors with expertise and enthusiasm. Projects included a dramatization about the endangered Mountain Bongo, storybooks written to inspire compassion for nature in younger students, and community awareness campaigns on pollinator protection, alternatives to single-use plastics, and the interconnectedness of all living things. 

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Thank You

Conservation Champions Festival was generously supported in part by the Shaw Charity Classic and the Birdies for Kids program.  


The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo is passionate about wildlife conservation

We are an internationally recognized leader in the science of saving endangered species. Your support of the zoo means you’re also being a conservation champion!