Service Learning

Empower your students to become engaged citizens and environmental stewards through service learning. In these programs, students develop their own community service project involving water resources in their community, and the impact that these resources have on wildlife and people. These programs are taught in partnership between Denver Zoo staff, the classroom teacher, and, for high schools in the Denver Water Service area, also Denver Water staff. Teachers receive supplemental lessons and materials to provide students with the background knowledge and guidance necessary to create a successful service-learning experience! All Denver Zoo instructor-facilitated programs include live animals!
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Dates & Times

Dates and start times vary, according to your scheduling needs and our availability. Offered year round, seven days a week.  Each lesson is 1 hour in length. Field trip lengths vary.



  • Water Warriors: $400 for first program, $250 for each additional consecutive program.
  • Water Stewards: $450 for first program, $375 each additional consecutive program.
  • Water Sustainability with Denver Water: $780 per program.

Call for pricing outside of SCFD.


Scholarships available, apply during registration. More information on Access to Awe Scholarships can be found here.

Program Information

Water Warriors Community Leadership Program

Grades 3rd – 6th

How does your water measure up?  Students explore and analyze water use and pollution in their community.  Then, young leaders clean up their community and educate people about water pollution, which may involve marking storm drains, hanging up flyers to educate people about their water, or creating upcycled art to inspire and educate others to keep waterways clean.  Students will leave the program feeling connected to local and global ecosystems and empowered to help keep local and worldwide water clean. Denver Zoo facilitates two lessons, and provides teacher support (including a teacher meeting), curriculum, and materials for 7 lessons.

Water Stewards

Grades 9th – 12th

Empower your students to become engaged citizens and environmental stewards by incorporating a better understanding of water and its role in a sustainable lifestyle.  Denver Zoo staff facilitate two lessons (one with live animals, one project-based) and provide ongoing teacher support, curriculum, and materials for 8 lessons.  Past projects have included water audits at the students’ school or in their community, community education and clean-up projects, and native plant landscape planning.   Project selection is driven by student interest and ability, and students take complete ownership of the final product. To see a program overview, click here.

Water Sustainability Program with Denver Water

Grades 9th – 12th

This special program is limited to schools located in the Denver Water service area, and includes field trips to Denver Zoo and Denver Water’s Recycled Water Plant. Empower your students to become engaged citizens and environmental stewards by incorporating a better understanding of water and its role in a sustainable lifestyle.  Denver Zoo and Denver Water staff facilitate nine lessons (including two field trips), and the teacher facilitates two lessons.  Denver Zoo provides ongoing teacher and student support to guide students through the development of their own community project. Enthusiastic high school environmental science classes or classes whose goals are to engage students in hands-on, inquiry-driven, community and career-based programming are a great match for the program.  Click here for a program overview. Transportation costs for field trips to Denver Water and Denver Zoo are reimbursed by Denver Water! This program has 11 lessons to be facilitated over approximately a 10-18 week period. We encourage you to plan and submit an application for this program far in advance.  Before registering on-line, please fill out this application and submit to Kara Polansky at


Read about the impact this program had on students and their community here!


  • Please register on-line. If you have registration questions, please call 720-337-1634 or email
  • Please register at least THREE weeks in advance of earliest desired program date.
  • Payment is required at least THREE weeks in advance of first program date.
  • Requested dates are not guaranteed until confirmed by Denver Zoo.
  • Register for the last program date only, and you will be contacted to set up additional dates for the teacher meeting and the other zoo-facilitated program date.
  • Maximum of 30 participants per class. If you have more than this, you will be charged for another class.
  • Layovers of more than one hour between programs are not permitted.
  • Consecutive programs should take place in the same location.
  • Programs canceled or rescheduled with less than three weeks notice before the scheduled program date will be charged 50% of the total cost.  Denver Zoo Scholarship Funds do not apply to any cancellation fees.

Additional Information

Due to the nature of live animals, Denver Zoo Outreach cannot guarantee which animals are at any program.
Animals in programs may eat nuts. Be aware of allergies.
  • Teacher(s) will receive a loan box with all materials and an inventory list.
  • It is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure all materials are in the loan box and all are returned to the zoo. If items are missing the teacher will be charged for the missing items.  The loan box must be returned to The Boettcher Welcome Center at Denver Zoo no later than 2 weeks after the project day. 
  • A $50 refundable deposit is required at the teacher meeting. This is not included in the program cost and will be returned once the loan box is returned to the zoo with all materials included.
  • Denver Zoo staff will work with the teacher to schedule a meeting to outline the program and teacher-facilitated curriculum, discuss logistics for projects, etc.
  • Programs will take place indoors and outdoors

Denver Zoo Outreach space requirements:

  • Ground level or elevator access.
  • An unloading and parking area close to the program location, with access for a rolling cart
  • At least 1 large table (6-8 feet preferred)
  • An adult representative in the room during the program who actively engages students in their learning and assists with behavior management
  • No other activities in room during both setup and presentation
  • No food or drink
  • No other animals
  • Presenter will arrive 15-30 minutes prior to program start time to set up.
  • For more information, contact Tim Luethke, tluethke@denverzoo.orgor by phone 720-337-1609.