OAKLAND -- A youth program that trains youngsters tohelp improve the environment and the quality of life for people and animals has honored about 150 teenagers who volunteer at the Oakland Zoo.

Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program is honoring the Oakland Zoo's Teen Wild Guides program as the "group of the month" for November. Goodall, now 78, is best know for her studies of wild chimpanzee behavior in Tanzania.

The teens are being recognized for their "outstanding and creative projects focusing on wildlife conservation,'' zoo officials said. The program was chosen from more than 1,000 groups around the nation.

Over the years, the group has raised money for conservation organizations worldwide, created teen-led events at the zoo, educated the public about the illegal pet trade and assisted in sending thousands of pencils to students in Africa for use in environmental education.

Founded in 1991 by Goodall and a group of Tanzanian students, the Roots & Shoots program is about making positive change happen for communities, for animals and for the environment. The program works with hundreds of thousands of young people in more than 120 countries.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.



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