Education ProgramsBringing the Zoo to YOU!

March 1, 2016

Even when the weather is cold and dreary, the Education Department at the Virginia Zoo is still teaching programs and sharing our animal ambassadors to audiences! During winter months, we can bring a little bit of the zoo to local schools with our outreach programs. These programs are some of the most fun that I have as an educator at the Virginia Zoo.

The most recent outreach program I went on was to a local school in Norfolk for a third grade class. The program that I was leading focused on predator and prey relationships. I started out the program by bringing out an example of a predator, our grey rat snake, Gandalf. After we learn about predators, we start into an activity where the students get to help me pick some adaptations that would be helpful for the predator’s prey to have in order to keep from getting eaten!

I am always so impressed by the reasoning behind the students’ answers during this activity because they will support their decisions with examples that they have learned about in previous science classes, or even from previous trips to the zoo. After the class talked about prey adaptations, they were so excited to get to meet a prey animal, one of our domestic rabbits, Max.

As the weather starts getting nicer, we offer programs like this one onsite at the zoo. I love teaching these programs because teachers and chaperones get the added bonus of talking about what the class just learned about as they hike through the zoo. So if meeting some animal ambassadors and learning about what makes them unique sounds like something your class would like to do, come by! Our Education Department would love to introduce them to you!

Nicole Miller
Programs Assistant, Education Department