Job Experience Program – St Louis Zoo, USA
One of my main goals for this experience was to witness how education is received by zoo patrons of a different region, in order to create a more universal education experience at my home zoo. Not only is the city of St. Louis proud to support their zoo, there is an enormous amount of active participation in education programs. I was able to witness school group educators using animal ambassadors in zoo classrooms, view biofacts and artifacts at exhibits, and learn about creating long distance learning opportunities through education kits and virtual classrooms. My home institution hopes to improve our use of biofacts and artifacts by further incorporating them into displays at exhibits to create a more interactive and tangible learning experience. We also plan to look into how we too may use technology to reach audiences that are unable to visit the zoo by giving them an equally enriching and educational experience through video chat and online resources.
This job experience has provided me with excellent resources to develop programs to
increase community involvement in local conservation. During a litter pick up around Forest Park, I met educators collaborating with the Missouri Stream Team focusing on creating healthier rivers for healthier oceans. During a meeting at the Institute for Conservation Medicine, I learned about community involved box turtle tracking which allows children to foster a relationship with nature while contributing to research. Using these resources, I plan to look into similar projects in Massachusetts to see how our institution may be able to facilitate community participation in local conservation.
Thank you to St. Louis Zoo, and your one of a kind Education Department, for opening
your doors to me. Everyone I encountered was so willing to provide resources and speak on their roles and background. This genuine desire to improve education and the natural world makes me so proud to be in the same field as you lovely people. A special thanks to superwoman herself, Kimberly Hoormann for leaving no question unanswered and no request unheard. You made this experience more than I could have dreamed, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. May we all continue to change the world for the better.