Wednesday - June 20, 2018
Zoo Receives Grant for Environmental Literacy
Written by Bruce Ferrell   
Friday, 12 January 2018 11:55

ASHEBORO  -- The North Carolina Zoo is honored to announce it has received a $75,000 grant from Wells Fargo to launch a new program to improve environmental literacy in our state’s schools.

“Environmental education is central to our mission,” says Beth Folta, the Zoo’s curator of education. “This generous grant from Wells Fargo, made possible through the considerable efforts of the N.C. Zoo Society, will enable us to create a program of lessons and materials that link Zoo field trips—both in person and virtual—to the North Carolina state learning standards to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).”

Folta says there are three principal goals:

1) Provide compelling teacher-guided learning experiences that increase the understanding of wildlife, the environment, sustainability and conservation for visiting statewide elementary school groups (the majority of current field trips);

2) Create a distance-learning program for middle and high-school classes that uses virtual onsite experiences for less-frequent field trip visitors;

3) Increase the number of students who visit the Zoo annually to participate in free educational field trips. (Organized school groups can visit the Zoo for free once a year if they contact the Zoo in advance.)

“For the on-site program, we’ll create lessons that revolve around hands-on activities and/or real world observations,” Folta says. “Each lesson will focus on a specific area in the Zoo. To supplement the lessons, we’ll develop ‘inquiry packs’ that include tools, artifacts, handouts and other materials that will further engage students and offer additional opportunities to learn using the Zoo’s facilities.

“And for the off-site program, we’ll produce a series of interactive social media or webinar events that’ll be accompanied by hands-on activities teachers can do in the classroom or the schoolyard, titled ‘Living with Nature.’ ”

The program’s formal launch date will be announced later this year, Folta said. Initially, lessons and activities will be pilot-tested through the Zoo’s existing partnership with the Asheboro City Schools and, in particular, Zoo School, an on-site public high school whose students assist with programs.

“Based on our observations and student/teacher feedback, we’ll adjust the curriculum prior to rolling out the program,” says Folta. “We’re excited to see how this program can support teaching science and environmental literacy in North Carolina, and we’re grateful to Wells Fargo for providing us with this opportunity.”

 

 
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