NORFOLK, VA – New technology has recently given the Virginia Zoo the chance to not only reach people in Hampton Roads, but also those far away – even as far away as Canada.
The Zoo is working with Exploring by the Seat of Your Pant, an organization that brings science, adventure and conservation into classrooms across the United States and Canada by facilitating virtual field trips with leading experts from around the world. Each field trip is hosted through Google hangouts and allows scientists from around the world to present their work and answer live questions from the classes to which they are virtually connected.
In September, the Zoo kicked off the program sharing its reptiles through a video chat with classrooms of Kindergarteners through 7th graders from five different U.S. states and one Canadian province. In October, the Zoo presented some of its amphibians to a new group of eager-to-learn students. Last month, the Zoo offered students the opportunity to ask questions to a Zoo Keeper who oversees its African exhibit.
“The biggest benefit of the program is that it allows students from many different localities and backgrounds the access to people and places that otherwise may be inaccessible to them,” said Michelle Lewis, Virginia Zoo Education Manager. “Many students and school districts are unable to take field trips due to funding or the lack of a Zoo or other similar institution within field-trip distance. By partnering with Exploring By the Seat of Your Pants, the Virginia Zoo is able to connect students to amazing animals that they may otherwise never get a chance to see,” Lewis added.
Thanks to the popularity and success of the program, the Virginia Zoo is scheduled to give monthly presentations with different animal groups each time. If you are interested in having your class participate in a Google hangout and ask questions, then visit http://www.explorebytheseat.com/ for more information on how a virtual classroom works and be sure to apply for the program and register for the next session.
About the Virginia Zoo
The Virginia Zoo, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is home to more than 700 exceptional animals representing over 100 fascinating species. Founded in 1901 and residing on 53 beautifully landscaped acres, the Virginia Zoo has demonstrated a commitment to saving and protecting the world’s wildlife by inspiring a passion for nature and taking conservation action at home and around the world. The Virginia Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in education, recreation, science, wildlife conservation, and animal care and welfare. For more than a century, the Zoo has connected adults, families and school children with the natural world and its wildlife. To learn more, visit www.virginiazoo.org.