For the bulk of us, spending vast amounts of time in school, or any amount for that matter, is a chore. There are all the books, the pens, the paper, the notes, and the forever dreaded homework. It’s all a bunch of hard work, right?
JeNae Olson, an educator at the San Diego Zoo, might just change your mind.
As an educator in at the San Diego Zoo, her goal is simple: to interpret the Zoo and its conservation strategies for everyday people so that they can bring the conservation message home. Olson uses a unique, more interactive, teaching style that ties her students directly to the animals. She hopes that by connecting people with animals they will find it easier to understand the urgency of the Zoo’s conservation efforts and will take part themselves.
The Education Department is the parent to several other programs that include tours, school field trips, and summer camps. School in the Park is an education program that offers three weeks of class at the zoo to local students. This program allows students to study as if they were in school, but with the interactive learning style only found at the Zoo. These students learn the importance of preserving our environment while still receiving a one of a kind classroom experience. Students are encouraged to relate recycling to animals so that they can have a more concrete way of understanding the importance of reusing our planets resources.
The Education Department is a way for the Zoo to bring its efforts to the community. The educators are in charge of finding creative ways to emphasize the importance of community, and even global, conservation. As a community member, one of the easiest ways to do this, as obvious as it may sound, is to recycle. Recycling efficiently reuses resources that may be harmful to otherwise obtain and reduces the need for more of these resources. There are many everyday items, such as bottles and cans, which can be recycled and picked up by the San Diego Environmental Services once a week.
By reducing the need for more resources, we can potentially save the homes of many animals. Trees that house countless species are cut down every day for paper, and when plastic and aluminum sit in landfills for too long they emit toxins that are absorbed into the ground and waterways. These toxins, as well as being poisonous to plants and animals, contribute to global pollution and the possibility of global warming. Also, reusing resources we already have helps us to independently produce our own consumer goods, which is vitally important for the nation’s economy.
The Education Department at our Zoo helps everyday people understand the importance of environmental preservation. Preservation that can help plants, animals, and people thrive.