Thematic Educational Activities

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Thematic Educational Activities

The AZA Conservation Education Committee has compiled thematic educational activities that have been developed by educators at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. These resources focus on topics of conservation concern and are designed to provide ideas and inspiration for AZA-accredited zoo and aquarium education program or summer camp development and to assist with their planning for special AZA annual conservation initiatives.

Bat Education Activities

The United Nations (UNEP) declared 2012 as International Year of the Bat (YOTB) and  zoos and aquariums joined the celebration and continue to raise awareness of bats and engage the public in their conservation.  Bat Conservation International developed an Events Suitcase, containing the following downloadable activities.  More information and materials are available from

Live Webcast from Bracken Bat Cave
A live electronic field trip was held on September 18, 2012, at the Bracken Bat Cave near San Antonio, Texas, which is the summer home of the world's largest bat colony. Watch millions of bats emerge from the cave at BatsLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure.


SMILE: Science & Math Informal Learning Educators

Be sure to check out – a new Web portal created by UC-Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and funded by the National Science Foundation. serves educators and others who teach school-aged children in museum-based programs, zoos, aquaria, planetariums, libraries, science festivals, camps, clubs and homes. includes thousands of freely accessible online interactive activities that include lesson plans, field trips, how-to videos, and online games. Users can narrow search results by age range, subject area, resource type, material costs, learning time, and source institution. You can earn badges and points for participating. Sign up for the newsletter and keep up via the blog, and on Facebook.

Orangutan Conservation Education Activities

Are you an educator looking for new, innovative, and fun ways to teach kids about the importance of orangutan conservation? The AZA Orangutan Species Survival Plan® (SSP) has compiled materials to aid educators in accessing constructive and engaging materials from one centralized interface. The materials provided are suitable for incorporation into a variety of educational settings. Resources are not grade specific, but they are labeled for grade congruence when applicable. The activities encompass videos and a variety of lesson plans that will encourage students to examine, question, and analyze the pressing matter of orangutan conservation.

Amphibian Education Activities

The AZA Conservation Education Committee, Amphibian Taxonomic Advisory Group, and a Year of the Frog Task Force have developed a variety of activities to raise awareness about amphibian declines and engage the public in their conservation efforts. These resources, some of which are presented in Spanish and at different difficulty levels, are meant to be used and adapted (please keep the AZA logo intact), as appropriate, for amphibian-themed educational efforts. Read more about Amphibian Education Activities.

Ecological Footprint Education Activities

An extensive Matrix of Ecological Footprint Education Resources (pdf) and a variety of related education activities has been developed to help raise awareness about ecological footprints and engage the public in their reduction efforts. Read more about Ecological Footprint Education Activities.

Proper Pet Education Activities

Education activities relating to Why Wild Animals Do Not Make Good Pets have been developed to help raise awareness about the complex behavioral, social, physical, nutritional, health care, and psychological needs wild animals possess and to encourage the public to select proper pets. Read more about Proper Pet Education Activities.

PetWatch is an online resource modeled after the Monterey Bay Aquarium's SeafoodWatch program that provides consumers with a science-based list of the Best, Fair and Worst choices of exotic pets based on extensive research aimed at protecting native wildlife and resources, global biodiversity and public health. Check out the Switzer Network News video for more information.