Conservation Education Materials

The AZA Conservation Education Committee (CEC) 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.

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.

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 www.batcon.org/aza.

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.


Climate Disruption and Polar Bears

Polar Bears International (PBI), an AZA Conservation Partner, is happy to share a plethora of resources on a range of topics that support national literacy standards and learning outcomes for specific school districts. Apple Learning Interchange programs, which include educator created lessons and activities rich with movies, images, webcast archives, expert videos, and challenge-based  and inter-disciplinary lessons, include:

Professional polar bear and AZA scientist interview videos, which address a range of topics about polar bears, sea ice, and climate change are available for download by contacting PBI. These include:

  • "A Reason for Hope" by Dr. Ronald S. Swaisgood, Director of Animal Ecology, San Diego Zoo
  • "Polar Bear Maternity Dens" by Dr. Tom Smith, Polar Bear Biologist, Brigham Young University
  • "Polar Bears and Climate Change" by Dr. Andy Derocher, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Alberta, Past Chair IUCN of Polar Bear Specialist Group
  • "Up Close with Polar Bears" by Dr. Steven C. Amstrup, Polar Bear Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey

Additional polar bear and arctic habitat educational materials, created by teachers and zoo educators, include:

Elephant Messages

The AZA Elephant Taxon Advisory Group and Species Survival Plan® Program identified several topics about elephant ecology, behavior, and the ways in which AZA-accredited zoos care for them are raised. Several supporting statements are provided for each topic to promote consistent messaging. Download the Elephant Messages (pdf).

Ecological Footprint Education Activities

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

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.

PetWatch is an online resource modeled after the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch 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.

SMILE: Science & Math Informal Learning Educators

Be sure to check out howtosmile.org – a new Web portal created by UC-Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and funded by the National Science Foundation. Howtosmile.org serves educators and others who teach school-aged children in museum-based programs, zoos, aquaria, planetariums, libraries, science festivals, camps, clubs and homes. Howtosmile.org 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 howtosmile.org blog and on Facebook.


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