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School is back in session for most local kids, so you know what time it is: field trip time! Our Education team designed new field trip programming with the overall goal of creating experiences that fit the Florida School System’s science standards as well as our own mission.

Teachers will be able to choose the program they feel best meets their needs, said Dee Maynard, the Zoo’s Supervisor of Youth Programs. The different field trip experiences will also be showcased at our Teacher Open House in September.

Four students line up outside of a fenceThese adventures provide everything from guided walking explorations through each Zoo loop to interactive explorations in one location. All our field trips are focused on a different age group and topic.

Our Zoo educators use a “roadmap” designed by a fellow zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to plan all our programming, including our field trips. This document is arranged in sections, each focused on a different theme that correlates to Brevard Zoo’s mission and goals. These themes include Zoology, Ecology, Human Dimension of the Environment, and The Nature of Science. Within each section are concepts attached to grade-specific science standards and guiding questions.

A print of a leopard foot“Using these concepts as a starting point, we then design programs that include current educational practices, multisensory exploration, and animal encounters that are appropriate for the age of the participants and the desired learning outcomes,” Dee said.

Brevard Zoo strives to be a support and resource for local teachers. Florida has several science standards that teachers must cover in each grade. Our Education staff has looked closely at these standards, evaluating and redesigning each of our programs to make sure we are focusing on these standards.

“Although we do not ‘teach to the test,’ we do recognize that teachers are more likely to participate in field trips that help their students meet the school’s learning goals, so we make sure to prioritize the needs of the teachers alongside the needs of the Zoo,” Dee said.

Our “EdZoocation” programs help students and teachers focus on a few key concepts to enhance their learning experience throughout the day. After participating in our Amazing Adaptations program, for example, students are encouraged to look more closely at the animals they meet in their exploration of the Zoo loops to identify adaptations and how they help the animal survive in its environment.

“In addition, many of our field trip programs include the opportunity to meet several of our animal ambassadors, giving students an up-close experience that introduces them to animals they might never encounter otherwise,” Dee said.

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.