STEM Pipeline Blog / February 3, 2023
Learning about Conservation and Nature at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo
At the Saginaw Children’s Zoo, we know that our biggest draw is our wonderful animal collection. During our open season, we have so many chances to learn and connect with animals and conservation, such as our scheduled Keeper Chats that give visitors the opportunity to learn about the animals that they love directly from the people who take care of them every day!
Coffee and Conservation Program
Education doesn’t stop when the weather gets cold, though! This year we launched our Coffee and Conservation program with a series of monthly chats about conservation programs in which the Zoo is involved. Our first chat took place in November, where I talked specifically about what our Zoo does to support conservation. Other talks included a presentation from our Animal Curator, Sarah Colman, about how Zoos worldwide are working to save animals from extinction, and a conference call with members from the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), the organization we have chosen for 2023 round-up donations in our gift shop. To learn more about their organization, please visit their website: https://sanccob.co.za/.
Our Coffee and Conservation chats are available for educators to stream in their classrooms via Zoom, and the videos the videos are also available for viewing on the Zoo’s website. This month we will hear from the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, a wonderful species success story!
Animal Themed Event Days
Last fall we hosted our first animal themed event day since the COVID-19 outbreak – International Vulture Awareness Day. The event featured a book club for adults, a story time for little ones, and activity stations where visitors could learn fun facts about vultures and how to help to conserve them. We are in the middle of the planning process for World Penguin Day which we will be celebrating this summer, and we hope to roll out even more event days during the open season. Check out our website or Facebook page to stay up to date on our upcoming events.
Schools and the Zoo
While our Zoo is an extremely popular location for field trips in the springtime, we are also very excited to be rolling out our Living Learning Lab program in November 2023. This program brings 3rd grade classrooms to the Zoo for a morning of STEM based learning about zoo animals. They get to participate in fun activities, such as a journaling exercise where they get to explore an area of the Zoo and write about what they see, hear, and experience.
As a full-time veterinarian at the Zoo, I am responsible for the health and care of all the animals who call our Zoo home. This requires taking care of our animals when they are sick, but also preventative health such as vaccination, checking fecal samples for parasites, and scheduling routine check-ups and dental care. In veterinary school, we learned a lot about domestic animals – cats, dogs, cows, horses. Learning about zoo animals required another four years of training after veterinary school with a zoo internship and zoo residency. Future veterinarians and anyone else who is curious can check out our viewing window to the vet clinic, where we typically schedule an animal evaluation every weekday. Check out our Facebook page to see who is scheduled for an exam that week.
Written by: Shannon Cerveny DVM, Dipl. ACZM
**The Saginaw Children’s Zoo is a participant in the STEM Passport. Learn more about the organization and other upcoming events by visiting https://bit.ly/STEMpassport2022
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