State of Education: Zoo camp
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In the midst of winter break, there's a place kids can go: the zoo, or more specifically zoo camp.
Educational Assistant Justin Horender said, "Today's theme is birds, and we're doing a little bit of mystery with birds. One of our older animals has gone missing, and it's our job to find them today."
Which make it another eventful day at the Utica Zoo. After a little classroom instruction, the field trip begins. These young students are able to experience a taste of wildlife, whether it's visiting the sea lions, the snowy white owl, or even the spider monkeys.
Horender said, "It may not be for everybody to sit here and learn about it on paper, but when you bring an animal into the classroom or bring a kid to an animal, it's a whole new experience. It gets so much more excitement for them.
There's also a lesson in conservation.
Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath said, "Conservation is one third of our mission, a very important part of our mission and this area teaches children about the importance of recycling plastic bags and not letting them become litter."
It's also good to keep students focused during winter break. This can help when it's time to return to school next week. Who knows, for some, it may even influence a career path later in life.
Heath said, "When they're here at the zoo, they can learn about different things, like vet tech, veterinarian medicine, environmental science, farming, so really their career may be born from these educational experiences while they're out of school here at the Utica Zoo."
High school students can even volunteer here, a great experience for any budding veterinarian. And whether it's visiting Sherlock the fox, learning about Frida, the red tailed hawk, or even naming an animal track, there's a lot to lean in a day in the "wild" life.
Heath said, "Not only do we have our zoo camp, our preschool program, our homeschool program, but we also have lots and lots of different field trips that come out here from schools and organizations and special classes."
A learning adventure for all ages.