Conservation Education Programming on and off Zoo Grounds
Charged with providing diverse educational and high quality recreational experiences that inspire guests to create a better future for wildlife, the Education Department utilizes a wide variety of opportunities and resources. Our passionate staff and nearly 500 dedicated volunteers work tirelessly to provide exciting educational opportunities for every guest. Each year the Zoo hosts more than 1,000,000 guests, approximately 600,000 of whom engage in an impromptu educational encounter with a staff member or volunteer. Additionally, formal education programs such as camps, overnights, classes and trips providemore than 84,000 hours of formal conservation education each year.
We strive to inspire our guests to connect with nature and to work for a better future for wildlife and wild places. We incorporate a conservation message into everything we do at the Zoo. We use three types of conservation education messages to do this:
- Nature Messages – By sharing fun facts and stories about animals and their habitats we hope to increase awareness and share our passion for living things and their environment.
- Zoo Messages – We love to share the wonderful things that YOUR San Antonio Zoo does to help wild animals in wild places, and helping guests understand the active role all zoos take in local and global conservation.
- YOU Messages – With You messages, we help people understand the impact humans can have on the environment and empower them to take positive action for animals and the environment.
Below are just a few of the Zoo’s programs with a strong emphasis on YOU messages where our Zoo community makes a difference.
Citizen science initiatives such as Frogwatch, Monarch Larval Survey, Monarch Tagging and Wild Bird Population Identification Studies. The Zoo and its volunteers contribute nearly 1,000 man hours annually surveying and reporting native wildlife population data for projects.
When helping with habitat restoration at Bracken Cave, Zoo staff, youth volunteers and docents help native wildlife, like the endangered golden cheeked warbler, and assist Bat Conservation International in preparing this amazing site for other guests. They also experience first-hand the world’s largest known bat cave and the awe-inspiring evening bat flight of between 10 and 18 million bats!
In partnership with the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, the Zoo educates guests, staff and volunteers on how and why to choose sustainable seafood by participating in the Seafood Watch program. Volunteers and staff work daily at interpretive carts throughout the summer and exhibits to educate our guests about this amazing project, and approximately 5,000 sustainable seafood pocket guides are distributed annually.
Our educators at the Caterpillar Flight School allow guests to get up-close and personal with exotic and native butterflies, teaching guests about the importance of butterflies and inspiring them to take action. The Caterpillar Flight School is dedicated to conservation of native and exotic species. We only purchase butterfly/moth pupa that are farmed through practices that make strong positive impacts for wildlife and all proceeds from the butterfly house benefit wildlife conservation.
We are always evaluating our existing programs and finding new ways to inspire our guests. Here at the Zoo we constantly strive to serve our mission, inspiring ourselves and our guests through our conservation education programs. Come and join us!
Want to find out more about our great education programs? Click here.
Want to get involved? Learn more about our volunteer programs here.