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By: Brenda, Director of Education and Volunteers, Audubon Zoo
They’re back!! The yellow busses and school children are back! I love October because I know it is the return of the school children and field trips. A zoo is a lonely place without people and August and September can be pretty depressing around here. Today the busses were lined up for drop-offs and the gates were filled with kids in uniforms and chaperones with name tags. I love it!
Field trips are important, not only for their economic impact on zoos and aquariums, but because they provide multi-sensory learning and experiences. A classroom or computer can never replace the sights, smells and sounds of real live animals. You can’t touch a snake on power point or gauge the actual size of an elephant from a DVD. Field trips extend learning by expanding a child's world and provide a framework for learning. In recent years Audubon Zoo and other zoos across the country have seen a drastic reduction in field trip reservations. This is due in part to rising fuel prices, budget cuts and the current standards-driven accountability movement. School leaders (mistakenly) think that they need more instructional time in the classroom and do not understand the relevance of enriching and expanding the curriculum with a field trip.
A zoo, aquarium or insectarium is a living library. We are here to educate, we are here to make a lasting impact. I am giving a shout-out to all involved. School administrators, please let your teachers visit zoos and aquariums. Teachers, please plan a trip even though it is a lot of hassle and very tiring and you return back to school with a very large headache. Parents, hand over the money when the teachers ask-your child is worth it. Philanthropists, give your money to fund field trips and really make a difference in children’s lives.
We want to see those busses coming and hear the children’s excited squeals as they run through the zoo. Field trips are a highlight of the school year for most children, it certainly was for me and my family. Whether it is the zoo, the aquarium or even a trip to a grocery store, children can learn more about the world and how to interact with others when they leave the protected environment of the classroom.
Click here for more information on booking field trips at Audubon Nature Institute and come visit us real soon!.