Our Community Engagement team has been working since 2005 to make the Institute’s scientific staff and facilities available to challenge, engage, and inspire students from middle school to college. In our state-of-the-art Conservation Education Lab and Eddy Family Outdoor Learning Lab, students, teachers, and community members have direct experience with research scientists, gain access to powerful research tools, and are involved in lessons that connect them to the science of conservation in new and exciting ways.

Our approach provides the opportunity to share a full, in-depth look at the work of conservation biology and the many fields of study that help guide conservation decision-making. Our specialized facilities offer the chance to work firsthand with the tools and techniques used in conserving endangered species. All of our programs are developmentally appropriate, relevant to real-world problems, and emphasize understanding through inquiry.

Field Trips

The Community Engagement team offers a 2.5 hour lab field trip program, titled Exploring Conservation Science, to interested science teachers and their classes. This program is open to all interested middle school, high school, and undergraduate classes, and includes visits to both the Institute for Conservation Research and the adjacent San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, CA. For more information, please refer to our Program and Module Packets.

​​Program Contact: conservationeducation@sandiegozoo.org

Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science

Our professional development workshops for middle school and high school science teachers began with 12 participants in the summer of 2006. A dozen high school life science teachers from all over Southern California were invited to the Beckman Center for Conservation Research to experience a week in the life of a conservation scientist. The pilot program focused on the conservation history and recovery of the California condor, and was designed to bring topics of conservation science into local classrooms.

Over a decade later, we have built a nationally recognized and fully accredited program with a stellar reputation for giving teachers access to unparalleled information and experiences. To date, we have trained more than 1000 middle and high school science teachers and informal science educators from all 50 states and nine other countries. Participants spend their days in intensive study in the Conservation Education Lab and their evenings at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, engaging with staff members and acquiring invaluable new skills to take back to their home campuses. During the workshop, teachers work together to frame content standards in the context of wildlife conservation and explore ways to challenge students to apply textbook knowledge of life science to current biodiversity challenges. Participants engage in activities that focus on critical issues facing endangered species using a variety of advanced technical tools and techniques; all activities support the Next Generation Science Standards and can be implemented back in the classroom. Our grant-funded scholarships for this residential program include all meals and lodging, and a $500 stipend paid upon completion of the full program.

Decisions for our 2018 program were sent via email on Friday, April 20th 2018. Applications for our 2019 program will open in January of 2019. If you have any questions or concerns, please email teacherworkshops@sandiegozoo.org

Program Contact: teacherworkshops@sandiegozoo.org