The Education for Conservation model is driven by five key themes: conservation, pedagogy, unique opportunities, curriculum, and capacity. For conservation, all programs engage schools with one or more of Zoos Victoria’s conservation campaigns. For pedagogy, onsite programs are challenged- based and promote the values of inquiry-based learning. For unique opportunities, schools explore the whole zoo property and engage in at least six animal encounters that are unique to Zoos Victoria. For curriculum, programs link to learning outcomes specified in the Victorian Curriculum and promote the application of higher-level learning (e.g., analysis and evaluation of knowledge). Finally, for capacity, programs are designed to broaden Zoos Victoria’s reach, including by increasing visitation and offering professional learning opportunities for educators.
These themes are brought together in activities that foster transformative student experiences both onsite at Zoos Victoria properties, and offsite through opportunities to join the Fighting Extinction Schools community.
Onsite experiences: 1000 students = 1000 different journeys. Empowering students is a key feature of Education for Conservation, and is embedded in the design of the student experience at Zoos Victoria. Over the course of a day’s visit, students are invited to explore all parts of
Zoos Victoria’s properties through purposeful, challenge-based learning that aims to inspire independence, curiosity, and problem-solving.
Offsite experiences: Connection, collaboration and celebration. Improved access to conservation teaching resources, specialist education officers, and a teacher membership program through Education for Conservation means there are now more opportunities for schools to engage with Zoos Victoria’s conservation work, both before and after a visit. These have allowed the development of stronger relationships between schools and Zoos Victoria, as well as the formation of the Fighting Extinction Schools community.