Conservation is Cultural
When we think of conservation, animals and plants are usually the first things that come to mind—and understandably so. But the real secret to conservation is people. Education takes many forms, from learning about little things we can do in our daily lives, to making an impact in local communities, to setting up education programs around the world, we are dedicated to saving plant and animal species across the globe by empowering people right where they are.
Here in San Diego, we travel to local hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, connecting people of all ages with wildlife. We can tell stories all day long, but there's nothing like looking an animal square in the eye to drive home the threat of extinction and the impact of conservation. When we combine these face-to-face encounters with tips for sustainability that helps save species, change begins to happen. Our local education camps, sleepovers, and education programs (on- and off-site) offer even more opportunities to connect with wildlife and learn about the impact of conservation. Our education programs also align with Next Generation Science and Common Core State Standards.
Online & In the Hospital
When children are too ill to visit in person, we bring the smiles to them. Broadcasting in children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses around the world, the San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers a chance for pediatric patients to learn more about animals, connect with wildlife, and “escape” from their hospital rooms when they need it the most. This innovative closed-circuit television channel is now streaming in over 110 locations, in 5 different countries—with more soon to come. Some of that content is available on the San Diego Zoo Kids YouTube channel now, too! With quizzes about animals and their habitats, inside looks, fun facts, surprises, and plenty of wildlife encounters of all stripes, these videos have something for everyone. And wherever future conservationists are, the San Diego Zoo Kids website is available 24/7. Budding conservationists will discover new favorite games, crafts, live animal cams, animal facts, insight on caring for animals, and so much more to help them understand and embrace wildlife.
Across the World
Conservation is cultural, and we work in many communities around the world to help foster relationships between locals and wildlife that ultimately help children in those areas. For example, we work in Kenya helping local pastoralists and their domesticated flocks live peacefully alongside the wildlife that they used to compete with. By managing pastures and resources in this way, we see other benefits such as ecotourism, and new opportunities for families to earn additional income as wildlife populations return to the region and local people find new employment. Conservancies like this also provide better security with antipoaching patrols, and allow us to build health clinics and schools. All these benefits flow from conservation programs, helping these communities take ownership and protect the wildlife on their lands. Before these education programs came to the area, some locals had never before interacted with local wildlife. In the Samburu community, we’ve helped build programs that allow local children to experience Kenya’s incredible wildlife firsthand. These community-based initiatives help people and wildlife thrive for generations to come. Education takes many forms, and it’s the answer for the future—for people and wildlife alike.