Capstone: Educating Zoo Guests

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Abstract: I have loved animals ever since I received my first pet, a dog named Rex. After going on a class trip to the zoo, my interest sprung beyond the point of return. I remember a zoo worker telling my first grade class about ways to help animals in the wild. At that young age, I never realized that certain animals species were in danger of going extinct. However, I did know that it was by obligation to spend my lifetime helping them. When I heard that we would be doing a capstone project, I senses that it would be the perfect opportunity to spread my conservation ideas to people that were willing to help. The obvious place to do this was at the place that I spent my tenth grade ILP, the Philadelphia Zoo. It was my hope that the zoo and I could work together to learn more about zoo visitor statistics and improve the experience of the zoo's educational program accordingly. Thus, I would record the amount of engaged zoo visitors (based on my definition of engaged) at select "exploration stations" scattered throughout the zoo. To compliment this, I took notes on the exploration stations themselves, recording whether information about the animal in discussion was presented in a visual, audio, or other type of format and how successful it seemed to be. After completing this project, I was able to share my useful data with the zoo, which allowed them to take advantage of it for future education methods.