Wilburton seventh and eighth Grade GEAR UP students recently visited the Tulsa Zoo. The 85-acre, non-profit Zoo is home to various types of wildlife. Students roamed, ran, and played while learning about various species.
The Zoo has many different exhibits with animals housed in recreated natural environments. The students explored several various exhibits such as the Robert J. LaFortune Wild Life Trek. This exhibit is a four-building complex that focuses on animals from around the world and their adaptations to life in the water, desert, forest, and cold. Students then visited the Helmerich Sea Lion Cove where they learned about the sea lion’s behaviors and eating habits.
Finally, the students visited the Lost Kingdom that houses the Malayan tigers, snow leopards, Chinese alligators, binturongs, and Komodo dragons. One of the newest addition to the Zoo, the Lost Kingdom, features many large, naturalistic, interactive habitats and spaces. GEAR UP students had a close view of all the animals in this exhibit.
The students said their favorite exhibits were the chimpanzees, lions, tortoises, elephants, and giraffes. GEAR UP students reported learning about these animals in some of their science classes. They enjoyed seeing these animals in their habitats and learning about their habits.
“Educational tours are an important part of Eastern’s GEAR UP program,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Tara Martin.
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. In 2017, Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and serves over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.