Canadian GEAR UP Students Tour the Tulsa Zoo

Sixty Canadian tenth and eleventh-grade GEAR UP students recently visited the U 2 Zoo program at the Tulsa Zoo. The tour began in the Event Center, where the group was greeted by Private Event Coordinator Karen Williamson and Education Manager Chris Young. Students learned about different career paths at the zoo. The careers ranged from being an admissions attendant, a zookeeper to administrative jobs to keep the zoo operating. Young then presented an in-depth look at the process behind exhibit design for the animals so that the Tulsa Zoo can meet the needs of these three groups-the animals, zookeepers, and the public. A critical factor among all three is safety. Animals need to have a safe real-life replicating environment while the zookeepers and the public require a safe way to care for and interact with them.   Students learned about specific needs that zookeepers consider when caring for so many animals. Some of these needs included hot versus cold climates to wet versus dry climates for particular animals. Students were even able to meet one of the snake Ambassadors from the zoo, and those brave enough were able to touch him. Students were able to ask questions during the program and given additional time at the conclusion when they were also allowed to get a closer look at some of the other animals.   After completing the U 2 Zoo program, students toured the 85acre non-profit zoo, which celebrates more than 90 years of providing family-friendly recreation, natural sciences education, and wildlife conservation. Students enjoyed exploring the zoo and getting to see the animals up close in their environment. Students were able to make their way through the different areas of the zoo, including the Lost Kingdom, Life in the Cold, Life in the Desert, Life in the Forrest, Life in the Water, and the Rainforest, to observe many different types of animals. Many of the students even stopped and enjoyed time at the Children’s Zoo while petting some animals.   These students were excited to see the animals in their habitat and learn more in-depth about these animals.     The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017 and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.

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