Presentation Title

The Oregon Zoo Partnership: A Model for Empowering Urban Wildlife Conservation

Start Date

2-3-2020 9:50 AM

End Date

2-3-2020 10:00 AM

Abstract

In 2016, the Oregon Zoo opened its award-winning Education Center, focused on small actions guests can take to have a big impact on wildlife, both near and far. The exhibit space features the role small animals play in the environment, including the Western Pond Turtle headstart program, and interpretive exhibits that inspire guests to get involved in helping wildlife and their habitats. Most importantly, the Center relies on an innovative partnership model to convey educational messages to its 1.6 million visitors. More than 25 conservation organizations provide engaging programming in the space with activities for the zoo’s diverse audiences. In conjunction with zoo volunteers, last year these partners held conservation conversations with over 60,000 guests.

Of these partnerships, the most impactful is our deep and ongoing work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A full-time Interpretive Specialist from the Service is embedded at the zoo and has worked closely with zoo staff since the Center opened. This partnership allows both organizations to engage visitors in a larger conservation story and leverages the resources each brings to the table. The presence of the Service provides visitors with enriched engagement, adding to their zoo experience and allowing the USFWS to reach an urban audience they would not otherwise reach. Notably, the partnership has extended outside of the Center itself into other programming, such as zoo camps, volunteer training, special awareness day events, and the collaborative creation of a new Pacific lamprey display. Collectively we are helping each other accomplish our shared conservation mission.

Subjects

Animal ecology, Conservation biology, Environmental education, Environmental social sciences, Fisheries, Wildlife biology

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33845

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Mar 2nd, 9:50 AM Mar 2nd, 10:00 AM

The Oregon Zoo Partnership: A Model for Empowering Urban Wildlife Conservation

In 2016, the Oregon Zoo opened its award-winning Education Center, focused on small actions guests can take to have a big impact on wildlife, both near and far. The exhibit space features the role small animals play in the environment, including the Western Pond Turtle headstart program, and interpretive exhibits that inspire guests to get involved in helping wildlife and their habitats. Most importantly, the Center relies on an innovative partnership model to convey educational messages to its 1.6 million visitors. More than 25 conservation organizations provide engaging programming in the space with activities for the zoo’s diverse audiences. In conjunction with zoo volunteers, last year these partners held conservation conversations with over 60,000 guests.

Of these partnerships, the most impactful is our deep and ongoing work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A full-time Interpretive Specialist from the Service is embedded at the zoo and has worked closely with zoo staff since the Center opened. This partnership allows both organizations to engage visitors in a larger conservation story and leverages the resources each brings to the table. The presence of the Service provides visitors with enriched engagement, adding to their zoo experience and allowing the USFWS to reach an urban audience they would not otherwise reach. Notably, the partnership has extended outside of the Center itself into other programming, such as zoo camps, volunteer training, special awareness day events, and the collaborative creation of a new Pacific lamprey display. Collectively we are helping each other accomplish our shared conservation mission.