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Advanced Biology – Zoology Detroit Zoo Field Trip

Lesley Tracy

Detroit Zoo admission for four classes of Zoology from Dexter High School.

I found out six years ago there was no longer a budget for my Detroit Zoo – Zoology field trip; therefore, 2016-2017 was the first year I applied for an EDF Grant. There are several ways this grant will enrich our Zoology curriculum. Zoology is a very hands-on, exploratory course that focuses on comparative anatomy among organisms. Students learn about animals ranging from invertebrates to mammals. The Zoo trip is a culminating opportunity that allows students to view animals in their simulated natural environments. Some students have never had the opportunity to see exotic animals in-person. In addition, this trip helps students to see the importance of taking care of the environment as it has a significant impact on the lives and welfare of animals. Finally, visiting the zoo educates students about possible zoological careers. Upon returning from the zoo, students write a comprehensive report regarding select animals from their visit and connect this to the curriculum we have studied throughout the semester.

This grant will also provide continued benefit to students. The Detroit Zoo Field Trip opens the eyes to students regarding the possibility of career options.

Here is a written response from a student, Devyn Baron, who attended the Detroit Zoo field as a Junior during the 2016-2017 school year:

“I think your zoology class was one of the most important classes in my high school career. I learned many different important concepts in your class including animal groups and their similarities and the body functions of those different groups. I learned some much-needed basic information that will be very useful in my future zoological career. When we took that trip to the Detroit Zoo at the end of the year, I realized that I might really like to be a zookeeper so I've added it to my list along with animal rehabilitator and marine animal trainer. I appreciate all of the information that you taught me and all the time that you put into making the class not only enjoyable, but also understandable….”

Here is another response from a student, Maddie Wright, who attended the zoo during the 2017-2018 school year:

"My name is Madison Wright. I am a senior at Dexter High School who was in the Zoology class that went to the Zoo! I am someone who is in love with learning about the anatomy and physiology of animals. Which is one of the reasons why I took this class. I am so thankful that I was also able to go to the Detroit Zoo as part of the learning process of this class. All semester I was looking forward to this class trip and I was not disappointed with the outcome. I learned and experienced so much more than I expected to. It was the perfect way to end the semester, and the perfect way to really embrace all of the animals that I was studying.

I truly believe that going to the Zoo as a part of this class was something that made a huge impact on all of the students’ knowledge and study of animals. There is always an outstanding amount of students that want to be involved in this class every year. This is because the information that you learn is fun and knowledgeable. Also, including the Zoo trip into the curriculum is something that makes this class thrive in student involvement.

As I said before, I love studying animals in Zoology this year! I really am amazed at the significance of including the Zoo trip in the curriculum. This class is taught by a teacher who makes everything interesting and fun in the classroom. I overall enjoyed my time in this class and am sad to go."

Here is another response from a student, Sawyer Thomposn, who attended the zoo during the 2021-2022 school year:

"For me, visiting the zoo for my junior zoology class was an amazing experience. For one, it gave me something to look forward to and get excited about as the end of the year approaches; it also helped to give me a greater understanding of the job of a zookeeper. All my life I've always loved animals and knew I wanted to spend my time doing everything with them, from simple cats and dogs to exotic animals like snakes, lizards, and even insects. Taking this class and going to the zoo have given me the opportunity to get that hands-on experience with animals that you would normally not be able to find in a high school setting. I still remember things taught in the class and it's opened up a new perspective for me. I've been able to impress my friends and family with my scientific knowledge of animal anatomy, as well as use it to benefit myself in fields such as world building and character development. The zoo trip was phenomenal, being able to point out scientific facts about animals and put my knowledge to the test to be able to teach my parents about animals made me certain that a job as a zookeeper was for me. I think this field trip is a very pivotal moment for most students, and everyone likes going to the zoo. For a class offered to high schoolers, the zoology class is an amazing stepping stone towards a college class or even a career in zoology. It allows students to get their feet wet in dissections ranging in size and intensity and allows them to decide if that's truly what they want to do, as well as allowing them the tactile learning with real animals. It is an amazing class that has helped to broaden my horizons in the world of zoology, and I am almost certain that I would like to continue down this road."

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