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NY kids gets Skype interview with penguin keeper

Posted by Ric Brewer, Communications

At the end of April, the kids at an Upper Eastside Manhattan first-grade class were treated to something special: a "virtual visit" via Skype with Woodland Park zoo penguin keeper, Celine Pardo. The class had been studying penguins and when they discovered that WPZ had won the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Exhibit Award for our Humboldt penguin exhibit, they sought out to speak with us. After contacting us via email, their teacher Jen arranged the live interview.

Celine, along with several penguin props, interacted via Skype with the kids. They had incredibly astute questions for her, gleaned through their studies. The first-graders ask everything from the details of penguin evolution to where are a penguin's ears. Both the kids and Celine had a great time.

Here's the note their teacher emailed us immediately following the interview:

Before the Skype interview, the kids used books, a few used the Internet, interviews with other people in our school and their own prior knowledge to collect information about their animal. I wanted the class to come away with the idea that experts in areas and authors use varieties of ways to collect information. They have been studying their animal for about four weeks and are getting ready to write a non-fiction book about their topic.

The children were free to research and explore any information about their animal topic. However, after various classroom conversations, we charted some big ideas that were helpful to guide their research (what their animal looks like, what and how it eats, lives, predators/how they protect themselves, life cycle, how their animal moves, etc.). After today's Skype, the children and I had a group talk about the new information we learned. Then they had a chance to write down these new facts and add them too their research folders.

My penguin researchers wanted to say thank you so much for all of your wonderful information
"We are really impressed with your knowledge." Melissa and Katherine
"I can't wait to get to the magazines you're sending us!" Nathaniel

"Thank you so much!" Fernando

This was truly and amazing experience and a first for our school. Again, thank you for taking the time to connect with us.



Thank YOU Jen and your class for your great questions and your innovative way of connecting with us. This type of interaction shows the impact that we can have on kids and nature-learning---even 2,500 miles away!