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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ZooCrew middle school students explore NW conservation

Posted by: Stacey Hammond, Education

This past winter, ZooCrew students learned about the conservation issues that face the Northwest and designed projects to address those issues. All of these projects highlighted how climate change is affecting animals. From bats to birds to wolverines and wolves, check out some of the projects from the Mercer, Denny, and Washington Middle School ZooCrew students below.

Bat Houses

Students from all three schools made bat houses, which will be hung up on zoo grounds. Bats are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, bat populations have decreased. By building bat houses, the students are helping create safe homes for bats.

Denny Middle School students.

Mercer Middle School students.

Mercer Middle School students.

Mercer Middle School students.

Washington Middle School students.

Backyard Bird Counts

Another project highlighted bird conservation. Students observed birds in their neighborhood and recorded their data on the citizen science website, eBird, which “has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. [...] eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. […] The observations of each participant join those of others in an international network of eBird users. eBird then shares these observations with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond.

Denny Middle School students.

Washington Middle School students.

Mercer Middle School students.

Wildlife Mapping

In an effort to learn more about how climate change affects animals and illustrate its impact on their distribution in the Northwest, students from the three schools researched and designed maps depicting the change in their distribution over time. The students hope to raise awareness about how animals like wolves and wolverines are affected by declining snow pack, habitat loss, and food or resource depletion.

Thanakorn and Tommy from Washington Middle School mapped out gray wolf populations. Check out their maps here: Washington MS Mapping Project

Maraki and Ryan from Denny Middle School mapped out wolverine populations. Check out their blog post to find out what they learned: Denny MS Mapping Project

Bailey and Finnian from Mercer Middle School found that wolverine populations have increased over time due to increased protection and hunting bans. Although their populations are increasing, they learned that climate change could have an impact on wolverine populations in the future. See their maps here: Mercer MS Mapping Project

Zoo Visit

The students also visited the zoo on April 11 and shared their projects with the ZooCrew students from other schools, their families, ZooCorps teen volunteers and interns, and staff from their school and the zoo.

As the students gear up for the spring quarter, we look forward to seeing how they connect these local projects and issues to global conservation work and issues affecting the tropical rain forest. You can begin exploring the issues by learning more about Woodland Park Zoo's Living Northwest conservation projects and our internationally focused Partners for Wildlife conservation program.

Congratulations ZooCrew on another successful quarter!

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