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WCS EDUCATION FISCAL YEAR 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

BRONX ZOO • NEW YORK AQUARIUM • CENTRAL PARK ZOO • PROSPECT PARK ZOO • QUEENS ZOO


FROM THE DIRECTOR... Every year, WCS reaches millions of people through visits to our five parks in New York City, outreach activities, and education programs for children, teens, and families. WCS Education designs every educational engagement to align with WCS’s mission, to connect participants to nature, and to steer our visitors toward conservation advocacy. From teens and college students conducting urban ecology research in New York City, to young families engaging in nature play activities in a zoo, to whole-school partnerships focused on STEM learning for both teachers and students, WCS’s educational portfolio includes a range of opportunities designed to inspire a new movement of conservation advocates.

Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

In this report, we share some of the highlights of WCS Education from July 2015 to June 2016. I am extremely proud of the work that our Education staff members and Education volunteers have achieved over the past year. I hope you enjoy learning about these accomplishments, too. Karen Tingley, Director of Education, Zoos and Aquarium

Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

Julie Larsen Maher©WCS


Inspiring a Movement of Conservation Advocates


WCS EDUCATION & ENGAGEMENT FRAMEWORK EDUCATION FISCAL YEAR 2016: YEAR IN REVIEW School Programs Informal Programs Professional Development In-Park Engagement Youth Development Research and Evaluation

EDUCATION STAFF


WCS Education Engagement Framework The goal of WCS Education is to inspire a movement of conservation advocates. We do this by providing inspiration; connections to animals and nature; science content, skills, and resources; and the confidence necessary for our audiences to act individually and collectively on behalf of wildlife and the environment. WCS Education programs and engagements are designed to achieve outcomes in at least one of four categories: connection and wonder, action and stewardship, conservation science, and inquiry and curiosity. To meet these goals, we deliver five different types of education activities: live in-park interpretation, school programming, informal programming, youth development, and professional training. These activities take place in our parks, in schools, in local communities, and online. Highlights from fiscal year 2016 in each engagement category are included in this report.

School Programming

Informal Programming

Professional Training

Research & Evaluation

Live Interpretation

Youth Development


School Programs As the oldest zoo education program in the United States, we are proud of our long history supporting student achievement in New York City. Today, we reach more than 100,000 schoolchildren every year through inquiry-based programs that are connected to local and national learning standards. These experiences include zooand aquarium-based school programs, guided tours, whole-school partnerships, Wildlife Theater assembly programs, afterschool programs, and our Community Conservation Connections outreach programs based at the New York Aquarium.


Program Spotlight: Community Conservation Connections Community Conservation Connections (C³) is the New York Aquarium’s education outreach team that brings the aquarium to schools and local communities. An Aquarium instructor engages participants in a learning experience focused on marine biology. This year, the Community Conservation Connections team worked with educators at the Queens Zoo to provide weekly learning experiences for an afterschool program in Queens. Fifty children every week learned about marine topics with the Community Conservations Corps educators and about terrestrial wildlife with the Queens Zoo staff. The program also included field trips to both the New York Aquarium and Queens Zoo.

387

C³ PROGRAMS DELIVERED

8,703 C³ PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS


WCS EDUCATION SCHOOL PROGRAMS BY THE NUMBERS BRONX 22%

STUDENT PARTICIPANTS

MANHATTAN 15%

100,483

STATEN ISLAND

QUEENS 20%

BROOKLYN 42%

1%

* Represents the breakdown of students who participated in WCS Education School Programs by borough


TITLE 1 SCHOOLS

SCHOOL PROGRAMS

OUTREACH PROGRAMS TITLE 1 SCHOOLS

335

1,816

712 335

GUIDED TOURS

783 SCAVENGER HUNTS

267


Informal Programs Our informal education programs are designed to connect people to nature and animals, and inspire people to act on behalf of the environment. We do this by creating unique experiences that highlight the work we do in our zoos and aquarium, include an engaging, live animal encounter, allow for in-depth science exploration provide opportunities for the public to interact with WCS staff. Although the vast majority of participants pay for our informal programs, we are working to build a scholarship program to increase access to our signature WCS Education programs to underserved audiences.

18,000 ADULTS, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES PARTICIPATED IN OUR INFORMAL PROGRAMS

70%

OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS ARE WCS MEMBERS


Program Spotlight: STEM Matters Partnership Since 2014, WCS Education has collaborated with the New York City Department of Education to provide free camp experiences through the STEM Matters NYC initiative. The STEM Matters partnership has provided access to our high quality camps for a predominantly underserved audience.

300

30

NYC SCHOOL CHILDREN RECEIVED FULL SCHOLARSHIPS TO ATTEND EITHER SPRING BREAK CAMP OR SUMMER CAMP

HOURS OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH (STEM) PROGRAMMING WAS PROVIDED TO EACH STUDENT THROUGH THE STEM MATTERS PARTNERSHIP


Professional Development Teachers and other professionals are an important audience for WCS Education. By working with teachers, we impact education practices in New York City classrooms, which directly improve learning for tens of thousands of schoolchildren. Last year, more than 1,100 teachers participated in our professional development courses in person at one of our parks or on line.


Program Spotlight: Visionmaker NYC In recent years, WCS Education has worked with WCS’s Dr. Eric Sanderson to develop education programs utilizing the web-based application Visionmaker. Through funding from the Brooke Astor Fund for New York City Education in The New York Community Trust, in FY 2016 we partnered with middle school and high school teachers at 21 NYC schools to support them in developing curriculum based on Visionmaker. Evaluation found that the program was particularly effective in introducing middle school students to STEM careers, and that the Visionmaker application was useful in improving understanding of water and carbon cycles.

65

4,000

STUDENTS HAVE USED VISIONMAKER IN THEIR CLASSROOMS

TEACHERS PARTICIPATED IN THE VISIONMAKER NYC PROGRAM

VISIONMAKER OUTCOMES Middle school students showed an increase in understanding around how human actions impact biodiversity within NYC.

Teachers reportED that middle school students who use Visionmaker in their classrooms show a stronger interest in STEM careers.


Engaging Our Zoo & Aquarium Visitors In addition to our program participants who join us for structured programs, Education activities reach the more than 4 million visitors who come to our parks each year.

1.2M INTERACTIONS WITH PARK VISITORS

55,000 SIGNATURES & LETTERS COLLECTED FOR WCS CAMPAIGNS


Program Spotlight: Quests In FY 2016, WCS launched its Quests program at the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo. Quests are fun, family-friendly activities designed to help our visitors learn about amazing animals, the importance of conservation, and ways to enjoy the outdoors. In the first year, Quests staff registered more than 400,000 interactions with visitors. Additionally, throughout the summer, we surveyed more than 300 Quest participants to learn more about their experience. We found that the Quests added value to the visitor experience and may have helped to increase visitor engagement with permanent exhibits in the zoos. Based on this success, Quests are taking place at Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo. Quests were made possible with support from Empire BlueCross BlueShield, NewYorkPresbyterian, JetBlue, and Canon U.S.A.


Youth Development Studies have shown that the decision to pursue a science major or career often begins in high school. However, recent national reports on the state of science education in the United States state that only 21 percent of students in grade 12 performed at the proficient level in science, and in areas of high poverty this was only four percent. This is why WCS Education includes teens and youth as a priority audience for our programs. Efforts and programming that are designed to support young people include Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology), the Visionmaker NYC Challenge, Discovery Guides, and the Wildlife Conservation Corps.


Program Spotlight: Wildlife Conservation Corps In the fall of 2015, WCS Education and Public Affairs launched the Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC) to provide teens with first-hand experience in engaging local communities in marine conservation issues. During the six-month program, 12 participants created mini advocacy campaigns focused on the issue of micro-beads and efforts in New York State to pass a micro-bead ban. As a culminating experience in April 2016, the WCC hosted the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit at the New York Aquarium. At the Summit, WCC participants reflected upon their experience and empowered nearly 80 teens from throughout New York City to become advocates for local aquatic wildlife and resources.


Research and Evaluation WCS Education has implemented a rigorous monitoring, evaluation, and research strategy that aims to standardize evaluation activities across our five parks and engage in regular data collection and analysis. We are using this data to inform our on-the-ground education activities, improve the quality of our programs, and contribute to the field of conservation and science education. In FY 2016, we implemented a new dashboard for monitoring program and engagement data; put in place systems for tracking visitor interactions; conducted internal evaluations of new and existing program; and launched a new research study funded by the National Science Foundation.


Program Spotlight: Science Learning+ Working with research partners at the Zoological Society of London, Stanford University, and Lancaster University, we aimed to identify the opportunities for and barriers to researching the long-term effects of informal science learning experiences at zoos and aquariums in the US and the UK. We found that minimal coverage in the research literature suggested a need for longitudinal studies, and that current evaluation practices at zoos and aquariums typically focus on measuring participant satisfaction and short-term learning outcomes. Based on these findings, our research plans include a five-year study focused on family learning at 10 zoos and aquariums in the US and the UK.


Education Staff CONSERVATION EDUCATION

Donald C. Lisowy, Director of Education (until February 2016) Karen Tingley, Director of Education Brian Johnson, Director of Educational Research and Evaluation Amanda Lindell, Director of Lifelong Learning and Engagement Erin Prada, Manager of Digital Learning and Engagement Cheryl Calaustro, Manager of Social Marketing and Community Outreach Jason Aloisio, Program Coordinator, Project TRUE Hal Kramer, Research and Evaluation Associate Sarah Dunifon, Research and Evaluation Associate Bricken Sparacino, Manager of Live Interpretation

WCS EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION

Erica L. Jacobson, Manager of Education Administration and Business Development Alison Plotkin, Program Coordinator Lauren Coyle, Senior Registrar Estefania Cantres, Katheryn Rebolledo, Aaron Venegas: Registrars

BRONX ZOO EDUCATION

Kathleen LaMattina, Collections Manager Megan Malaska Medley, Manager of Education Kari Hart, Assistant Manager of Education Allison Hague, Program Coordinator Christopher MacKay, Senior Conservation Educator Veronica Barnes, Jessica Briley, Emily Crenner, Joseph Svoboda, Alyssa Whu: Conservation Educators Kimberly Young, Adjunct Instructor Olivia Ramos, Christina Newkirk, William Merritt: Academic Conservation Education Fellows Kaya Beery, Jennifer Cucchiarella, Petal Persaud: Quest & Discovery Guide Coordinators Jake Bazel, Leanne Brunn, Mindy Leanse, Weston Long: Wildlife Theater Actors

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATORS

Dave Johnston, Manager of Professional Development for Educators Kathryn Atkins, Anine Booth, Joanna Cagan, Christine DeMauro, Andrea Drewes, Sabrina Hussain, Paloma Krakower, Colleen Owen, Jenny Wilkins: Coordinators of Professional DevelopmenT

NEW YORK AQUARIUM EDUCATION

Dean Watanabe, Manager of Education Jennifer Kepler, Program Coordinator Kimberly Acevedo, Coordinator of Volunteers Robert Cummings, Senior Conservation Educator Melissa Carp, Katie Cortina: Conservation Educators Molly Adams, Alex Garretson: Conservation Education Fellows Maria Zampella, Administrative Support Will Callahan, Michael Calvoni, Samantha Mason, Kristen Penner: Wildlife Theater Actors


CENTRAL PARK ZOO EDUCATION

Michelle Beach, Manager of Education Bricken Sparacino, Assistant Manager of Education Amy Yambor, Coordinator of Volunteers Kate Biller, Emily Hanson, Jill Jefferies, Lily Mleczko: Conservation Educators Tessa Bellone, Deanna Benigno, Katie Bertness, Kayde Cox, Melissa Davis, James Geibler, Dara Illowsky, Kelsey Kovner, Melina Roth, Jonelle Taylor, Julia Zeh: Conservation Education Fellows Shannen Rivadeneira, Jonathan Greene, Kristina Stasi: Quest Coordinators Sarah Davis, Discovery Guide Coordinator Ethan Angelica, Eric C. Bailey, Michael Birch, Kirk Bixby, Nikki Casseri, Arlee Chadwick, Colin Froeber, Amber Jaunai, Mindy Lease, Lorelei Mackenzie, Vicki Oceguera, Lindsey Hope Pearlman, Brandon Schraml, Susan Slotoroff, Kristina Stasi, Ashley Wilson, Emleigh Wolf: Wildlife Theater Actors Rebecca Muffler, Chelsi Napoli, Matthew Treppiedi, Rachel Smith-Weinstein, Wendy Walters: Quest Leaders

PROSPECT PARK ZOO EDUCATION

William Elliston, Manager of Education Debbie Dieneman-Keim, Coordinator of Volunteers Claire Buckley, Delilah Florentino, Emily Stoeth, Kimesha Reid-Grant: Conservation Educators Christian Gagnon, Ellen Huffman, Sarah Ketani, Tonya McCray, Theresa Miranda, Teresa Salvatore, Amanda Montalbano, Ebunoluwa Adeyeni, Julia Janakowski, Raina Doughty, Drew Stazesky: Conservation Teaching Fellows Jessica Blaire, Quest Coordinator Andrea Nieves, Eric Christofferson, Sarah Stratton: Quest Interpreters QUEENS ZOO EDUCATION Thomas Hurtubise, Manager of Education Emily Stoeth, Coordinator of Volunteers Jillian Weinstein, Edna Gonzales, Sonia Bueno: Conservation Educators Jocelyn Harrison, Discovery Guide Coordinator Sara Prosdocimo, Anna Marinos: Academic Conservation Education Fellows PHOTO CREDITS: Front cover: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS; inside cover: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS, ©Veronica Barnes, ©Jason Aloisio; page 3: Cristián Samper ©WCS; page 5: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS; page 7: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS, ©Veronica Barnes; page 8: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS; page 9: ©Jennifer Kepler; page 10: ©Christopher Caufield; pages 11-21: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS; back cover: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS


Julie Larsen Maher

Wildlife Conservation Society | 2300 Southern Boulevard | Bronx, New York 10460 edu@wcs.org | +1 (800) 433 4149 | wcs.org/educators @WCSEducation

WCS Education Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report  

This report shares highlights of education programming at the Wildlife Conservation Society from July 2015 to June 2016.

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