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Conservation of Endangered Species - Junior SPARK

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
July 13, 2015 - July 17, 20151M-F 8:30A-11:20A and T,TH 12:15-3:05POpenAndrea Stein10121

Course Description

We always hear about endangered species all over the world. What exactly is being done to protect these animals and their habitats? Most people do not realize it, but every endangered species has a recovery plan that maps the road to successfully increasing populations and saving habitats. Zoos are a huge part of these recovery plans by being a place for breeding and increasing public awareness of endangered species. In Rhode Island, the Roger Williams Park Zoo is involved in some very exciting conservation projects globally and locally. Spend a week learning how zoos all over the world contribute to conservation through field work and research.

Spend time in class and at the zoo learning the foundations of biodiversity and endangered species conservation through live animal interactions and engaging in lessons on topics like climate change, polar bear conservation, the use of DNA in conservation, and captive breeding before heading out into the field, with the zoo’s Director of Conservation, to collect data on the carrion beetle population in Rhode Island.

We will spend two days out in the field setting and checking pitfall traps (using rotten chicken as bait).** The data collected from the survey will be used by the Rhode Island Natural History Survey and to help inform the zoo’s work with the endangered American Burying Beetles.

By the end of the week, students will have a better understanding of what goes into protecting the biodiversity of our planet. They will have hands-on experience trapping for the endangered species and have collected real data for the Natural History Survey. The week will provide a chance to learn about some conservation projects happening in New England and around the world and a chance to experience what it is like to work in the field.

Students should have a good understanding of how an ecosystem works and some general animal biology knowledge. But mostly they just need to come with a deep appreciation for all living life and a willingness to learn that every species has a purpose.

**For the field work portion of the week, students should be willing to work outside setting pitfall traps. This will include hiking, helping to carry equipment, digging and baiting traps with rotten chicken (all necessary equipment will be provided including gloves & tongs - students will not come in contact with the rotten chicken). They should be prepared and okay with getting dirty and smelly!!

*This Junior SPARK course is designed for students, 12 years and older, who are currently in the 6th and 7th grades (entering 7th and 8th grades Fall 2015). Older students are encouraged to register for our Senior SPARK courses.