Man, was Fred jealous of me- going to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with luggage.
I was accepted into the 2012 San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Teacher Training- a three day, two night teacher workshop aimed to increase teaching conservation in middle school science classrooms. This was by far the best teacher workshop I will ever attend.
We slept at Roar and Snore. I could see all sorts of safari animals from my personal tent, and could hear the lions roaring at night. So cool!
We split up our time there with many different activities. We learned we can borrow a kit from the research center that will allow our students to test the gender of various condors through PCR and gel electrophoresis. This equipment is not cheap, and not at my school.
We took a tour of the Beckman Center (where most of our classes were located).
The Frozen Zoo, within the Beckman Center, is a conservation effort to freeze the cells of various organisms for future use, and is the biggest of its kind. They currently have over 800 different species. One of the species in the Frozen Zoo is the northern white rhino, an organism that will be extinct within our lifetime (there are only 8 left, and they are all past breeding age).
Another project at the Beckman Center is the raising of California Mountain Yellow-Legged frog. These important predators were put on the endangered species list in 2001, but the institute was able to start a successful reintroduction program.
The first night there we had two hours of free time (otherwise we were on a busy schedule). The gorillas are always fascinating.
One fun bioacoustics project we had was to record the sounds of wildlife at the Safari Park. When listening to these animals on different frequencies back at the lab, it is interesting to hear sounds from animals that our human ears cannot pick up.
Gloria the Keeper (who dreamed of this job since her first visit to the zoo when she was eight years old) showed us one of the many animals she takes care of, an armadillo.
One of the highlights of the workshop was doing the photo caravan tour (we got to feed giraffes and rhinos.
This was half of the crew of teachers from all over California. It was a super three days.
A teacher workshop with alcohol? Crazy!
Completely unrelated to the free alcohol, this has been an unforgettable experience...