The Micke Grove Zoo Education Department is excited to announce that it is now accepting scholarship applications from kindergarten through 5th grade teachers at San Joaquin County Title I schools interested in having a free Zoo Mobile program provided to their students to support their science curriculum. The program, formerly titled the “Zoo to You Outreach Program”, is the Education Department’s initiative to connect students attending under-resourced schools with nature as well as to improve science literacy countywide.
“The Micke Grove Zoo believes that every child should have the opportunity to discover and be engaged with the wonders of the natural world,” described Allison Meador, Director of Conservation Education for the Micke Grove Zoological Society (MGZS). “Most Title I schools cannot afford to send their students on field trips to the Zoo, so we are truly happy to bring the ‘Zoo’ to the students.”
The Zoo to You Outreach Program is currently funded by grants the Education Department received in late 2013, including part of a $10,000 award from the General Mills Foundation and $5,000 from the Kinder Morgan Foundation. Meador and the MGZS’ Program and Grant Developer, Helena Fitch-Snyder, continue to explore additional funding opportunities for the Department’s scholarship program. In the 2012-2013 school year, the Education Department provided 16 free programs to Title I classrooms courtesy of a $500 donation from the Rotary Club of Lodi and multiple $100 donations from Meador and the board members of the MGZS.
“Community support is essential to the success of any of our programs. Every dollar helps off-set our costs and opens up opportunities for schools all across San Joaquin County, including communities as far as Tracy and Manteca,” explained Meador. “Nothing brings us more joy than to see the excitement on the children’s faces as they meet some of our animal ambassadors and learn more about what they can do to help protect the natural world.”
The Zoo to You Outreach Program scholarship applications are available on the Micke Grove Zoo website, www.mgzoo.com, under the Education and Programs’ Zoo Mobile section (direct link: http://www.mgzoo.com/zoo/micke-grove/education-programs/zoo-to-you-outreach.htm). Teachers are requested to complete the applications and pre-survey at least three weeks before their desired program date, although Meador expects competition for time slots to be high for the busy spring field trip season and suggests teachers apply immediately, even for programs desired as late as May.
The Micke Grove Zoo Education Department is managed by the Micke Grove Zoological Society, the non-profit that supports the Micke Grove Zoo. Micke Grove Zoo is located inside Micke Grove Regional Park at 11793 N. Micke Grove Road in Lodi, CA. It is open every day of the year except Christmas from 10AM to 5PM and the admission gate closes at 4:30PM. Tickets are $5 for guests 14+, $3 for children 3-13, and free for children 2 and under and members of the Micke Grove Zoological Society.
For more information regarding the zoo, visit www.mgzoo.com. For parking and other park related information, please visit www.sjparks.com.