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Lincoln Park Zoo is awarded grants for science education

Lincoln Park Zoo has received two highly competitive grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), American American Association of Museums (AAM) and the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to support science education, both locally and abroad.

Said Rachael Bergen, Vice President of Education at Linclon Park Zoo, "Science education is a crucial part of our mission, and these grants will provide the assets necessary to deliver high-quality educational experiences that have the potential to impact thousands of people from middle-schools kids in Chicago and their counterparts in Africa to families enjoying a leisurely visit to the zoo."

IMLS Museums for American grant

The zoo will receive $149, 295 through the IMLS Museums for America grant program to develop a new fleet of six moble learning stations that are designed to create a dynamic guest experience and foster inquiry-based learning.

Design concepts and development will begin immediately with the assistance of project design consultant Museum Explorer. Learning stations will be pilot tested and evaluated to ensure maximum effectiveness before final design implementation.

Jessica Monahan, Director of Public Programs and Guest Engagement: "We are excited to bring guests closer to the work Lincoln Park Zoo does in new and exciting ways through specialty-designed learning stations. With three million visitors a year, this greatly expands our ability to reach our guests."

Museums and Community Collaberations Abroad Program

LPZ was awarded $85, 000 through AAM and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Museums and Community Collaberations Abroad (MCAA), program to develop a collaborative youth program between Chicago and Niamey, Niger called Community of Conservation: Research Exchanges Experiences for Global Youth. Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs said, "With stronger relationships and greater collaberation, the Museums and Community Collaberations Abroad will achieve shared goals for the benefit of the global community."

Middle school students from Chicago's Francis W. Parker school in Lincoln Park and schools in Niger will partner with LPZ and the National Museum of Niger Boubou Hama to conduct original conservation research projects that explore concepts in animal behavior and ecological biodiversity. Participants will select topics that are of personal interest and relative to their community. The zoo and museum will guide the students through the use of authentic research methods, ensuring a student-centered approach to learning. As students share their findings, they will learn about the similarities and differences between their local wildlife experiences and their cultures.

Leah Melber, PhD, and LPZ Director of Student and Teacher Programs said, "Their work will contribute to a globally relevant, multilingual wildlife-conservation education curriculum that can be shared beyond the two communities and implemented everywhere wildlife exists."

AAM President Ford W. Bell added, "Each MCCA project is centered on bridge-building across cultural, geographic and economic divides. uniting people through a more thorough understanding of their commonalities."

This fall students from Chicago and Niger will begin their school-year-long dialogue and research collaberation. They'll use tools such as Skype and other technology to communicate and help bridge the geographical divide. There projects will conclude with a culminating event in Spring 2012 in, Chicago and Niger where the students will have an opportunity to share their research work with their respective communities.

Kevin Bell, President and CEO of Lincoln Pakr Zoo said, "We are excited to receive these significant rewards. Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to science education and these grants will help us expand that work and significally increase our impact. The zoo has a long history of working with international collegues and communities in the area of conservation biology, particularly in Africa. The new global youth initiative extends our opportunity to work collaberatively with international communities and peers beyond scientific research and into the realm of educational outreach."

Please visit the zoo's website at www.lpzoo.org. or call (312) 742-2000

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