MANHATTAN, Kan. – Community members can now connect with Sunset Zoo’s animal collection via the worldwide web. The Zoo’s newest educational offering – Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) Programs – allow classes to connect with the Zoo via video conferencing equipment and an internet connection to experience a real-time educational program. The IDL programming is made possible through technology in the Zoo’s new Nature Exploration Center and through the support of the Caroline F. Peine Charitable Foundation and Friends of Sunset Zoo.
“One of our goals when building the new Nature Exploration Center was to ensure we could connect with the next generation of learning environments,” said Scott Shoemaker, Zoo Director. “Our IDL programs stream real-time, live animal encounters into a classroom anywhere in the world.”
The Zoo’s initial IDL programs provide elementary-school-aged youth with a hands-on exploration of animals, practicing observation skills to identify special adaptations and hypothesizing how those adaptations support an animal’s survival. The 20-minute programs feature a specific animal species and are ideal for groups looking to enhance their lessons.
“Kansas is a predominately rural state and often times it isn’t feasible for us to visit a school or vice versa,” said Jared Bixby, Curator of Education. “Our hope is that these IDL programs bridge that gap and allow us to connect with even more youth.”
Sunset Zoo IDL programs are offered on-demand and must be scheduled in advance. Resources will be mailed to a group prior to the scheduled program to provide maximum interaction for the students. Cost for a 20-minute program is $35. For more information visit SunsetZoo.com or call (785) 587-2737 (APES).