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Adult Classes

Human Influence on the Evolution of Wildlife

This class fulfills the animal behavior or conservation requirement of the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program.

Nature is constantly evolving, changing and growing in response to its environment. A species that cannot adapt to its variable environment will eventually experience a decline in its population and face the threat of extinction. The integral study of evolution is complicated. The natural system is full of processes and variables influencing wildlife survival, however perhaps none such as strong as the ever growing human influence.

Humans are rapidly and rampantly modifying the natural environment challenging wildlife to keep up. How will wildlife respond? What will fitness and adaptation look like? What is the actual influence of humans on these evolutionary processes? Join us and Dr. Loren C. Sackett from the Center for Conservation & Evolutionary Genetics, as we explore human disruption on the course of wildlife evolution.

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Dates/Location: Tuesdays, August 5, 12, 19 from 6-7:30pm in the Visitor Center Conference Room at the National Zoo.

Price:
FONZ Member: $90 per person
Non-member: $113 per person

Register now!

Past Classes

Zoo MD

This class fulfills the animal behavior requirement of the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Zoo Veterinarians Examine Giant Panda CubFrom anteaters to zebras, the Department of Animal Health here at the National Zoo is charged with ensuring the physical and mental health of our diverse and variable animal collection. In addition to maintaining the over 2,000 animals at the Zoo, our veterinary staff is actively involved in a variety of in situ animal monitoring and research projects. They are committed to expanding their knowledge and expertise to provide our residents the best in zoological medicine.

This interactive course, taught by National Zoo veterinarians, will include an introduction to veterinary medicine, as well as, a tour of the Zoo's animal hospital. You will learn about the variety of techniques our medical staff uses to keep our animals healthy and active, and maybe even get to try out a tool or two yourself. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a zoo veterinarian, then you do not want to miss this class!

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, July 9, 16 & 23 from 6:00-7:30pm

Price:
FONZ Member: $90 per person
Non-member: $113 per person

ZooKeepers 201

This class fulfills the animal behavior requirement of the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Small mammal keeper Kenton Kerns holds a tenrec.The world behind the scenes of the zoo is an intricate and fascinating place, and zookeepers are at the center of it all, responsible for the daily care of their animal charges. Beyond the basic responsibilities of feeding and cleaning, zookeepers spearhead exhibit design, research studies, animal training and enrichment projects, public education programs, scientific writing, and much, much more. Kenton Kerns, Small Mammal House biologist and past president of the National Capital chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, leads this class through some of the more unknown aspects of a zookeeper’s career. Learn how zookeepers work with other zoos and scientists to make the perfect animal match and produce offspring, and how zoo staff work safely around some of the most dangerous animals in the world.

Please note: This is a new course with new content. Zookeepers 101 was offered in 2012, however course topics are not the same.

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, May 7, 14 & 21 from 7:00-8:30pm

Price:
FONZ Member: $90 per person
Non-member: $113 per person

Amphibians 101: Local Calls of Wetland Creatures

This class fulfills the conservation or ecology requirement of the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program.

Northern Cricket FrogFrogs, toads, salamanders, and newts are all members of the ectothermic, permeable skin class known as Amphibians. These remarkable species inhabit a variety of freshwater ecosystems and play an important role as indicators of the environmental health of an area. While salamanders and newts tend to stay quietly hidden among the plant debris, their leaping counterparts are renowned for their nocturnal serenades.

Join us and local Frog Watch Chapter leader & Reptile Discovery Center keeper Matt Neff as we jump into the wonderful world of frogs. We’ll discover the characteristics that define an army of frogs and a knot of toads; uncover the truth about chytrid and other diseases that threaten these colorful insectivores and see how the Zoo is working towards a cure. Plus, we’ll learn how to identify local species by sight and sound, and go froggin’ at the Zoo!

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, April 2, 9, 16 from 6:30-8pm in the Visitor Center Conference Room at the National Zoo.

Price:
FONZ Member: $90 per person
Non-member: $113 per person

Sea Turtles: Swimming for Survival

This class fulfills the conservation or ecology requirement of the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program.

Inhabiting the earth for more than 110 million years, sea turtles were once the marine neighbors of dinosaurs. These lawnmowers of the sea provide valuable ecological services by trimming and consuming sea grass, and depositing much needed nutrients to sand dunes and beaches during the nesting season. Unfortunately despite their important niche and extensive life history, sea turtles are facing a dire future. Join us and FONZ Naturalist Debbi Hanibal this March to learn all about the seven species of sea turtles, their behavior, biology, current threats, and what is being done to save them.

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to attend.

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, March 5, 12 & 19 from 6:30-8pm in the Visitor Center Conference Room at the National Zoo.

Price:
FONZ Member: $90 per person
Non-member: $113 per person

About the Wildlife Studies Certificate Program

The National Zoo is not just for kids! Whether you want to spice up your resume or just pursue an interest in wildlife, adult classes at the Zoo provide an insider's look at animal behavior, conservation, and ecology.

The Wildlife Studies Certificate Program (WSCP) offers adults interested in conservation and zoological research the opportunity to gain expertise about the issues and science important to wildlife and their habitats. Through the WSCP, adults learn about connections between worldwide ecological processes and the conservation and research done here at the Zoo. Courses are taught by scientists and researchers from the Zoo and other area science and government organizations.

To earn the certificate, participants must take a total of six classes, including three core classes and three electives. One class in each of three categories must be taken to satisfy the core requirements: animal behavior, conservation, and ecology. *The three electives may be chosen from any of these or other categories. Classes will occasionally be offered that do not qualify as a core class, but will count toward the elective requirement.

Completion of any class in the WSCP automatically enrolls the registrant in the program. There is no time requirement for completing the certificate requirements.

Cancellation policy: A 75-percent refund will be issued if notification is received by the FONZ membership office via email, fax, or mail at least two weeks prior to the start of a class. No refunds or changes will be made thereafter.

*The ecology requirement replaces the veterinary studies requirement. Current participants may fulfill the requirement with a class in either category.