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Adult Classes

Skeletons in the SI Closet: Preserving animal collections

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

Esther LanganThe Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History is home to a remarkable collection of animal specimens. From millions of pinned insects to a full sized white rhino, there are a myriad of interesting species to see and learn about. But, where did they come from? How did they get there?

Join us and Esther Langan, current Museum Specialist at MNH and past National Zoo pathologist, for a deeper look into animal collections. We will uncover the science behind necropsies, and discover the connections between living zoological and preserved animal collections.

You will learn about the importance and purpose of natural history collections, and get a look at modern management of museum specimens with a behind-the-scenes trip to the Museum of Natural History.

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

Dates/Location: Thursdays, December 4 & 11 from 7-8:30pm at the National Zoo; and Saturday, December 13 from 10-11:30am at the Museum of Natural History.

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

Register now!

Past Classes

People of the Forest: An Inside Look at the Life and Culture of Orangutans

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

OrangutanDr. Meredith Bastian spent more than seven years studying wild orangutans in the forests of Borneo before beginning her zoological career as Curator of Primates at Philadelphia Zoo, and now here at the National Zoo. Focusing on the concept of culture, she examined how genetics, ecology, and behavior combine to shape and define wild orangutan culture. Dr. Bastian now applies what she learned in the field to promote more normative species specific behaviors in the captive population.

Join us this November for an inside look at these “people of the forest”. Learn about orangutan behavior, intelligence, and life history. Gain insight and perspective into the challenges of field research. Explore current threats to wild orangutans and discover what we can all do to help conserve these remarkable creatures.

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

Dates/Location: Thursdays, November 6, 13, 20 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

Intro to Ecology

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

Frog and LilyThe relationship between organisms and their environment is complicated. There are innumerable interactions taking place on all trophic levels within an ecosystem. By studying these interactions we gain insight into the intricacy of their connectivity and can begin to hypothesize how changes in their environment will affect their ecological community. Join us and Master Naturalist, Suzanne Hough, for a deeper look at the ecological systems that govern life on our planet. Learn about the fundamental concepts of ecology, such as nutrient cycling and productivity; and explore how biogeography relates to biodiversity and how it all influences conservation policy.

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

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, October 1, 8, 15 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

Human Influence on the Evolution of Wildlife

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

Cheetah CubsNature 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

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 1,800 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

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.