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Adult Classes

History, Husbandry, and the Current State of Ungulates in Zoos

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

Przewalski's horse filly

Ungulates come in a variety of sizes and awkward shapes. Characterized by their odd or even toes, this order of hooved mammals comprises everything from deer and pigs to elephants and tapir. Although the "wow" factor may vary between species, there is little doubt ungulates are a beautiful and valuable addition to any zoo.

So join us and National Zoo keeper Denny Charlton for an insiders' look at hooved animals. Learn about the taxonomy, anatomy, and behavior of ungulates. See how we care for them and what challenges are facing the herd. Wild horses couldn’t keep us away from this course, so register today!

* Denny Charlton has been zookeeper for the last 18 years. He began his career at Cincinnati Zoo and has worked at Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana and is currently a keeper here at the National Zoo. He is the SSP Coordinator and Studbook Keeper for Greater kudu, and has worked with ungulates from camels to giraffe, rhinos, hippos and takin.

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

Dates/Location: Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21 from 6:30-8pm in the Visitor Center Conference Room at the National Zoo.

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

→ Register Now!

Pollination & the Three B's: Birds, Bats, and Bees

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

Birds do it. Bees do it. Bats do it in the dark. Attracted to beauty and scent, guided by intuition and hunger, these pollinators perform a crucial service for us and the world's ecosystems. As nectar feeders, these animal species travel from flower to flower, literally spreading the love for millions of plant species. In doing so they fulfill a critical niche that fuels not only plant existence and diversity, but human agriculture and sustainability. A world without pollinators is a world without crops such as squash, tomatoes, cotton, or hay. There would be no honey for your tea or tequila for your sunrise. Yet, pollinators like so many other animal species are experiencing a drastic and dangerous population decline.

So join us and Lindsay Jacks, the Director of Lights Out Baltimore* and an aviculturist at the National Aquarium, for a look into the working lives of these three Bs. Learn about everything from their anatomy to how you, as an individual, can help make a difference in their conservation. It's a bat box building, bird ID'ing course that you won't want to miss.

* Lights Out Baltimore (LOB) is a non-profit organization of the Baltimore Bird Club that strives to make Baltimore safe for migratory birds. LOB walks a 5 mile loop downtown during migration season every year to rescue injured birds and collect the dead ones that have fallen victim to light pollution and glass collisions. As recent recipients of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, LOB will officially begin work with the city of Baltimore to mitigate light pollution and hopefully help save birds.

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

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, March 16, 23, 30 from 6-7:30 p.m. 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

Animal Thinking and Emotion

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

GorillaAnimal emotion is a sensitive subject in science. It is difficult to analyze and interpret complicated behavioral states of non-human animals without attributing our own experiences to them. Thus creating an object assessment of various emotional states of non-human animals is a challenge – how do we see beyond the cloud of our own human perception and anthropomorphic tendencies? Well, scientists around the world have been working to develop quantitative tools to address animal thinking and emotion.

Join us, and Dr. Betsy Herrelko, the David Bohnett Cognitive Research Fellow at the Ape House here at the National Zoo for a deeper look into the emotional lives of animals. We will cover topics related to human thinking, and animal sentience and cognition. Throughout the course we will discuss the human-animal relationship and how it impacts our interaction and interpretation of animal behavior; and how this influences policy.

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

Dates/Location: Wednesdays, July 15, 22, & 29 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

Zookeeping 101

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

Kenton KernsThe 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.

Delve into the history of zoos and animal caretakers and discover how the profession of zookeeper has transformed along with the mission of zoological parks and aquariums. Kenton Kerns, Small Mammal House keeper and president of the National Capital chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, leads this class with lectures from additional National Zoo keepers. The last class includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the Small Mammal House and a close-up look at the details of a zookeeper's day.

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

Dates/Location: Tuesdays, August 4, 11 & 18 from 6:45-8:15pm in the Visitor Center Conference Room at the National Zoo.

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

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

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

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.