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SCBI School Outreach Programs

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, offers a selection of hands-on science programs designed to educate and inspire students about fundamental science, conservation and environmental issues. Students will learn how SCBI staff are involved in groundbreaking scientific research pertaining to the conservation of ecosystems and endangered species locally, regionally, and globally.

Founded on current SCBI research, these programs allow students to "become the scientist" by applying the same scientific methods and procedures used by the scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

Outreach programs are correlated with the Virginia Standards of Learning for Science, and are 55 minutes long in order to fit within a standard class period. Maximum class size is 30 students.

Districts Served

SCBI School Outreach Programs are offered to public, private, and charter schools in Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren counties, and the City of Winchester. Outreach programs may also be booked for home school collectives, scout troops, and other educational organizations within these counties for an additional $35 surcharge. Programs are not offered outside these counties.

Programs Currently Available

Grade 3: What’s For Lunch?

Investigate an important adaptation for species survival --teeth! Students will collect data and analyze replica skulls from threatened and endangered mammals to determine the consumer group classification. Discover how this information is helpful to scientists studying endangered species!

Grade 4: The Wonderful World of Wood Turtles

Discover the adaptations, habitat, and struggles for the wood turtle, a threatened species native to the Shenandoah Valley. Learn how field researchers use population surveys to study species. Work as a team to conduct a mock survey!

Grade 7: Black-footed Ferret: Bottleneck Genes

What is genetic diversity and why is it necessary to save species? How have scientists used Species Survival Plans and advances in technology to bring the black-footed ferret back from the brink of extinction? Find out in this interactive journey through the recovery efforts for this North American species!


Cost: $70* per class

*An additional $35 surcharge fee applies to home school collectives, scout troops, and other educational organizations.

Programs can be scheduled only on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the school year.

The schedule fills quickly, so register early for your preferred dates. Bookings are at the discretion of the program coordinator. Programs are not currently offered on weekends. Please contact the FONZ Education Office at SCBI for booking information.