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SCBI School Outreach Programs

All Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, continue to be closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Upcoming school programs are canceled. If your program is affected, we will be in touch to discuss rescheduling or a refund.

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

SCBI outreach programs are available to schools in Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick (including the city of Winchester), Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren counties. We are unable to accommodate requests outside of these counties at this time.

Available Programs

What’s For Lunch?

Investigate an important adaptation for species survival: teeth! Collect data and analyze replica skulls from threatened and endangered mammals to determine the consumer group classification. Then, discover how this information is helpful to scientists studying endangered species. 

Grades: 3 - 5
Bottleneck Genes and SSPs

What is genetic diversity, and why is it necessary to save species? How do scientists and animal care staff use a Species Survival Plan and modern technologies to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction? Work together as an SSP specialist group to create breeding recommendations and discuss a plan of action.

Grades: 6 - 8

To schedule a program at your school, please complete the school program request form. Programs are based on availability, and submitting the form does not guarantee your reservation. Your program is only confirmed once you receive a confirmation email.

Program Information

  • Available on Mondays and Thursdays
  • 60 minutes long, with a minimum of 5 minutes required between classes for staff to reset materials (length of program may be altered to accommodate class period schedule)
  • Maximum 30 students per program session/class
  • Multiple classes may participate in the program throughout one school day
  • No live animals are included

Program Fees

  • $20 per program (per class)
  • Additional $1 per mile based on a one-way trip from SCBI to your school
  • Schools with Title I status and/or schools with at least 30% of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch receive a 25% discount off entire fee (program + mileage)
  • Fees waived for schools within Warren County


Cancellations made at least one week prior to the program date will receive a full refund. Those made within one week of the program date will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations made within 48 hours of the program date will not receive a refund.

Rescheduling: A program may be rescheduled once, free of charge, if requested at least 48 hours in advance of the original program date. A $50 fee will be assessed for each additional reschedule request.

Inclement Weather: If schools in your county and/or in Warren County are closed or delayed due to inclement weather, programs for that day will be canceled. Programs may also be canceled if inclement weather creates unsafe driving conditions to/from SCBI headquarters in Warren County. If a program is canceled, every effort will be made to reschedule at no additional cost to the school.

Please contact Friends of the National Zoo's Education Office at SCBI with any questions.