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SCBI School Outreach Programs

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, offers a selection of hands-on and assembly-style 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. No live animals are included.

Districts Served

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

Multiple classes may experience the program during one school day. All programs are based on availability, and submitting the form alone does not guarantee your reservation. Your program not reserved until you receive a confirmation email.

Program Fees

$20 per class program plus $1 per mile based on a one-way trip from SCBI headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia to your school. Discounts for schools with Title I status and schools within Warren County, Virginia, apply.

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

Available Programs

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 (SSP) 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.

This program is suitable for middle school life sciences.

To request this program at your school, complete the request form and return it to

Grades: 6 - 8
Number of Students: 30 student maximum
Program Length: 60 minutes (may be altered to accommodate class period schedule)
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.

To request this program at your school, complete the request form and return it to

Grades: 3 - 5
Number of Students: 30 student maximum
Program Length: 60 minutes

Cancellation and Rescheduling Policies

Cancellation: 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 percent 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 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.