The 3,200-acre Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va.—which is the headquarters for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s conservation science initiatives and is normally closed to the public—will open its gates Saturday, Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Conservation Discovery Day. Budding biologists, curious conservationists and animal lovers can visit the one-of-a-kind research facility for a day packed with activities, demonstrations and talks from SCBI scientists working around the world. Visitors will need to purchase a car pass to attend the event.
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center scientists will do live bird-banding demonstrations, allowing guests to see wild birds up close while learning how scientists attach bands and the types of information they can collect from banded-birds. Guests can tour SCBI’s veterinary hospital to learn how veterinarians care for more than 20 species. Ecologists will give guests a taste of what field work is like on an excursion to set up camera traps. During mock DNA extractions and tests, guests will learn how much information a DNA sample can reveal about rare and endangered animals. In addition to activities, guests can also play trivia games and hear from scientists and animal experts about their research. A full list of activities is available on the Zoo’s website.
Conservation Discovery Day will be held rain or shine. SCBI is a large and hilly campus. Appropriate attire for outdoor activities and comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended. Passes for Conservation Discovery Day are available to purchase via the Zoo’s website based on vehicle size. A standard car pass is $30, a small school bus/van pass is $50 and a school bus or chartered bus pass is $100. Car passes can be bought in advance or at the gate until passes are sold out.
SCBI plays a leading role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to save wildlife species from extinction and train future generations of conservationists. SCBI spearheads research programs at its headquarters in Front Royal, Va., the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide. SCBI scientists tackle some of today’s most complex conservation challenges by applying and sharing what they learn about animal behavior and reproduction, ecology, genetics, migration and conservation sustainability.
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