Get to know Como Park Zoo and Conservatory inside and out! Spend six afternoons at Como expanding your knowledge about plants, animals and what it takes to run a zoo. Learn about animal behavior and watch animals at feeding and training time. Explore the roles plants play in our lives and pot a plant to take home. Learn about conservation and become empowered to make a difference in our world. Como Zoo Skillz will be led by Como Education and AuSM Education Specialist Jeff Holmes.
Zoo Skillz is for teens (ages 14-18) and is limited to 9 participants for each session (morning and afternoon). Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants may register for one session only.
June 19, 26 & July 10, 17, 24, 31
Morning Session: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Afternoon Session: 1-4 p.m. This session currently is full. AuSM is accepting applications for an afternoon session wait list.
A total of six Wednesdays, skipping the week of July 4th
Zoo Skillz Cost
AuSM Member - $320/Session; Non-Member - $370/Session
To register, click the button below and download the Zoo Skillz registration forms. Complete and return forms to AuSM with payment.
Zoo Skillz Daily Schedule
Zoo Skillz Orientation
June 17, 2013 at 7 p.m. (June 17 is the correct, revised date for the orientation session.)
2380 Wycliff, Suite 102
St. Paul, MN 55114
Day One: All Around Como
- Welcome and overview of program in classroom
- Introductions and guidelines in classroom
- Tour Como Zoo grounds and Conservatory via group scavenger hunt
- Discover some plants and animals back in the classroom
Day Two: Careers at Como
Part I: Horticulture
- Behind the Scenes Tour of Conservatory
- Meet a Gardener
Part II: Zookeeper
- Meet a zookeeper for possible behind the scenes tour
- View a power point about zookeeper duties and their role in animal conservation (behind the scenes photos and video)
Part III: Education
- Example education class
- Discussion about why education is important in zoos
Day Three: Animal Health Care (Enrichment)
- What is enrichment and why is it important for animals at the zoo?
- Introduce animal behavior – we’ll be watching for it today
- Observe exhibit animal enrichment
- Design and implement enrichment for three education animals in the classroom. Evaluate.
Day Four: Animal Health Care (Feeding and Training)
- Animal diets: Where does Como’s animal food come from? What do different animals eat? Possibly watch a fish and/or penguin feeding and help.
- Operant Conditioning Training: Positive Reinforcement Training. Why do we train our animals at the zoo? Watch polar bear, primate or pinniped training.
Day Five: Plants That Care
Part I: How do plants take care of us?
- How do we use plants in our every day lives?
- North Garden scavenger hunt
- Make your own take-homes – teas and scented lotions
Part II: How do we take care of plants?
- A Como horticulture staff’s role
- Pot your own plant to take home
Day Six: Conservation
- Animal conservation - Como’s role (and zoos around the world) in sustaining viable animal populations. Focus on endangered species.
- Recycling and conservation programs at Como
- What can you do at home/school to reduce your impact on the environment?
- Celebration Ceremony!
Drop Off/Pick Up
For your convenience, a “drive through” station has been designated for drop off and pick up times. There is no need to park in the parking lots. There is also a bike rack provided at this site. Parents/Guardians will sign in their child at the time of drop off and sign out their child at the end of Zoo Skillz each day. Participants will remain with staff throughout the day until they have been picked up. Late pick ups will be charged a $10 late fee if not picked up within 10 minutes of Zoo Skillz session end time.
Holmes has a BA in Psychology from SUNY New Paltz, an MA from New York University, is ASD certified through Hamline University, and has been working with middle and high school ASD students in the Mounds View District (621) since 1996. He currently is the leader of the White Bear Lake FunJoyment/Social Enjoyment group, and co-leads the Hopkins Depot FunJoyment groups. Holmes's greatest joy is hearing the laughter that comes from his group members as they discover how to enjoy just being themselves.