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OKC ZOO HOSTING MONARCH CONSERVATION WORKSHOP

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is hosting a monarch conservation “train-the-trainer” workshop on Monday, July 9, and Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Monarch Heroes workshop will equip more than 40 teachers, master gardeners, informal educators and volunteers from across the state with information and resources to conduct future Monarch Heroes workshops in their communities. Monarch Heroes is the NWF PreK-12 environmental education and community outreach program to help schools create habitat for the monarch butterfly.

“Most Oklahomans don’t realize that tens of millions of monarchs flutter through the state in an annual migration from Canada to Mexico,” said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, Curator of Conservation and Science. “Pollinators like monarch butterflies are critical to agricultural production and to sustaining a vibrant ecosystem. The Zoo will continue supporting efforts to educate and inform Oklahomans about the value of pollinators and the simple steps they can take to protect these vulnerable species.”

The first day of the workshop will be spent modeling how to conduct a workshop and will familiarize participants with the Monarch Heroes Program and how it fits into NWF’s educational framework. The sessions will teach the basics of monarch biology and conservation and the status of the monarch butterfly so that participants will gain the necessary information to begin to engage their students in monarch recovery. It will also introduce participants to NWF’s Monarch Mission curriculum and model lessons that will engage students in their monarch gardens. During the second day, workshop participants will learn how to involve their students in the design, implementation, maintenance and monitoring of a monarch garden.

“Students thrive when learning is both relevant to their lives and hands on,” said Marya Fowler, Director of Education for National Wildlife Federation’s South Central Region. “Teachers report that the monarch gardens give their students something tangible and long-term to be connected to. It helps them understand the why behind science and serves as a great introduction to the world of pollinators.”

The OKC Zoo’s commitment to Monarch conservation has increased in recent years as the Monarch population has declined.  It’s estimated that Monarch numbers have declines by more than 80 percent over the last 20 years. In addition to hosting the workshop, the Zoo is an active partner in the statewide Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative which strives to increase habitat for pollinators. As part of this effort, the Zoo recently awarded three grants to Oklahoma elementary schools to establish their own monarch gardens and train teachers on how to incorporate their new gardens into their science classes. The Zoo will also host the second annual Monarch Madness 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, October 6 kicking off the Monarch Festival on Saturday, October 6.

Every Oklahoman can help pollinator populations which nearly 75 percent of the world's crops require. Providing a sustainable habitat for wildlife begins with your plants. When individuals plant the native species that wildlife depends on, they create habitat and begin to restore the local environment. Adding water sources, nesting boxes, and other habitat features enhances the habitat value of gardens to wildlife, including butterflies and other pollinators.

Spread your wings at the Oklahoma City Zoo! Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at ZOOfriends.org or in-person at the Zoo! To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.

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