KidzJet Adventures – 0729 – 0802 – Day 4
For some kids today may have either the most enjoyable or memorable part of the kidzJet Adventures journey. Zoo, or Zoological park or Zoological garden, is a place where animals, usually wild animals, are confined to specific enclosures for public to come and see. For a brief second, let’s step aside from ongoing debate about the ethics of keeping animals in enclosures and talk about animals and the role zoos have played in our understanding of them. Over the 200 hundred odd years that zoos have been in existence, several species have been studied in these confinements and some endangered ones have also been bred, revived and released into the wild. In terms of kids education, zoos have provided a good way to instill interest and increase awareness and interest in the wide range of animals that co-inhabit this planet with us.
During the zoo tour, children learn about various classifications in the animal kingdom, the concept of scientific names and how scientists use it to group “like” animals (and plants) together. Learning about these classifications and similarities between seemingly disparate animals helps anchor our minds about the roles various animals play in the broader ecosystem and the so called “food chain”. Much like how the kids learned that forest fires are essential part of a healthy forest in the jungle experience, they learn that predators are also essential to maintain a balance of numbers in the animal kingdom. Children are encouraged to think about how self limiting factors like food and shelter are natural moderators in the endgame for our biosphere. Our goal is to not only instill factual knowledge in children through these experiences, but to help them think about how certain human intervention in natural cycles has skewed this critical balance that has sustained nature for millions of years. Only through exposure to the intricate linkages between various parts of the animal kingdom and to ecosystems can be hope to find a comfortable middle ground where we can live harmoniously with this wonderful planet we share with myriad other living organisms. After all, what we do today will impact us all in the future. And, our children are our future.
At the end of the day, Day 4 probably brought back many fond memories of previous zoo visits to the kids. We hope this was supplemented with some additional food for thought through scientific observation and additional questions coming from our focused group of KidzJet Adventurers.