The Henson Robinson Zoo Education Department is dedicated to providing, at the zoo and in the surrounding community, a variety of educational opportunities that connect people of all ages to the world’s ecosystems and that change the knowledge levels, beliefs, and behaviors of people towards the animals living in those ecosystems in order to promote their continued conservation. Our education department is committed to our mission: Conservation. Connections. Community.
The Education Department has several ambassador animals that may be featured in our Zoo to You or on-site Private Animal Programs. From scorpions and tarantulas to frogs and salamanders! We also have turtles, snakes, lizards, small mammals and birds. Our ambassador animals all play an important role in enhancing connections with our community that can inspire conservation action and responsible nature exploration. In addition to outreach and on-site programs, the education department offers kids classes for ages 2-12 years and manages the volunteer department.
Henson Robinson Zoo has volunteer opportunities for both teens (13-17 years old) and adults. Our teen volunteer program, PAWZ, is geared towards 13-17 year olds and features “Missions of the Month” in which students attend a monthly meeting to find out details and get training for a specific theme and then they can sign up for independent volunteer shifts. Missions of the Month vary from year-to-year but feature family-friendly activities with a focus on conservation and environmental education. During the off-season when the zoo is closed, students compete in a group enrichment project for some of the Zoo’s residents.
Our adult volunteers can usually be seen stationed around the zoo running various family-friendly activities, conversing with guests at an animal habitat, or handling ambassador animals for close encounter experiences. Our adult volunteers also help our zookeepers and animals by assembling enrichment items and preparing animal diets.
You might also see Education staff, volunteers and ambassador animals at various offsite interpretive events in the Springfield and surrounding communities. Such events include education programs at Kids Corner and a booth for Park District Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair, Lincoln Memorial Garden Indian Summer Festival and Earth Awareness Fair at the Old State Capitol. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-585-1821 EXT 1706 for more information regarding education programs or volunteer opportunities.
Corbyn has a PhD in entomology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Years of experience in both formal and informal teaching bring a great balance to our education department!