Explore and Roar

It’s safe to say all of us are looking forward to summer at this point. But while many of us are focused on green grass and coatless strolls, zoo educators and their partners in the Chicago Public Library are planning a whole summer of learning for Chicago kids.

Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo and the library are partnering to develop “Explore and Roar,” a Summer Learning Challenge that will keep kids engaged—and building knowledge—when school’s out. It’s a big undertaking. The zoos’ educators have worked for months to develop eight weeks of fun animal activities. But it’s a great chance to reach students throughout the city, highlighting both the importance of wildlife and the excitement of learning.

Lincoln Park Zoo educators teamed up with Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Public Library to develop "Explore and Roar," the 2014 Summer Learning Challenge. Steve Musgrave, who also illustrated zoo murals for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, illustrated the cover.

Lincoln Park Zoo educators teamed up with Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Public Library to develop "Explore and Roar," the 2014 Summer Learning Challenge. Steve Musgrave, who also illustrated zoo murals for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, illustrated the cover.

On Tuesday, the zoo was proud to welcome a group of 100 librarians representing youth-services crews from branches throughout the city. They toured the zoo and learned about innovative zoo education programming, including our award-winning Observe to Learn app. But they also continued to develop the curriculum that reached 71,000 students last year.

Lincoln Park Zoo Director of Education Allison Price, Chicago Public Library Director of Children's Services Liz McChesney, zoo community outreach manager Alex Gallegos and illustrator Steve Musgrave at Cafe Brauer.

Lincoln Park Zoo Director of Education Allison Price, Chicago Public Library Director of Children's Services Liz McChesney, zoo community outreach manager Alex Gallegos and illustrator Steve Musgrave at Cafe Brauer.

The Chicago Public Library is a natural partner for Lincoln Park Zoo. We’re both free institutions, with a commitment to knowledge and a deep connection with the surrounding community. It’s exciting to team up with them on such an important undertaking. “Explore and Roar” is scheduled to debut in every library branch on June 9. If you have kids, I encourage them to pick it up and take the Summer Learning Challenge.

Zoo and aquarium leaders from across the country, including Kevin (right), met this week to discuss a new conservation initiative.

Zoo and aquarium leaders from across the country, including Kevin (right), met this week to discuss a new conservation initiative.

The librarians weren’t the only noteworthy visitors for the zoo this week. I was joined by directors from San Diego Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Henry Doorly Zoo, Zoo Boise, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Shedd Aquarium to discuss new initiatives to save endangered species. I look forward to sharing more details on this essential work soon.

Kevin Bell

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