During Virtual Zoo Crew, campers in grades 5–8 will engage in important conservation topics from their own homes. Zoo educators and scientists will work directly with campers to explore new ideas and share experiences. Virtual field trips will allow campers to learn about other organizations working to conserve wildlife. During each session, campers will see zoo animals and work together to complete a conservation project.
Virtual Zoo Crew is a two-week program. Zoo educators will facilitate activities every day from 10–11 a.m. and 2–3 p.m. via the Zoom platform. In between Zoom sessions, campers will take part in independent activities that will contribute to their conservation projects.
July 6–17: Exploring Chicago Wildlife
Chicago is full of interesting animals that have adapted to living in an urban environment. Campers will explore what lives in their own neighborhood and use their knowledge to imagine new ways to share the city with wildlife.
July 20–31: Animal Care Crash Course
How does Lincoln Park Zoo help the animals in our care thrive? How do we know how to help them when they’re hurt or sick? Campers will learn about the work that takes place at the zoo to create healthy habitats for every animal.
For all Virtual Zoo Crew programs, campers will require an internet-connected device, a notebook, a writing utensil, and colored pencils. Headphones are optional.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will virtual camp differ from e-learning during the school year?
While virtual camp will include educational components, all activities will center on the camper, with their enjoyment always in mind. Campers will be given suggested activities to complete on their own or with their family, but these are completely voluntary.
What will my camper need to know in order to participate in virtual summer camp?
Campers will need to access Zoom via a web link. Within Zoom, campers should have the ability to mute and unmute their microphone and turn on or off their camera. Each Monday of camp, instructors will remind campers how to perform these actions; instructors will also be able to turn off each camper’s microphone remotely in order to ensure an ideal experience for all participants. Older campers should know how to use the chat function, and all campers should display their first name on screen.
How should I prepare my camper for virtual summer camp?
Parents and guardians are asked to practice using Zoom with their campers. For younger campers, discussing how Zoom works (what happens when you’re muted, etc.) would help set their expectations. On the morning of camp, caregivers should log into Zoom and ensure that their camper’s first name is displayed so that instructors can properly address them, and have a snack prepared or set aside.
Finally, although campers should be relatively independent during virtual summer camp, caregivers may consider setting some ground rules in case help is required. If a camper seems to be experiencing technical issues or some kind of distress, zoo instructors may call or text their caregiver using the contact information provided in the camper’s registration. This will only be done if absolutely necessary.
My camper has needs that require accommodations. What should I do?
Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to working with campers and their families to create an environment where all campers, with and without disabilities, engage in camp together. To request a specific accommodation, please contact the camp leadership team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to register for my camper to participate in virtual summer camp?
Yes. Campers must register in advance to participate in virtual summer camp. Please register at lpzoo.org/camps.
What equipment or materials does my camper need to participate in virtual summer camp?
Virtual Conservation Camp campers (grades preK–4) need an internet-connected device; paper; markers, coloring pencils, or crayons; scissors; glue or tape; and a daily morning snack. Virtual Zoo Crew campers (grades 5–8) need an internet-connected device, paper or a notebook, a writing utensil, colored pencils or markers, and a daily snack. Headphones are optional for both groups. Campers in the same family may share their internet-connected device if they are participating in the same camp program.
Will my camper get to see animals during virtual summer camp?
Campers will see Lincoln Park Zoo’s resident animals on their screen during virtual summer camp. Some or all of these may come via videos recorded specifically for virtual summer camp. Others, when possible, will come live from the zoo at the time of camp.
What is the zoo doing to make sure campers are safe online?
Camper safety during virtual summer camp is of the utmost importance. The zoo will follow recommendations set by the FBI for the protection of campers participating in online Zoom sessions. Links to the zoo’s Zoom rooms and passwords will only be shared with registered participants and will be changed at the start of each camp week. Zoo staff will also utilize Zoom’s waiting room feature to allow only registered participants into the sessions, and instructors will have the ability to turn off each camper’s microphone and camera, if needed.
For the safety of all participants, all Zoom sessions will be recorded; participants may turn off their camera, if they wish. Caregivers should make sure their camper is using the most up-to-date version of Zoom.
It’s the zoo’s policy that disrespectful online behavior (i.e. cyber bullying) will not be tolerated. Zoo staff reserve the right to dismiss campers from virtual summer camp for their behavior, if necessary.