Education Programs

Popcorn Park Animal Refuge Outreach Programming

All programming coincides with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science (NJSLS-S) and encourages exploration of wildlife and environmental stewardship through interpretive presentations. Using live animals allows students to explore wildlife in a safe and responsible environment as presented by trained educators in a highly entertaining and engaging fashion. 

One time programs: These programs would consist of a one-time standalone visit and can be offered to schools/libraries/townships to be billed at $350.00 per session. Most programming is suitable for ages 6 and up and can be catered to specific grades and ages.   Specialized programming for special needs students is also available. 

Types of Courses:

General Wildlife Program:

Explore a wide variety of creatures up close and personal from all taxa including invertebrates like Tarantulas and Scorpions, Reptiles and Amphibians including Corn snakes, Pine snakes, frogs, toads, and turtles as well as native and exotic mammals such as opossum and foxes and more. We’ll touch upon the natural history and specialized adaptations of these individual creatures.  Additionally, we will learn how these creatures came to live at Popcorn Park animal refuge and how they help to educate the public about important issues surrounding wildlife, as well as what you can do to help wildlife. 

This program is designed to inspire an interest in a wide variety of animals as well as explore natural behaviors and adaptations to promote an interest in wildlife as well as environmental stewardship.

Wildlife of NJ:

In in-depth look into some of the unique wildlife that we work with here at Popcorn Park that are specifically native to the Garden State.  Learn the unique stories behind some of our special ambassador animals like Dizzy the Opossum and Cornelius the corn snake.  We’ll discuss the status of these animals in the wild, some of which are state endangered or threatened throughout their range, and what important roles they play in NJ’s unique ecosystem.

This program is designed to create an awareness of the unique habitats found within the state of New Jersey as well as the creatures that inhabit them.  We’ll explore the unique adaptations such as the ability to hibernate that allows these creatures to survive some of the extreme conditions associated with living in our temperate state.

Alien Creatures!:

Find out about some of the invasive species that we work with at Popcorn Park and why it’s important to remove them from our local sensitive environments. We’ll explore some of the special adaptations of creatures such as Red-Ear sliders which allow them to get a foothold in NJ and how they affect the local wildlife around them.

This program familiarizes students with the ability of animals to establish themselves within non-native habitats usually through human facilitation.  This program will highlight the impact that these creatures have on NJ’s native habitats and how they displace local flora and fauna.

Animal Keeper Life:

Ever wonder what it takes to become an animal keeper or to work at an Animal Refuge?

Learn about the typical day of a keeper and see some of the techniques used in caring for the unique array of creatures we keep at Popcorn Park Animal Refuge. We’ll review procedures and techniques used to work with all kinds of animals and the protocol that ensures safety and healthy interactions with the creatures under our care.   We’ll explore specialized equipment used for safely handling animal as well as the techniques involved in the long-term care and maintenance of animals in a zoological environment. Educators will demonstrate proper handling techniques and allow students to experiment with some of the tools of the trade such as snake hooks and safety gloves. Learn how keepers can safely work with animals at Popcorn Park Animal Refuge such as big cats, horses, predators like bears and large constrictors in a safe and meaningful way.  We’ll also explore what it takes to keep animals happy and healthy and explore things like diet preparation, exhibit design and animal enrichment.

Curriculum Support Outreach Programs:

 These programs will consist of weekly visits and would coincide with core curriculum learning that can be coordinated with educators to explore individual facets of NJ native and exotic wildlife. It would be broken down according to animal types and would involve in-depth exploration of various taxa.  This would be billed at $250.00 per session with a minimum of two sessions booked.

Programming will consist of exploring various types of animals broken down by individual types (i.e.; Birds, Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians, Invertebrates) on a weekly basis and will include live specimens.  These programs will be coordinated with individual schools to cover the varying topics in a timely fashion coinciding with school curriculum. We will engage in detailed exploration of specialized behaviors and morphology, relative to each animal type including but not limited to the following topics on a weekly basis.

  • Identification (Owl vs Hawk, etc.)
  • Morphology (Examination of various body parts, adaptations, and how they function)
  • Diet (hunting methods, specialization, adaptation)
  • General Ecology and behaviors.

Become an Education Volunteer!

Interested in joining our team? Contact us today to become a volunteer with our Educational Programming!

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