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Students present zoo exhibit models as their capstone project
Student with Cheetah posterStudents from the Erie 1 BOCES Zoo Wildlife and Conservation Careers program presented their final projects on May 18. The three-part project is a culmination of a year of research the students have done. Each student chose an animal in the beginning of the year and then spent a year researching the animal, its behaviors and its habitats. 

Each student wrote a comprehensive research paper on their animal, and created a tri-fold poster board that incorporated the highlights of their paper, a marketing plan and educational signs.  Finally, they created scale models of an ideal zoo enclosure for their animals, based on the Association of Zoos & Aquariums guidelines, size requirements, safety for both animals and visitors and good sightlines for visitors to the zoo. They also had to study components such as proper ventilation, lighting and access doors for zoo keepers. 

Penguin Habitat ModelGwen Howard, vice president of architecture at Foit Albert Associates, helped the students with their projects while they were coming up with the plans. She came to speak to the class about her work designing and building different exhibits at the Buffalo Zoo, and general considerations that need to be made when designing an exhibit. She later met with each student to talk with them about their design and gave input based on her expertise. 

Each of the 15 students in the course presented to the crowd of assembled guests, including families, teachers and Erie 1 BOCES administrators. The students gave a brief overview of their chosen animal, why they chose to create their exhibit the way they did, why they chose the animal and what they used to create their exhibit. 

After presentations, guests were invited to view the exhibits and ask the students questions. 

The Zoo Wildlife and Conservation Careers program is part of the Erie 1 BOCES New Visions program.Polar bear model The New Visions program connects qualified, highly-motivated high school seniors with mentoring professionals in the workplace and at local colleges/universities. These competitive, off-site programs integrate required English and Social Studies credits with targeted studies at locations such as Canisius College, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and The Buffalo Zoo.

More information is available by calling (716) 821-7035, or by speaking with your school guidance counselor.

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