HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo launched a new outreach program Thursday.
"Inside Out" is Hattiesburg Zoo's free education outreach program in which the Zoo brings animals to Pinebelt schools to provide hands-on experience and education about the animal kingdom.
Each semester the Zoo brings an onsite learning adventure to area schools featuring live animals and knowledgeable educators. This semester's theme focuses on the difference between inner and outer skeletons. Animals include snakes, tarantulas, and barred owls.
"We were inspired to create this program because we realized just how many people did not know that certain animals, like snakes for example, have bones. It is my hope that we can bring these animals to classrooms, full of students of all ages, and expand their animal education," said Jeremy Cumpton, Hattiesburg Zoo education outreach coordinator.
The presentations last approximately thirty minutes but can be tailored to fit a school or classroom's schedule. The curriculum provided is based on the Mississippi Department of Education's Life Science Competencies.
Thursday, the Zoo is providing a special preview of this program at Panera Bread in Hattiesburg from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Panera Bread chose the Zoo as its philanthropy for 2017 and has already donated $5,000 to the Zoo's education outreach program. Cumpton will have animals on site and will be available to answer questions about them.
"We consistently have groups visit the Zoo for field trips; however, this unique opportunity allows our staff and animals to venture out and educate students in a smaller setting. We have had a great response in the past with our educational outreach, and we are eager to share this new program with our area schools," said Rick Taylor, executive director of the Hattiesburg Convention and Tourism Commissions.
For additional information, call the Hattiesburg Zoo at 601.545.4576 or visit the Zoo online at HattiesburgZoo.com. The Hattiesburg Zoo is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility, in partnership with the City of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing and operating tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area.