Zoos and Aquariums Funding Bill that Supports WCS’s Bronx Zoo Educational Program Passes U.S. House

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services supports WCS Distance Learning Expeditions program
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) led fight for reauthorization

NEW YORK (December 15, 2010) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) applauded the reauthorization of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which funds cultural and educational institutions including zoos and aquariums. At WCS’s Bronx Zoo, IMLS grants funds to the Distance Learning Expeditions program, an innovative “virtual field trip” for students in schools around the U.S. and the world who can experience zoo-based environmental educational opportunities including problem-solving activities and small-group studies through cyberspace.  

Cultural institutions, such as WCS’s Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium, act as economic anchors for communities by creating jobs, supporting local vendors and providing avenues for education and conservation. The IMLS reauthorization, which now goes to the president’s desk for signature into law, acts as a direct economic investment into communities across the country. Programs at WCS’s Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium will continue to be able to apply for IMLS competitive grant funding.

“We thank Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. George Miller for leading the fight to pass the IMLS reauthorization,” said Kelly Keenan Aylward, WCS Washington Office Director. “WCS recognizes the duty that zoos, aquariums and other cultural institutions have in acting as economic engines and educational resources for America’s families and communities. IMLS has supported WCS programs for over 14 years and we applaud the U.S. Congress for allowing that great work to continue.”

IMLS provides grant funding for educational programming, professional development and collections management for non-profit museums, aquariums, zoos, historic sites, nature centers, and planetariums. In addition to Sen. Reed and Rep. Miller, the reauthorizing legislation was co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Susan Collins (R-ME).    

WCS’s Distance Learning Expeditions program takes students on a trip to the zoo without setting foot outside their classroom. Using two-way videoconferencing technology, the Bronx Zoo brings engaging programs for K-12 students live and direct into classrooms. Distance Learning Expeditions include several live animal "guests"—alligators, armadillos, lizards, owls and others. Programs are approximately 50 minutes and include extensive teacher support materials. The teacher-endorsed programs are aligned with the National Science Education Standards and have received rave reviews from students and teachers.
Chip Weiskotten: (202-624-8172; weiskotten@wcs.org)
Mary Dixon: (347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org)

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.  

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation 

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