Why you should do a Zoo Project

By Alex Slusher

Work with animals; kill two birds with one stone.

As the science fair has wrapped up, and students begin to think of project ideas for next year, I thought I would offer the recommendation of a Zoo project. I first heard of the possibility of doing a zoo project towards the end of my sophomore year.

Bettina Greg proposed it to a group of students in a lunch meeting, and my friend, Abe, and I jumped at the opportunity immediately. The zoo offers projects with a variety of animals, and we chose to focus on rhinos. Other groups worked with many animals such as chimpanzees, a desired animal to study. The zoo project offers students an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and use the research project as a service project as well. Furthermore, students can begin training and taking data in the summer. Taking data outside, in the mid, late summer & early fall beats spending time in a dimly lit lab. This can lessen the load for a potentially busy fall (especially for juniors). This year, Julia Pippenger ‘21 won the first OES Science Fair award for a zoo project for her work with monkeys.

Bettina, a catalyst for Oregon Episcopal School’s relationship with the zoo, noted that “We have a zoo a few miles up the road, and the opportunity to create a partnership with them. Real science that matters to the community, and the value is greater when you can help someone else as well”. Despite massive construction at the zoo, which limited opportunities, OES had three zoo projects this year and looks to have a handful more next year. For those interested, be proactive and reach out to a teacher in the science department – you will not regret it!

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