Teacher Resources

  • Schedule a field trip and take your students for a walk on the wild side as they visit us here at the Zoo!
  • Get your students ready to visit the Zoo with the Zoo Preview.
  • Provide your students and chaperones with Field Trip Activities to help focus their experience.
  • Stay tuned for information about the NEW Field Trip Exploration Stations that we are rolling out this spring!
  • Stay tuned for information about our Waste Free Lunch Challenge. Learn about waste-free lunches below.
  • Bring the Zoo to Your School! We offer many Wildlife Lessons topics, including animal classification, food webs and wildlife conservation. Each Lesson includes a visit with a live animal ambassador and a hands-on experience with items such as animal skulls and pelts. You can also request an Animal Appearance where 2-3 animals visit your classroom without a formal lesson.

What else can we do for you? Contact cathleen.mcconnell@pdza.org.

Art to Save the Sea

The Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea exhibit displays larger-than-life sea creatures sculpted of marine trash collected from Oregon beaches. These colorful sculptures were built to educate audiences about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways, and encourage positive changes in consumer habits.

As your kids get close to each sculpture they will notice a wide variety of recognizable single and multi-use plastic items. They will find plastic bottles, bottle caps, tooth brushes, flip flops, toys and many other plastic products that they are familiar with. After your trip, we encourage you to talk to your students about how those items ended up in the ocean and what we all can do to help protect marine life.

These links and the attached activity will help you lead a discussion to help students choose actions they and their families can take to reduce their plastic use.

Learn more about Washed Ashore

Learn about single-use plastics from the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Find out how we are going plastic free at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Green Your School

Washington Green Schools
Engage students as environmental stewards and leaders while creating a greener, healthier school by reducing environmental and carbon footprints.

Green Schools Educator Workshop, April 25, 2017 at the downtown Tacoma Public Library (1102 Tacoma Ave. S) from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Receive training and resources to green your school. Educators, school staff, parents, high school leaders & volunteers are invited to attend. Three clock hours are available. Workshop is FREE.

Register online at: Tacoma Eco-Schools, Brown Bag Tickets

Eco-Schools USA - National Wildlife Federation
Green your school inside, outside, and throughout your curriculum! Join over 50 other countries in this international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment.

Cool the Earth
If you are looking for a great way to motivate your students to fight climate change, this program will give you the recipe and even some of the ingredients to make a difference. Tell them Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium sent you!

Click here for a list of Global Warming and Climate Change resources.

Waste Free Lunches

It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.    

What’s in Your Lunch? Ask your students to share what might have in their lunch for that day. What kind of container does each food item come in? Can those containers be re-used or do they just get thrown away? Ask them to think about how they could have the same lunch but use re-usable containers. Here are some resources to help you focus this conversation.

EPA Waste-Free Lunch Curriculum

EPA Waste-Free Lunch Poster

What About Wildlife? Plastic bags, straws, bottles and other plastic items often escape recycling and landfill centers. Much of this plastic trash makes it to the ocean where they can harm wildlife such as seals, sea lions, fish, seabirds and sea turtles.

At the Zoo we are helping to keep wildlife safe by not using plastic lids, or straws and we just stopped selling water, juice or soda in plastic bottles! We have installed 6 water bottle re-filling stations throughout the zoo. Fresh, cool, free water! Ask your students to see if they can find them all while they are at the Zoo.