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Trends and Perceptions in Zoo and Aquarium Field Trips

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This paper reports the results of a survey designed to examine trends in zoo and aquarium field trip attendance, as well as the perceptions and practices of zoo and aquarium educators. The results suggest that field trip attendance is down at most zoos and aquariums over the last five years, but increased during 2009 over 2008 at about half of the institutions reporting data. The results obtained here, combined with those reported in the published literature, suggest that zoo and aquarium educators must continue to provide classroom teachers with professional development opportunities if field trips are to remain an educationally-relevant part of the K-12 experience.

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Nicholas J. Meiers
Researcher

Number and percent of zoo and aquarium educators mentioning a particular theme for their visit (n=37).

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One of the most fundamental aspects of cognitive function is the ability to filter and extract, through focused attention, useful information from the vast array of incoming stimuli at any given moment. Impairments in selective attention performance are associated with disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. To further investigate the role of orexins in selective attention, male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained on a selective attention task paradigm designed to measure their ability to focus on external stimuli and perform appropriate response actions. Based on the available literature we expect orexin to cause a dose-dependent impairment on performance of the selective attention task.

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Evans Love
Researcher

Mark Stefani
Assistant Professor of Psychology

An overhead view of the operant chamber setup. On one wall (to the rear of the subjects as pictured) was a food dispenser and food trough. On the opposing wall were three identical cue holes with embedded white lights. The food trough and the cue holes contained an infrared beam that shone across the opening to detect nose pokes by the subjects.

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