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Utica, NY – The Utica Zoo has announced that they have earned a grant from the Woman’s Fund for the purposes of holding a STEAM program for girls. The new program will introduce girls aged 12-15 to STEM/STEAM based careers and different aspects of running a Zoo.

According to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, women make up a mere 24% of STEM workers, despite representing 47% of the workforce. As society and technology advance at a feverish pace, it is essential that girls engage in STEM/STEAM activities from a young age. In order to be successful in a STEM/STEAM career field, it is imperative that girls are exposed to the critical thinking skills and integrated, hands on approach to STEM Programs. Because of this need, the Utica Zoo applied for and was awarded a $4,500 grant from the Woman’s Fund for the purposes of developing and running a program for girls in Oneida and Herkimer counties. The new program, titled “STEAMing the Urban Forest” will be held on 8 consecutive Saturday mornings at the Utica Zoo starting on May 11th.

The new program will focus on real world problems and will immerse the students in open ended exploration and problem solving. By using the elements of STEAM, students will work together as a group to solve problems while being exposed to a variety of STEAM based careers and methods. Students will be tasked with exploring and inventorying a section of the North Trek Urban Forest, researching the needs of an animal of the Urban
Forest, working with animal care and veterinary staff to learn what constitutes a healthy habitat, enhancing the environment for the benefit of their chosen animal, developing interpretive and informational materials, and ultimately presenting their findings to family, friends, and Zoo staff. In addition, female representatives from various supporting organizations will serve as guests to introduce the girls to real life, STEAM based careers.

Registration for “STEAMing the Urban Forest” is now open and may be done by emailing
mary.hall@uticazoo.org or 315-738-0472 x. 36. Classes will be held from 9am-12:30pm on consecutive Saturday mornings at the Utica Zoo from May 11th -June 22nd. Cost is $50/girl with a limited number of need-based scholarships available. Contact Mary Hall for more information.

For all things Utica Zoo, visit UticaZoo.org or follow on Facebook, or on Instagram and Twitter @uticazoo.

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