Archive: Detroit Zoological Society Delivers More Than 150 Virtual Learning Programs During Pandemic

Free DZS Digital Tools Continue to Help Families, Lifelong Learners

June 16, 2020

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

As part of its commitment to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Zoological Society education staff has produced more than 150 free virtual learning programs since mid-March, helping students and lifelong learners continue to explore wildlife conservation, animal welfare, environmental sustainability and humane education.

“When we made the decision to temporarily close the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center due to the public health crisis, we knew that presented an opportunity to reach our audiences in different ways,” said Diane Miller, chief program officer for the Detroit Zoological Society.

The experienced education staff took their knack for lesson planning and went virtual, launching daily Facebook Lives from their living rooms on topics ranging from the Partula nodosa snail to the Detroit Zoo’s anaerobic digester.

“At first, we started doing one or two live lessons a day,” Miller said. “After receiving great feedback from the community, we started doing three a day Monday through Friday.”

The Virtual Vitamin Z videos, which are also available on YouTube and, were just the beginning. During the shutdown, the education staff also launched an online tool that allows teachers and families to search for lessons based on grade level and subject.

From flamingoes to wolves to native wildlife — there is a topic for everyone. Most lessons also include an activity that families can do together using supplies at home.

“We really wanted to provide resources for people that were informative and engaging to especially help parents who were attempting distance learning with their children,” said Miller.

Even though the Detroit Zoo has since reopened to visitors by reservation, the education team is still embracing this new digital pivot — working on Summer Virtual Ventures and producing longer lesson plans for people throughout Michigan.

To access the DZS educational tool, click here. To view all of the Virtual Vitamin Z videos, go here.