I have been tasked with learning what other EE institutions are doing to try and encourage novel (and repeat) school visits to their institutions. We, like many other zoos, have seen a decline in school visits over the last 10 years as the priority is placed on classroom-based learning and teaching to the tests and teachers' contract renewals can be based on how their students do on these state standardized tests. While we do include standards that are met in the online literature for our self-guided tours and animal encounter programs that are available to field trip groups for when teachers (or their administration) need convincing of the value of a zoo visit, we would like to know if there are other approaches or tactics that have either:
A) worked for your institution to get schools to visit
B) worked to get you, as an educator, to visit an institution with your class
Any help with this would be lovely. Our end goal is to increase environmental literacy and access to nature in the greater Cincinnati area because every child and teacher can benefit from seeing the concepts they are learning/teaching literally come to life. Thank you in advance!