Penguins: Wings, Beaks, and Feathers, Oh My!
Wednesday, April 25, is World Penguin Day.
Join us for a free online program as we waddle like penguins! Watch an Academy biologists feed our colony in our African Penguin exhibit and get your questions answered by a museum educator.
In this free online program, Academy museum educators brought K-2 students into our African Penguin exhibit!
Students met and learned about the South African Penguin. By observing the penguins in our colony, students learned how penguins are similar to other birds and how their differences help them survive in their environment. Students explored what it is like to be a penguin by waddling and swimming like one, while investigating the habitat in which they live. Finally, students had the chance to ask their questions about penguins to Academy staff while watching the live colony.
This program was designed to be interactive in nature!
Students had the opportunity to ask Academy museum educators, via a chat box about their curiosities regarding penguins, the Academy's colony, and much more.
"During the presentation many students sketched and jotted notes into their science notebooks. After the program the students were oozing with excitement . They were anxious to have conversations with their peers about new found knowledge on African penguins. I noticed many students added more details to their notes. They then begged for more time to write about African penguins. They were still talking about African penguins the next day and several visited the principal to share what they learned."
-3rd Graders at Lincrest Elementary, Yuba City CA
"My students enjoyed being able to see their questions in the chat box and having them answered. They also enjoyed seeing the questions other classes had."
-2nd Graders at Lincoln Community School, Bayonne NJ
"I love being able to use the technology in the classroom. We loved being there but still in our classroom!"
1st Grade teacher at St Joseph Elementary School, Alameda CA
Though the Academy's penguin colony is healthy and growing, their wild relatives aren't faring as well. Based on major population declines (at least 90 percent over the 20th century), African penguins were designated as an endangered species in September 2010 by the IUCN and the USFWS. In 1930, there were roughly a million of these charmers in their native West African habitat, but penguin biologists now estimate that there are only about 25,000 African penguin pairs remaining in the wild.
The good news is that African penguins are finding a strong ally in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program sponsored by the California Academy of Sciences and 53 other zoos and scientific institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The SSP's goal is to ensure the long-term survival of a viable population of African penguins. Since 1983, numerous chicks hatched at the Academy have moved to other zoos and aquariums around the country in order to maximize long-term genetic diversity in the captive-bred population. That population acts as a reservoir for genetic diversity, and could eventually be used to bolster wild penguin populations.