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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

San Diego Zoo Academy offers eight weeks of free classes

Offered by the San Diego Zoo Global Academy, the interactive courses are designed to be completed by students in as little as one to two hours.

SAN DIEGO — For the next eight weeks, middle and high school teachers and students can gain access to 22 free, self-paced online courses through the San Diego Zoo covering a variety of taxonomic groups and individual animal species.

Offered by the San Diego Zoo Global Academy, the interactive courses are designed to be completed by students in as little as one to two hours. They include video, images and quizzes to teach students about mammals, birds, reptiles, monotremes and more.

"The urgent nature of San Diego Zoo Global's work to save species is unchanged, even in the face of this pandemic," said Paul A. Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global.

"Due to the long-term support of our community, we are able to continue our efforts even though our parks are closed," he said. "Offering academic options for students and teachers allows us to give back to the community during this challenging time."

Beginning April 1, new animal species online learning modules will be made available each week -- and will remain online through May 24.

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The first week of free courses begins with an overview of cats and lessons on cheetahs, lions and tigers.

"Our organization continues to be a lifeline connecting wildlife and people," said Jon Prange, director of the San Diego Zoo Global Academy. "We hope that by sharing our knowledge and love for the natural world, we may inspire a deep respect for nature and pass on to younger generations the importance of conserving species in order to create a healthy ecological balance."

To access the free courses, students are only required to enter their name, email address and school, while teachers are asked to enter the grades they teach.

The online learning modules were originally created for animal care professionals, as well as students at colleges and universities. However, the animal species series is designed to make learning fun, even if students are homebound.

Visit Collabornation.net/register/sdzk12 to sign up for the courses.