Zoo Bagrut

Interested in doing a Bagrut matriculation that’s out-of-the-box?

The Biblical Zoo invites you to do a level-5 Bagrut on the subject of animals and nature.

Zoo Bagrut is a unique research program for the Bagrut for high school students of excellence from the  Jerusalem area and offers inspiration for excellence, values, leadership, equality, and opportunities.

General information:

Zoo Bagrut was established in 2010 at the Biblical Zoo with the goal of serving as an education and research basis for high school students of excellence in the Jerusalem area. Program participants research issues connected to biology, zoology, veterinary, and nature conservation at the various zoo exhibits. It is led by the zoo’s senior staff, who are intent on improving the well-being of the animals at the zoo. The students prepare final projects at the 5-unit level in Biology. The program is intended for students in grades 11 and 12 who are studying at schools of all sectors and genders.

Details:

This unique research program has been in operation at the Biblical Zoo for over a decade and is intended for excellent high school students who see the important value in nature conservation and preservation of endangered species. It is also for those who are interested in researching and preparing papers at the 5-unit matriculation level in Biology.

This program was established by the Zoo’s first director, Mr. Shai Doron, along with Idit Rubin, a Jerusalem educator and entrepreneur, and in cooperation with the senior staff of the zoo, department managers, and support from the Friends of the Zoo Association.

Since its first year, over 80 students from a variety of schools in Jerusalem and surrounding areas have participated in the program. The acceptance process is conducted in cooperation with schools including Keshet High School, Israel Arts and Sciences Academy, Ankori High School, Arev School, Pelech Girls’ High School, ORT,  Ein Karem Agricultural School,  Horev Schools,  Yad B’Yad High School, Hartman High School, Oriah High School, Amaliah High School for Girls, Talya High School, Himmelfarb High School, The Hebrew University Secondary School (Leyada), Netiv Meir Yeshiva, Hartman High School for Girls, Adam High School, Ohr Torah High School for Girls Ramot, Jerusalem Experimental High School, Harel High School, Lapid Modiin High School, Neve Channah High School, Ofrah High School, Eitan High School at Kibbutz Na’an, and others.

Zoo Bagrut begins in 11th grade with a series of joint classes focusing on veterinary treatment, animal behavior, and communication between animals, along with in-depth knowledge of a zoo’s challenges. There is also a series of behind-the-scenes tours at the zoo and acquaintance with animals, the departments, and the keepers, as well as a series of classes on unique research and writing skills in preparation for the final project. After this, in 12th grade, the students advance in their independent research.

The program is operated in partnership with supervision of final projects and of the subject of Biology at the Ministry of Education. The students are guided by an academic consultant, Dr. Hadas Steinitz, who possesses extensive experience in research and in guiding students.

The main goal of the program is to cultivate future generations of leadership in the field of nature conservation in Israel.

The program expresses the essence of the founding values of the zoo: striving for excellence, pluralism and tolerance, equal opportunity, professional ethics, a commitment to the most advanced code of treatment of animals in the world, respecting the values of various populations as individuals and communities, use of multi-cultural professional language, and use of innovative lab tools found in the zoo for the sake of continual learning and improvement.

The program promotes a multi-cultural encounter, enabling professional and open dialogue without any sectorial or gender separation and is based on common values.

The contribution of research findings from student projects is invaluable.  Unique inventions discovered in advance research by the students have led to breakthroughs and have contributed significantly to zoological work at the zoo. For example, a student who observed the response of the male Asian elephant to the periods of ovulation of the female elephant led to a change in timing of artificial insemination and thus assisted in the international activities for preservation Asian elephants.

A system of support and professional guidance, integrating staff and researchers from the zoo with varying levels of education and at varying professional levels, accompanies the students along the course of the program and provides them with a model of collaboration and teamwork as leading values toward joint success.

The program’s alumni serve as ambassadors of the values of nature conservation along the diverse Israeli landscape. In every position they will hold in their military service, in every subject they may study and research in academia, and in all their social and communal activity in society, as a young and influential generation, they will remember the values they acquired in the program as well as the skills and advanced research tools which served them. This will aid them and position them in a more values-based and ethical place. Some may even volunteer at the zoo or return to work there in a professional manner.

In summary,

The Zoo Bagrut program is an example of a program which positions the entire education system in the city of Jerusalem and Israel in a place of innovation and values. It promotes a systematic approach to improving independent and advanced learning. This program proves that institutions of culture, research, and nature can lead students of excellence in significant, personal, and breakthrough learning, in partnership with schools and not instead of them. The strengths found in the various research fields join the education system and together increase the supply of and the outlook for opportunities for students. This program provides an option for students of excellence who love nature and is a unique model for innovative, independent learning at its best.

Written and photographed by Idit Rubin.

Previous research topics:

Examination of incubation temperature of the Griffon vulture

Interaction between penguins and humans

Feeding patterns of various Australian fruit bats

Parental treatment vs. group treatment of squirrel monkeys

Sleeping patterns of Asian elephants with the aid of night vision cameras

Interaction between the young and mature at the kangaroo exhibit

Interaction between lemurs and humans

Group behavior of Tilapia fish

Use of machines to solve elephant problems while observing memory and learning

Koi fish activity in different conditions

Activity and use of the exhibit by a pair of tigresses

The connection between enrichment and behavior of the cheetah and its place in the exhibit at the Biblical Zoo

Feeding penguin chicks

The influence of environmental conditions on the behavior of the gray wolf at the Biblical Zoo

Nutrition deficiencies of the African spurred tortoise

Thermal regulation patterns in the Tapir

Thermal regulation patterns in the Kangaroo

Influence of audience and noise level on the behavior of the Siamang monkey

Sleep activity of giraffes throughout the night

Contact us by email at: bagrutzoo@gmail.com

5/16/2021
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