Back to School with The Wildlife Center of Virginia

It’s official -- classes are back in session for many school systems throughout Virginia! Are you a teacher or educator looking to incorporate lessons about wildlife and the environment into your classroom? Look no further. The Wildlife Center of Virginia offers a robust collection of educational resources, lesson plans, and activity ideas – inspired by the true stories of thousands of wild animals cared for at the Center each year -- that are adaptable to nearly any learning objective.

 A classroom viewing of Untamed: Life is Wild – an award-winning made-for-television series co-produced by the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s professional educators and Virginia Public Media -- fits perfectly into any lesson plan related to wildlife, ecosystems, or Earth sciences. 42 episodes spanning four seasons cover topics including wildlife medicine, environmental conservation, and more, all within an episode run-time of approximately 25 minutes. For a complete listing of episodes, and to stream all available seasons online for free, click here.  

After the credits roll, take the learning experience a step further for your students with the Center’s Untamed Compendium. This library of materials highlights the major themes and ideas presented in each episode and includes worksheets, activities, and lesson plans that are best used in combination with a classroom viewing.


Teachers and students are encouraged to visit the Center’s Critter Cams and Moderated Discussion at any time for a live-streaming, interactive experience. With three unique “channels” online simultaneously, Critter Cam watchers may see views of recovering Bald Eagle patients, five rambunctious Black Bear cubs, or one of the Center’s non-releasable education raptors. Wildlife Center moderators ensure conversations remain on-topic and age-appropriate and can be custom-tailored to suit your classroom’s needs.

The Critter Cams and Moderated Discussion are also where educators will find scheduled live-streaming virtual events and presentations – no registration required! Join the Center online this coming Tuesday, August 29 at 9:00 am EST for Hospital Cam to watch as the veterinarians, technicians, rehabilitators, and volunteers perform treatments on a wide variety of patients.

The Caring for Critters sponsorship program is a fantastic way to engage students with the Wildlife Center. Academic-year sponsorships are available to teachers and classrooms for $35 [generally a nine-month sponsorship], and help to provide food, shelter, and medical care for the sponsored animal; support the Center’s educational outreach programs; and help to provide state-of-the-art emergency care to thousands of animals admitted to the Wildlife Center each year. As a Caring for Critters sponsor, classrooms receive a high-quality photo of the chosen ambassador animal, detailed information on the species’ natural history, a personalized certificate of adoption, and regular email updates about the sponsored animal from Center staff.

Field trips to the Center can be a truly unique opportunity for your class, club, or group. Learn about the inner workings of a wildlife hospital, meet several of our education ambassadors, and take a tour of our resident non-releasable raptors, including owls, hawks, falcons, and an eagle. Scheduling is determined on a case-by-case basis, so don’t delay -- use this on-site program request form to inquire about our educators’ availability.

Private virtual educational programs are also available for classrooms and include learning objectives comparable to in-person programming. All programs include time for personalized discussion and question-and-answer sessions tailored toward your group. Virtual programs are highly flexible and customizable – learn more and submit an online program request form here.  

Looking for a class project or community service-based activity for students? Some school groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and other organizations have organized special food and supply drives to help the Wildlife Center. Goods like antibacterial liquid soap, paper towels, and masking tape are relatively inexpensive and easy to collect – they’re also incredibly helpful! The Center receives no government funding for its veterinary care of wildlife, and each donation truly does make a difference.

The possibilities for including the Wildlife Center in your classroom’s school year are nearly limitless. For more ideas and examples of how students have connected with the Center during past years, visit our Online Educational Resources page.

Can’t find what you’re looking for, or have an idea of your own? Let us know! Contact the Center’s dedicated group of professional educators anytime at 

Have a great school year -- see you in class!