Bison Genetics: History, Science, and Conservation Combined

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

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WCS has been at the forefront of American bison conservation since the early 1900s – and in this 6 hour CTLE eligible course geared towards HS teachers, we will explore the past, present and future of the American bison (Bos bison) - through our WCS Presents Field Sight Bison Genetics storyline. Document Based Questions (DBQs) and an exploration of primary sources from the WCS Archives will help us discover the historic ties between Western Native American peoples and bison, and the role that western settlers played in creating the genetic bottleneck that American bison herds face today. We will model how your students can use conservation bison herd information to create pedigree charts and calculate mean kinship values and make management decisions about relocating bison between herds to increase genetic diversity. Finally, through the construction of a prairie ecosystem ecological pyramid we will look at the role of the American bison as prairie ecosystem engineers and discuss the future of American bison in human dominated landscapes.

Location: Bronx Zoo
Date & Time: January 28, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Price: $50 (includes lunch)

Registration is now closed.

For more information about On-Site Professional Development, please contact: or (718) 220-5136

Meet Your Instructor

Kathryn Atkins

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Kathryn is fascinated by the complex and interdisciplinary nature of achieving conservation goals, ideas she pursued in gaining her MS in Conservation Biology. The complexities of formal science instruction at the middle and secondary level are just as intriguing to her - Kathryn taught middle school science as a New York City Teaching Fellow while completing her MS Ed. In addition to her work designing and delivering professional development to classroom teachers, Kathryn coordinates the WCS Advanced Inquiry Program – a master’s degree being offered by WCS PD, in conjunction with Miami University’s Project Dragonfly.

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