Exotics and Natives in Idaho

We'll investigate the characteristics of animals that live at Idaho Falls Zoo and compare them with animals native to Idaho. Learn about animal characteristics, biological classification, species management and zoo collections while you explore the zoo in depth.



To prepare teachers to educate their students about the natural world using native Idaho animals and the collection at the Idaho Falls Zoo.

Course Goals

  • Students will comprehend the basics of adaptations, the food web and biodiversity
  • Students will define and understand exotic vs native animals
  • Teachers will leave with materials to enable them to teach the concepts learned to their classes.


Sunny and Alana will be in the zoo on Aug 5 & 6 from 11:00-1:00 if you need help, questions answered, etc. You can find us on or around the tented area in the center of the zoo.

Day One

  • 9:00 - (Via Zoom) Introductions, Class Overview, Class Assignments, Concept Check (pg. 5), Habitats (What's Your Habitat, pg. 6), Ecosystems (Ecosystem Match, pg. 11), and Ecological Interactions (pg. 15)
  • 10:00 - (Via Zoom) Flipping for Adaptations: Create an Animal (pg. 24)
  • 11:00 - Time for self-guided Zoo Tour! Using activities provided in your booklet, select three and try them out. Please select at least 1 you can perform inside the zoo. When you’re finished, take pictures and send to Sunny (skatseanes@idahofallszoo.org) and Alana (alana.jensen@inl.gov). Some ideas in the zoo to consider:
    1. Enrichment: What it is and why it’s important (pg. 31) NOTE: at 11:45 a.m. we’ll have a special example of enrichment at the lion exhibit. We hope you can join us there!
    2. Animal Adaptation worksheet (pg. 35-select an animal in the zoo)
    3. River Otter Adaptations (pg. 39) At 12:00 p.m., we’ll be at river otters if you’d like to do this activity with us!
    4. Birds of Prey: Animal Observation Viewing, Barred Owl (pg. 52) vs Turkey Vulture (pg. 56)
    5. Compare and Contrast Native with Exotic Hoofed Animals in the Zoo (pg. 73)
  • 3:00 - 4:30 (Via Zoom) Review Booklet Activities (how would you use these in your classroom?), Review Day’s Concepts, Discuss Final Project, Plans for Tomorrow, and Close Out

Day Two

  • 9:00 - (Via Zoom) Review, Answer Questions, and Go Over End-of-Day Project Expectations
  • 10:00 - (Via Zoom) Exotic vs Native-Habitats and Invasives (pg. 37)
  • 10:30 – (Via Zoom) Turtles vs. Tortoises and Sloth Bears vs. Grizzlies (join us for a sneak peek behind the scenes at the zoo!)
    1. (At the Zoo) Bird Watching: African Penguins, Ducks, and Water Birds
    2. Adaptationary (pg. 77, using directions in your book)
    3. Primate Enrichment (at the zoo, show the different primate species a picture or object and record their reaction)
  • Perform the following activities on your own, take pictures and send to us via email.
    1. Bird Beaks Activity (pg. 66)
    2. Watch Amazing Adaptations of Idaho Animals: www.youtube.com/channel/UCb2uUFamAcN_5fesPkBNauQ
    3. Camouflage M&Ms (pg. 75)
  • Prep for final presentation
  • 3:00 – 4:30 (virtual) Present Final Create a Game Project and Close Out