American youth are not well exposed to animal- and nature-related careers. This is especially important to consider due to the recent push to be more environmentally conscious. In addition, youth are spending less time outside and more time in front of screens. This is driving down biophilia strength. The combination of a weaker connection with nature and more screen time has been connected to a new condition named Nature-Deficit Disorder. In order to expose youth to animal- and nature-related careers while attempting to combat the growing presence of Nature-Deficit Disorder, a three day teaching program named Wild Careers was created. This program was presented to teens in December 2015 through a partnership with the education department of Arizona Animal Welfare League. The curriculum was centered on highlighting relevant careers and background information. Topics such as animal welfare and conservation were taught as cornerstones during the program due to their encompassing importance to the career fields in question. It was felt to be important to inform participants about the context of these fields through specially planned activities and guest speakers. Participants were challenged to conduct online research, think critically, and get hands-on during this program. Wild Careers also exposed the participants to animals and the relevant species management stories. The surveys given before and after the presentation of the created curriculum provided evidence that supported an increased understanding of careers and enjoyment of participants. I propose that other non-formal teaching environments should be created that target exposing youth to animals, nature, and related careers.
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