Distance Learning: 2012-2013 School Year

Students Enjoy a Virtual Visit to the 

Enjoying a tour
Students at a Nashville school learn about the Sanctuary by going on an electronic field trip.
Student asks question
Using two-way videoconferencing, a student directs a question to the Sanctuary staff.

To check dates currently available for teleconference visits please click here: Check Availability.
» Reserve a date

The Elephant Sanctuary is a member of Project DIANE, a Diversified Information and Assistance NEtwork. The membership is comprised of educational institutions and service organizations throughout the state of Tennessee providing distance learning.

Teleconferencing technology is an education tool. Utilizing ISDN telephone lines in their classroom, students can take an electronic "field trip" to the Sanctuary. Images and sound are transported live, allowing students to view an elephant's daily life without causing any intrusion.

Sanctuary staff conduct the "visits," which can originate from anywhere around the world. Students learn about this free-ranging group of endangered elephants living at the nation's only natural habitat for Asian elephants.

We currently schedule teleconference visits one day per week on Thursdays, year round, between the hours of 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Central Time. Pre-scheduling is mandatory to ensure that an educator is available for your electronic field trip.

Each program begins with a visit to the Sanctuary's on-site office. For the first time visitor we suggest viewing our introductory video The Asian Elephant. This 7-minute video is a valuable teaching tool for students with limited exposure to this endangered species. The video is transmitted over the teleconference system. If your time is limited, or if you are a repeat visitor, we can omit the video viewing.

Through an additional camera in our elephants' habitat, students are privy to the private lives of the elephants residing at the Sanctuary. This non-intrusive observation allows viewers to experience natural elephant behavior in a wild setting, and enables them to become familiar with each elephant - her history, habits, and how moving to the sanctuary has changed her life. These elephants represent a new age of captive-elephant management; what they are teaching us is invaluable.

The program is flexible and can run as long as 45 minutes. The program fee is $100.00. First-time visitors are required to conduct a systems test call prior to their teleconference visit. The test call is included in the fee.

To find out more information about teleconference visits please contact cathy@elephants.com

The Latham Letter is published quarterly by The Latham Foundation which was founded in 1918 to promote respect for all life through education. In the Fall 2001 issue, Humane Education's Radical New Era, The Latham Letter features The Elephant Sanctuary's innovative use of technology to educate the masses, live, interactive, in real time, videoteleconferencing. Read the PDF file.

USN Second Graders "Talk with the Animals" (December 2001)

Second graders from University School in Nashville (USN) went on a "virtual tour" of The Elephant Sanctuary.

A letter (May 29, 2001) from an Arizona teacher states:

Videoconference from ArizonaThank you so much for video conference today. It was even more wonderful than I had anticipated. The kids (7th & 8th graders) will never forget it and they left very committed to helping elephants.

I've been a part of MANY humane education lessons and this was the most powerful I've participated in. I'm spreading the word on humane education listservs and will show your site when I speak next year at the 4th annual humane education conference at the University of Illinois next April. Will write up an article about this too and send you a copy...sometime this summer. Will also plug your site and video conference with the US Dept. of Educ grant again...goes out to about 6000 science teachers right now I think! Thanks again. It was fantastic. The kids were so awed...never saw them so quiet! You did a very nice job telling them about Barbara also. I think it really helped them to hear how the other elephants dealt with her death.

Patty Finch
Think Tank

The Elephant Sanctuary has developed two units focusing on the study of elephants. One unit is appropriate for grades K–3; the second unit is appropriate for grades 4–8. The K–3 unit consists of 35 pages of background information for the teacher and learning activities for children. The curriculum for grades 4–8 consists of 72 pages of instruction, background information, charts and graphs, activities, etc. Areas of study, such as social studies, literature, math, and science have been integrated into the units.

The units are in a PDF format and it is necessary to have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view and download the files. Click on the PDF icon to access the free download site.

The Elephant Curriculum units are available for free download:

» Curriculum for grades K–3

» Curriculum for grades 4–8

Please be patient—they might take some time as there are a lot of graphics and pages in each file. However, we think these units of study are terrific, and we encourage interested teachers and parents to make them available for students.