As part of the inaugural COSI Science Festival, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is offering a pair of educational programs that highlight "conservation in action."

The programs, which run during the four-day Science Festival that places activities throughout central Ohio, run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, and Thursday, May 2, at the zoo, 4850 W. Powell Road.

The programs are known as Inspiration Stations and focus on a different group and message each day.

The May 1 session is for students in grades K-2 and will focus on "inspiring a lifelong connection to nature," said Brandon Good, conservation education manager.

"The students will be able to stop by the stations and use their senses to discover different aspects of nature," he said. "They're getting an idea of what they can do with their senses to learn how to make observations."

The May 2 session will be aimed at children in grades 3-5 and will focus on "using critical-thinking and problem-solving skills when making decisions affecting the environment," Good said.

"They're going to go back to their vocabulary and lessons about the ecosystem to start to understand how plastic affects those ecosystems," he said.

The zoo also will have a presence outside its boundaries with a booth at the festival's conclusion, the Big Science Celebration, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4.

At the celebration, a variety of exhibitors, including the zoo, will have booths to showcase their organization and provide hands-on activities.

Becky Nellis, director of curriculum and partnerships, said the zoo booth will focus on its veterinarians and will provide "several actual case studies" for children to "work through and explore what the process is."

"It's going to show how we're able to look at problems with our animals and find solutions to help them," she said. "You're helping kids learn how to look for those clues and then learn how to take care of our animals."

For more information on the festival, visit www.cosiscifest.org.

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