Populations of lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are declining at an alarming rate. They are victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans. National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects combined with our Cause an Uproar global public awareness campaign. Join in to introduce your students to big cats, global pen-pals, and to build school spirit around stewardship.
The National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Sister School Program (BCISSP) is an interactive, community service learning opportunity that connects students in the U.S. and abroad with students living near big cat populations in Africa. Funds raised from the service learning activities will purchase much-needed school supplies for sister schools in Africa, while raising awareness globally. Learn how to get your school involved below. All schools are welcome!
The BCISSP is designed to be flexible to your school’s needs. The only requirement is to activate a service learning activity as your students learn about big cats. You can choose to implement a year-long program or participate for a shorter period of time. National Geographic will stay in touch with your school through email updates that outline goals, ideas, and big cats learning opportunities.
To help you plan a program, the full description is outlined in three key phases, including a suggested timeline.
Phase 1: Learn About & Launch the BCISSP — Sign up, review materials and get your students excited.
Phase 2: Integrate Free Resources and Activities — Use our lesson plans and initiate a service learning activity in your classroom.
Phase 3: Assess the BCISSP Activities and Reflect on the Experience — Submit any raised funds, share what worked, and and celebrate with a Roar Off!
Before launching BCISSP, review the activities, videos, presentations, and other resources featured in the free toolkit.
Hold a school assembly to get your students excited about big cats. Use any of the PowerPoint templates, videos, and other media for the assembly from the toolkit.
Learn about Laly Lichtenfeld, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Anne Kent Taylor, Shivani Bhalla, and Amy Dickman and the schools they work with in Africa. Your students can compare their everyday routines to the students in Africa as they start their service learning projects. All funds from the service learning projects will go to the sister schools in Africa.
Explore free online National Geographic lesson plans about big cats. This collection of selected videos, activities, and case studies gives students a clear view of the biology of and threats to big cats and their significance in maintaining healthy ecosystems.
Premieres February 2017
Big Cat Week is Nat Geo WILD’s annual programming event that features stunning images, never-before-seen footage, and powerfully resonant stories of these majestic and endangered felines.
Organize a field trip to the zoo to see big cats live and in person. Many zoos will organize special tours with conservationists for school groups.
Download our Big Cats Paw design and posters in the toolkit, ask each of your students to write their favorite fact about big cats on a paw to display in the hallway. Students can choose to decorate their paw for the holiday season. Find big cats facts here.
Service learning is a key component of the Big Cats Initiative. As a participating sister school, conduct a minimum of one service learning project with your students. The project can be year-long or shorter. All proceeds from the service learning activity will go to the sister schools in Africa to purchase much needed school supplies. Find suggestions for service learning activities here.
Complete your service learning activity. Funds that your school raised to support sister schools in Africa will be used to purchase classroom supplies. Go to the donation page to submit the funds your school raised to BCISSP.
How loud can your school roar? We host an annual final “roar heard around the world” via Google+ Hangout for all sister schools nationwide. All Big Cats Experts will join from the field. We will contact you via email when this has been scheduled. Your school can join live or watch the recording via YouTube at any time after the event.