Addison Trail offers new Comparative Zoology course

When you step inside the new Comparative Zoology classroom at Addison Trail, you’re quickly transported into a “living environment,” where students engage with one another and learning through hands-on experiences with animals and animal keeping.

“We’ve been working to implement this class for a couple of years, and we’re excited to offer it as part of the Science Department curriculum,” said Erin Groth, Addison Trail Science Department Head. “Our goal is to show students how zoology connects with other branches of science.”

Through the course, students learn about husbandry, feeding/nutrition, anatomy, diseases and working collaboratively to ensure they’re using best practices. They also are given information regarding career opportunities in the field and the requirements of those positions. The classroom is home to a bearded dragon named Bruni, a painted turtle named Pascal and a Russian tortoise named Leo.

Sophomore Cameron Garcia said he hopes to own a reptile house one day, so he was thrilled to enroll in the course.

“I’ve always loved animals, and Comparative Zoology is a really fun way to get to work with different pets,” Garcia said.

Senior Jack DiDomenic said he has enjoyed developing skills that will help him well beyond the classroom.

“This class will be a great opportunity for all students for years to come, and I look forward to seeing how it will grow in the future such as forming a club,” DiDomenic said. “You really get to know each animal through observing his or her behavior and personality to determine how you need to care for that individual. You start to understand more about what they offer and what we can offer them.”

Addison Trail junior Daniel Cardoso said he knows it’s a privilege that the school has Comparative Zoology and provides this opportunity.

“Students don’t need to want to pursue a career in zoology to take this class – it’s a great experience for everyone,” Cardoso said.

Groth said the department hopes to expand the course to include an honors option and a Zoology II. The class also looks forward to welcoming shrimp, leopard geckos, African dwarf frogs and a chinchilla soon.

“It has been amazing to watch the students interact and connect with the animals,” Groth said. “Seeing their level of passion is just pure joy for them and for us as teachers.”