Many of you who read my blog have probably heard of ORCA (The Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals). ORCA is a graduate student organization in the department of behavior analysis at the University of North Texas. It conducts projects and research on animal behavior and training and also organizes and hosts the yearly Art and Science of Animal Training Conference.
ORCA has a very neat partnership with The Heard Museum, a local natural science museum and wildlife sanctuary. Since 2008, ORCA members have partnered with The Heard to provide positive reinforcement training for the animals and to educate the staff and museum visitors about animal training. This is a win-win situation because ORCA students get experience working with exotic animals and The Heard animals get additional training and enrichment.
I volunteered with The Heard for several years while I was in ORCA and got to work with Patagonian cavies, capybara, lemurs, macaws, raccoons, coatimundi, and more.
Recently, ORCA’s partnership with The Heard Museum has been featured on our local NBC station’s evening news program and in the Dallas Morning News. This is exciting, as it will definitely help spread the word about the benefits of positive training!
Here’s the Dallas Morning News article, which talks in detail about a crate training project that several students are working on currently with the two ring-tailed lemurs at The Heard Museum.
And here’s the NBC news piece that was done about ORCA and The Heard Museum.