ORCA students regularly collaborate with local non-profit organizations and other community groups to provide animal training, staff training and consulting services. This allows ORCA members to give back to the community while at the same gaining valuable, hands-on experience working with animal and people in a variety of different settings, including zoos, animal shelters, and with individual pet owners.
Through these partnerships, ORCA members are also able to conduct research about animal behavior and training. Research and training projects help improve the quality of training and care for animals and improve interactions between owners (or staff) and their animals. ORCA students regularly present research results at national and international conference, allowing others to also benefit from new discoveries.
The Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney Texas
Founded in 1967, the Heard Museum consists of a 289 acre wildlife sanctuary and a natural science museum for the primary purpose of educating children about nature. ORCA students partner with the Heard to provide training for animals and staff and conduct behavioral research that will improve the lives of captive wild animals. Read more about how ORCA students are involved with the Heard Museum.
Beyond Successive Approximations
For the past several years, ORCA students and ORCA advisor Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz have presented a six-hour workshop about shaping at the annual convention for the Association of Behavior Analysis, International. The workshop consists of lectures about teaching and shaping and hands-on activities using the shaping game PORTL.
The workshop teaches behavior analysis students and professionals strategies and techniques to improve their shaping skills. These skills can be applied to both teaching humans and training animals. Read more about ORCA’s shaping workshops.