— Just like everything else, the usual work for the education team at the North Carolina Zoo came to a screeching halt a year ago. The pandemic forced the shutdown of the zoo in Asheboro on March 17. It wouldn't reopen until June 15. No more daily visitors. No more field trips. No more chances to educate visitors about the polar bears and arctic foxes and rhinos — at least in person.

But zoo staff quickly embraced the virtual opportunities that the crisis forced, renaming and expanding an online education series that celebrated its 100th episode earlier this year. Today, Zoo EDventures can draw tens of thousands of viewers via Facebook and YouTube. The videos, which run 30 minutes or so, feature zoo staff and the animals in their care.

Originally started as a monthly feature called Wonders of the Wild in August 2019, Zoo EDventures was bumped up to three episodes a week in the early days, said Steve Gerkin, interpretive programs manager. Today, they air on the zoo's Facebook page on Monday and Wednesday mornings.