The Minnesota Zoo and eduweb have partnered to develop WolfQuest, an innovative project that brings the immersive, compelling drama and action
of video games to informal science learning while creating a model for nationwide distribution. Designed for players age nine to adult, WolfQuest teaches wolf behavior and
ecology through exciting gameplay and intense social interactions.
"The level of realism, and also the goal, which is to affect real conservation behavior change, is what makes this game unique."
American Zoo and Aquarium Association
"It's got great educational value while at the same time it's engaging. I think this game has the potential to chart some new
National Institute on Media and the Family
WolfQuest's three major components comprise a powerful informal learning experience:
- WolfQuest is an immersive, 3D wildlife simulation game that lets players learn about wolf ecology by living the life of a wild wolf in Yellowstone National Park. Players play alone or with up to four friends in on-line multiplayer games. In Episode 1: Amethyst Mountain, players explore the wilderness, hunt elk, and encounter stranger wolves in a quest to find a mate. Episode 2: Slough Creek challenges players to find a den, establish a territory, raise pups and defend them from predators such as coyotes, grizzly bears and other stranger wolves.
Since its launch in late 2007, WolfQuest has received a number of awards including an Education Award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a MUSE Award from the American Association of Museums, and the Editor's Choice Award by Children's Technology Review. It was also selected by the National Science Foundation to present at the 2009 Senate Education Technology Showcase in Washington D.C. WolfQuest has been downloaded by well over 500,000 people in over 200 countries. The online community forum currently has 300,000 registered users who have made over 1.5 million posts.
In 2009, a comprehensive summative evaluation run by the Institute for Learning Innovation showed that player interest in, connection to, and knowledge about wolves increased significantly after playing WolfQuest. Throughout the evaluation, WolfQuest was shown to be highly effective in achieving its goals and providing a rich and rewarding learning experience for the players. The Minnesota Zoo leads a national network of zoos and science education centers that promote WolfQuest through their websites including the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, Yellowstone National Park, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, the Toronto Zoo, the California Wolf Center, the Knoxville Zoo, the Rosamond Gifford Park Zoo in New York, the Phoenix Zoo and the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Missouri.
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- The WolfQuest game is the
focus of a game community Web site where players can learn about the game and download the latest version, as well as
post tips and strategies, ask questions of wolf experts, share personal wolf artwork and stories, test their wolf knowledge with online polls and quizzes, compete
for prizes, and participate in partner promotions. The Web site also features background information
about wolf ecology and conservation and educational materials for
- WolfQuest's impact is
greatly expanded by a national network of Informal Science Education (ISE) institutions. Each institution publicizes
the project to current and expanded audiences in its region.
WolfQuest is made possible through grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) with local support provided by Best Buy Children's Foundation, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the ADC Foundation.
WolfQuest is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation under grant number 0610427.