BIAZA Education and Presenters conference
A couple of weeks ago, we hosted the BIAZA Education and Presenters conference here at the Zoo.
The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is the professional body representing the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland. BIAZA supports more than 100 members through their work in conservation, education and research and every year members meet at various different conferences to network and share best practice in all aspects of Zoo life.
For this year’s Education and Presenters conference, including Zoo staff, we had over 85 delegates to occupy, engage and entertain for two and a half days. Our theme of 'Doing things differently' was chosen to highlight all the imaginative, creative and inspiring ways that learning occurs in animal collections across the country.
Over 50 people presented talks or ran workshops, sessions and tours, including 15 members of our own BZS Learning, Wild Place and Conservation Research teams ... so really amazing levels of participation by everyone who came. The Education Team used this chance to network with Zoo Educators from around the UK. It was a great opportunity for us to share ideas, resources and experiences to keep our sessions fresh and relevant to the local curriculums.
A couple of highlights... our first speaker was Trewin Restorick, CEO of Hubbub UK, who described some of the clever awareness and engagement campaigns that his team have developed. Check out the Hubbub website here and you'll understand why he was one of our most popular speaker.
One of the workshops was run by the Flying Seagulls, a charity that 'spreads light, love and laughter to hospitals, orphanages, deaf blind schools, marginalised communities, refugee camps and slums around the world.' Delegates got fully involved wearing multi-coloured wigs, spinning plates, hula hooping and running around chasing each other. It was an intense few months of planning and organising, and could only have been achieved with the amazing efforts of the Education and Ranger teams who pulled out all the stops. So a huge thanks to those teams. Feedback from other collections so far has been great, so really well done to all involved.
Meet our new ferrets
Say hello to our four new ferret boys Edison, Darwin, Gandalf and Tesla (clockwise) who have joined the education animal collection.
They love getting cuddles, snuggling together and rolling around in their ball pit, and have already made their teaching debut in some of our amazing sessions.
Book your education sessions now for a chance to meet our new ferrets!
Be Brilliant with your BBQ this Summer
Did you know that you can help protect rainforests just by buying the right charcoal? A recent investigation by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), has shown that charcoal imported from Namibia, in south west Africa, is often harvested illegally, under dire working conditions and without any consideration for the environment.
We’re confident that you wouldn’t want to buy this kind of charcoal. But how can you tell the difference? Well, it's really simple. When buying charcoal, or indeed anything made from wood, just look for the FSC symbol on the packaging. Then you can be confident that the wood has come from a well-managed forest.
A nose for danger
Our education officers have been working hard to train our pouched rats ready for use in our education sessions. Dylan and Hooper, the Gambian pouched rats, are brothers with a nose for danger.
In Mozambique, Gambian pouched rats are used for all sorts of important jobs. They have such an acute sense of smell that they have been trained to sniff out land mines, tuberculosis in saliva, and are even being used now to locate smuggled elephant ivory.
Watch out and see if you can spot them when you are visiting the Education Centre!
Wyche School Project - Lemur Conservation at its Best
We recently welcomed back KS2 pupils from the Wyche School as part of a project that was started at Bristol Zoo. Back in September the class attended a special Lemur Conservation education session, where they learnt about the work that Bristol Zoo is doing in Madagascar. The session included learning about lemurs and practising some of the techniques that our researchers use when studying wild lemurs.
The class then went back to school and thought about how they could help and decided on a project to design a new lemur adoption pack that we could use at the Zoo. This cross curricular project focused on the children looking at all the aspects of putting a product together including design, production and budgets.
When they returned in December to show off their hard work, education staff were blown away by what they saw! As a special treat, one of the education team arranged a special ‘lemur question and answer session’ with one of our presentation keepers, so the students could see some lemurs up-close.
Teacher Vicky Whitehurst commented:
“…the children were so pleased and the head was very proud of them. It was fab to visit for a second time, the children felt much more at home the second time round. Meeting other members of your team really made the children feel it was all real I’m sure. They will remember this day and the lemurs for life!”
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