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Programs in Action
This page highlights quality education programs of institutional members. By becoming institutional members of IZE, zoos and aquariums support outreach to zoo and wildlife educators in the developing world.
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Apenheul Primate Park
Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
Apenheul is a 12 hectare primate nature park in the Netherlands. It harbours over thirty species of primates, many of them ranging freely among the visitors. Other species, like gorillas, orangutans and bonobos, live on large islands. Apenheul’s gorilla troop, with close to 20 animals, is the largest social group in the zoo-world. Noteworthy are the wooded island of the bonobos, the revolutionary exhibit for orangutans and the Madagascar Forest.
Recent developments include a petting zoo based on a Bornean Dayak Farm and a tree-walk highlighting a number of issues of the Amazon rainforest.
Education programs at Apenheul, such as guided tours, signs, information about in situ projects, keeper talks and ethology workshops all contribute to Apenheul’s mission statement: to promote public awareness of the interdependence of all living things with an emphasis on tropical rain forests, and to further active support for the conservation of primates in the wild.
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The Barranquilla Zoo has created assorted programs to teach the importance of conservation and varying aspects of animal care to their diverse audience which includes children and adults visiting the zoo, local schoolchildren and the zoo’s staff.
Getting kids into science and conservation
At the Barranquilla Zoo children don't pretend to conduct research; they actually do it! Our "ZooClub" teaches children that science is one important way to conserve wildlife. For four years, these children have been involved in real research projects at the Zoo, such as:
- "Creating an inventory of visiting birds at the zoo"
- "Food for cockroaches"
- "Creating an inventory of Coleopterous (beetles) at zoo exhibits"
- "Garbage in the Baskets: A study of harmful garbage for the zoo environment"
- “A study on the influence of exercise and weight in mice.”
- “Patterns of visibility and mobility for small mammals at the Barranquilla Zoo”
Some of our research projects have been supported by the Colombian Institute for Development of Science and Technology (COLCIENCIAS). The results of these studies are used as educational resources for visitors and are also shared with other researchers at various academic events.
The Zoo team has created a unique educational opportunity to explain the high level of animal care at a modern zoo. During the program, visitors learn about the enrichment practices for the zoo’s animals. Visitors assemble toys for the animals, enter the empty exhibits to hide special food for the different species, set up enrichment devices and much more. Through this experience, visitors are introduced to the complexity of caring for wild animals, discover the natural behaviors and skills of different species and examine effects of the illegal pet trade. This program is also a great opportunity to visit the Zoo "behind the scenes" and to get the visitors involved in other conservation programs with these species. The result is: Everybody Enriched.
Let's get to know our Zoo
Can an accountant answer a basic question about snakes to a visitor? In all zoos, many people work in a variety of roles but don't know the Zoo’s animal collection or basic educational messages. "Let's get to know our Zoo" involves the administrative staff in educational and conservation sessions to create an understanding of the Zoo’s mission and create a partnership among all levels of the organization. Through this program, administrative staff can participate in a large variety of experiences which include: field work, talks and presentations about the Zoo’s animal collection, animal contact programs, and a lot of dynamic and fun experiences about biodiversity and conservation. "Let's get to know our Zoo" helps us remember that the most important audience is our own zoo staff and that eventually each member of the zoo is a potential educator.
Altering the Culture
Parrots are a part of the popular culture of tropical countries' often depicted in cartoons and movies. But the illegal traffic in parrots is a serious problem which threatens biodiversity and the environment. However, keeping parrots as pets is a tradition embedded in our societies. The Barranquilla Zoo seeks to impact the local culture through an aggressive and alternative educational campaign. We are inundating the local schools with a new comic strip that presents the sad history of the illegal traffic in parrots and the serious consequences of this activity for the biodiversity of tropical environments (www.zoobaq.org/loros/amenaza.) This campaign uses the controversial character "El Bola" to depict the serious physical and behavioral problems that can arise for animals who are not cared for properly. The comic strips are distributed during in-depth workshops at schools which include fun games and activities to stimulate a conceptual change in the participants. Every day, the Zoo conducts a 4-hour workshop on this educational campaign to one local school which is conducted by our educational team. The workshops communicate the campaign’s key message: "Parrots do not make good pets." The campaign includes an evaluation component that compares the ideas of children before and after the workshops.
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Buenos Aires City Zoo
Buenos Aires, Argentina
PROJECT OF CONSERVATION AGUARÁ-GUAZÚ (Maned Wolf) EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
The conservation project of the Aguará-guazú (PCAG) at the Buenos Aires City Zoo started in 1999. This project actively participates in the protection of this native species and of its natural habitat. As part of the project, both research studies contribute to the overall knowledge about the species and educational programs share the species' important role in nature.
The Aguará-guazú or maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is considered a “species of special valuation” (SSVA) as well as a Natural and Provincial Monument. It is critical that the local community take responsibility and action to conserve maned wolves and all the rich biodiversity of the area.
Objectives of Education Program: EX – SITU
The objectives of a zoo education program is for visitors to be able to:
- Recognize maned wolves;
- Identify 2 characteristics and habits of maned wolves in the wild;
- List the causes and consequences of the maned wolf’s population decline;
- Assess the aguará-guazú (maned wolf) population and its habitat.
The methods used in these visitor experiences include the following activities: educational chats; games
and artistic makeup for children; video display; cognition survey of such species; signs; informative material; activities for the schools of Buenos Aires.
Objectives of the Activities: IN-SITU
For the in-situ work, the Zoo has developed an “Educational Interdisciplinary Program In Situ,” which is comprised of educational campaigns in rural schools of communities where the maned wolf is found, including the provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero. These programs are held in rural schools which serve as a meeting place for the community and feature educational games and include teacher participation. So far, this campaign has accomplished excellent results.
The activities at the Buenos Aires Zoo have shown that through various educational strategies it will be possible to counteract the threats faced by the maned wolf and other native species. As these programs continue and improve, it is the Zoo's hope that the local community will become involved in conservation action.
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Arnhem, The Netherlands
Since 1988 Burgers Zoo has been focusing on visitor immersion in large scale, very naturalistic biotopes.
Our guests are completely shifted into exotic worlds of tropical rainforest, North American desert, tropical ocean and coral reef, mangrove forest or African savannah.
Their adventurous expedition during which they have to feel like discoverers makes them alert, curious and open for all kind of information. Visits to these ecodisplays are an emotional event: excitement, admiration, astonishment are common experiences.
The high biological diversity in animals as well as plants, the many biological, geological and sometimes ethnological details in the display make it impossible to communicate all names and things worth knowing. Therefore and to not disturb landscapes with information shields, the visitor is left with his spontaneous sensations which are in our opinion a primary condition for lasting education. For those who want to learn biological facts and experience guided tours, informative leaflets and next-door exhibitions are available.
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Upton By Chester, United Kingdom
Our unique resources mean that learning in the Zoo is a multi-sensory experience, whether it is through exciting hands-on activities as part of our Schools' Discovery Programme or via informal education.
Interactive award-winning signage, or interpretation, presents information in an entertaining way whilst a team of Presenters give short, snappy informative talks. We provide a range of interesting themed activities for families to enjoy.
The conservation message is continued through our work abroad. We support ambitious educational outreach projects in Africa and South America, offering help, practical advice and funding.
A valuable resource is the Library, found in the Education Centre, which houses one of the best zoological collections in the region and looks after the Zoo's archive collection.
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Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Bay Lake, Florida
Our approach to learning combines fun, wildlife knowledge and storytelling to inspire our visitors to conservation action.
Group and Satellite Programs:
These thought-provoking experiences take place throughout our property at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Living Seas and in the local community. Each program targets a specific environmental concept with the ultimate goal of promoting environmental awareness and inspiring each participant about conservation issues. All programs meet Florida State Education Standards as well as National Science Standards.
Our 6 Kids Discovery Clubs are child-based exploration sites that provide activities for youngsters ages 3-8. They connect children with the natural world through interactive, exploratory, microenvironments that encourage children to embrace our conservation message: “Be a Friend of the
Animals . . . care for Wildlife and Wild Places.”
All Animal Programs staff participates in a 3-part interpretation class providing skills to deliver conservation messages to our visitors.
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Family Park Plaswijckpark
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Plaswijckpark is a regionally known family park in Rotterdam, offering large playgrounds, a paddle
go-kart traffic yard and a small zoo. With a main target group of children between 2 and 12 years, the park annually welcomes around 170,000 visitors. The park offers a wide range of playful educational programs on traffic safety, nature, animals and the environment to both schools and individual visitors.
The Plaswijckpark Goblin Route is the youngest program in the park. It focuses on introducing children up to the age of six, to nature in a very playful way. Following footsteps of different animals, Wallie the Wallaby, the park mascot, guides kids from one assignment to the other, getting them acquainted with different aspects of nature. Along the way, different goblins help them with topics like recognizing sounds, finding and identifying small insects, and measuring the width of a tree. All this is done in the form of happy, carefree games, sometimes using simple tools and other materials.
The Goblin Route is available as a guided program, using colorful crates of educational and play materials, such as magnifying glasses, pens and pencils, and garden shovels. A free, simple leaflet is available for day visitors, full of assignments, adapted to avoid the use of educational materials. These prove to be very popular. In its first year of action more than five thousand leaflets were requested! The Goblin Route might not be very aspiring, but has turned out to be a winner in casual zoo education!
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In April 2006, the Guadalajara zoo opened the ultimate teaching tool, an interactive veterinary clinic which
includes the same equipment the Zoo’s veterinarians utilize in their daily procedures. This allows local children
to become “Vet for a Day.” With the aid of veterinary training “animals” (which are actually plush toys,) the children are immersed in a wildly different learning experience that they will never forget.
The children perform several different
procedures on their “patients” from hearing the heartbeat of a rabbit to reviewing skin abnormalities caused by fleas. The children also use advanced diagnostic tools such as cardiac monitors to explore the differences in animal hearts. To end their experience in the veterinary clinic, the children observe a bone fracture in a dog. This leads to a discussion of the differences in care and veterinarian procedures of domestic and wild animals.
The inside look at a veterinary clinic is available for children pre-school age through university level and their families in Guadalajara and the surrounding area. This clinic is just one example of the essential day-to-day educational support that the Guadalajara Zoo provides to teachers. Programs are constantly evaluated and updated to best complement and promote the area’s environmental education curriculum and to reflect the Zoo’s current collection.
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Mysore Zoo, which was established in 1892 by Maharaja Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar Bahadur, has over two million people visiting annually and is a pioneering breeding centre of over 100 species including endangered, rare, exotic and indigenous species. A wide variety of education programs reach 30,000 students, teachers, and volunteers each year.
Mysore Zoo hosts a 10-day long Summer Camp targeting 12-18 year old students. Many important topics are covered including water for life, plants, environmental problems, nature parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation and community reserves, study of captive animals, and animal behavior. Professionals in the zoo field are invited to share their experiences with the students. Field practicals include animal holding room cleaning, animal feeding, interactions with animal keepers, elephant bathing and feeding, and the study of different types of wildlife clues e.g.: scat dropping, dung, pellets, and footprints. Students also visit Karanji Lake Nature Park and Regional Museum of Natural History, which are adjacent to the Zoo.
Youth Club is one of the most unique and popular education programmes of this zoo. The goal of the Club is to encourage children and teenagers, ages 12-18, to maintain a healthy relationship with nature, as well as to make healthy lifestyle choices. During this program, students have a chance to learn from biologists and scientists. The topics include urban animal behavior, wildlife, reptiles, spiders, ants, clouds, butterflies, plants, herbivores, carnivores, personality development, demonstration of tranquilization equipments, monsoon and clouds, and marine biology. The students also participate in hands-on activities such as feeding, vermi-composting and gardening. They also have a chance to visit local parks such Chamundi Hills and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
Zoo Inreach and Outreach Programmes
On Tuesday, a regular zoo holiday, students and teachers are invited to the zoo to learn more about wildlife and zoo activities. During these special visits, the groups participate in a guided visit led by zoo staff who share great amounts of information on the animals and plants. These groups often include underserved groups who may be visiting the zoo for the first time. The Mysore Zoo is the first zoo in the country to launch this unique programme.
Each year on June 5th, the zoo celebrates World Environment Day, to inspire everyone to conservation action.
Mysore Zoo celebrates Wildlife Week from October 1st-7th every year to create awareness about local wildlife, threats, and conservation action. This wildlife week coincides with the World Habitat Day on October 3rd and Animal Welfare Day on October 4th. Some of the activities during this week are a wildlife photography competition and exhibition and bird watching at Karanji Lake Nature Park.
The Zoo also hosts various competitions throughout the year to engage citizens in zoo activities. The competitions include drawing, painting, essays, and bird identification.
Mysore Zoo offers a training course to forestry students of Ponnampet Forestry College. The course focuses on zoo signage, visitors’ survey, animal enrichment, and gaur breeding.
The Zoo has an internship for students at the Veterinary Training College, Hebbal, Bangalore and the Pondicherry Veterinary College.
For the last 7 years, Mysore Zoo has hosted the Animal Keepers Training Programme for the keepers of different zoos. Topics include improving working conditions, teaching crisis management, animal enrichment, visitor interaction, and management of birds and pheasants in captivity. This course has brought about a recognizable change in the zoo.
The zoo has held many successful Teachers' Training Programmes, for teachers from Mysore and neighboring rural areas. The teachers are taken out of the lecture room setting and into a more hands-on learning experience complimented with zoo rounds, educational games, and a field trip to Karanji Nature Park. The course ends with feedback and evaluation. The two day session is designed to assist teachers in integrating conservation sciences into their classroom. The course was designed to be interactive hoping that teachers will return to the classroom with more strategies and ideas for teaching, including using the zoo as a resource and partner.
The Mysore Zoo recognizes that many conservationists began their career as volunteers. By offering a volunteer program, the Zoo is able to spark a passion in the volunteers while also creating a larger staff to accomplish the Zoo’s goals. After orientation, zoo volunteers assist in organizing educational activities, data collection such as the visitors’ survey, zoo patrolling, crisis management and arranging exhibitions, seminars, and conferences.
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National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa
The National Zoological Gardens is a National Research Facility of South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Its headquarters are in Pretoria, but it also manages the Emerald Animal World in Vanderbijlpark as well as the Game Breeding Centers in Lichtenburg and Mokopane. Not only does the Zoo conduct a variety of research programs, but also aims to:
- Educate and inform people about the Earth’s bewildering diversity of life and to encourage them to live environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyles.
- Make the public aware of the advantages of scientific knowledge and to encourage youth to follow a career in the natural and life sciences.
The National Zoological Gardens is a popular destination for schools and higher education institutions: over 200,000 students attend educational programs annually. Various programs are offered based on the curriculum of the particular institution. In addition, regular workshops are conducted for educators and teachers.
One program offered by the zoo is the ZooMobile Outreach Program, a vehicle equipped with a variety of educational material such as skulls, horns, skins, feathers, shells, posters and even some small live animals. These informative programs are offered at schools, community gatherings, birthday parties and corporate functions.
Another program offered by the zoo is the week-long Junior Nature Conservators Course. After successful completion of the program, students may join our ZooClub. This club meets regularly, giving children the opportunity to assist our staff with their duties. Various outings are also scheduled to expose children to career opportunities.
For young adults, the zoo offers the ZooPartner Project. This leadership program allows students to broaden their skills and experiences before entering the job market.
For zoo visitors, guided tours are offered in the evening. These informative tours are great fun for the young and the young-at-heart.
The National Zoological Gardens offers a number of informal courses which educate and inform participants in a relaxed yet successful way. Various courses for children occur mainly during school holidays, while self-enrichment courses for adults occur in the evenings or over weekends.
A visit to the National Zoological Gardens is like taking a tour around the globe. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and even plants from all over the world may be seen during one day’s visit. Information on various aspects of life on Earth is provided by means of information boards, interactive displays and talks by staff. In this way, we are: “Bringing Knowledge to Life.”
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Rotterdam Zoo is a 28 hectare city zoo in the Northern Rotterdam, the world’s biggest harbour and ‘The Gate of Europe’. With almost 1.6 million visitors a year (2003), Rotterdam Zoo is one of the biggest attractions in The Netherlands.
The Oceanium is Rotterdam Zoo’s biggest project yet. This "waterworld", officially opened in the summer of 2001, is an exciting journey through all kinds of water- related biotopes, including a spectacular walk through a 26 metre long acrylic tunnel. Looking up you can see sharks, sea turtles, barracudas and so on swimming freely overhead. The Oceanium was finished off with the cold regions of the Falkland Islands, home of the beautiful King Penguin.
But Rotterdam Zoo is more than simply a tourist attraction. During a (website) visit you can discover what the zoo has to offer and what Rotterdam Zoo places at the top of its priorities: nature conservation, recreation, education and applied scientific research. Our involvement in 65 regional and international breeding programs further demonstrates our intensive commitment to these goals.
Education is really Rotterdam Zoo’s top priority. Schools can do a number of different programs delivered by zoo educators in our three classrooms. The general public absorbs all kind of information from specially-designed species signs, themed panels and other media. Three hundred volunteers do all kinds of guided tours, info-carts, zoo camps, Blijdorp-by-Nights, observation studies etc.
Dreamnight at the Zoo
The first Dreamnight at the Zoo was organized and held at the Rotterdam Zoo in 1996. Then, it was for children with cancer from one specific hospital. That year 175 children and their families attend this magical evening. More than a decade later, this evening has spread to 177 zoos in 35 countries! These zoos welcome chronically ill and disabled children and their families and caretakers. In 2007, 67,000 families, totaling 268,000 visitors, were able to participate in this event!
Each zoo organizes the event in its own way, but in all the zoos the children are welcomed and treated as V.I.P.’s. They get a warm reception with music, clowns or other fantasy figures. The children are allowed to interact with animals and keepers and get a more intimate view of the zoo than the average zoo visitor.
Because arranging this special event is such a rewarding experience, organizers in the participating zoos are very pleased to share experiences gained in the last years to encourage every zoo in the world to join in and organize such an evening for chronically ill and disabled children. It really is a project that is well worth the effort. To learn more about about Rotterdam Zoo's participation in Dreamnight at the Zoo, please read the 2004 IZE Journal article.
It is the dream of the Dreamnight Foundation, that all Zoos in the world will once call the first Friday of June “Dreamnight at the Zoo.” To learn more, visit the Dreamnight Foundation website www.dreamnightatthezoo.nl.
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uShaka Sea World
Durban, South Africa
Situated at Sea World at uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa, the Sea World Education Centre is well placed to provide marine education to young and old. Both formal and informal education programs are offered to thousands of learners and guests each year.
School groups visiting Sea World are all provided with an educational experience. This may take the form of a basic or intensive guided tour of the aquarium, or curriculum-linked courses and lessons, which emphasise marine conservation throughout. Educators’ workshops are offered monthly, in an effort to assist teachers to include marine concepts in their teaching. The workshops are also used to expose teachers to new teaching methods in support of capacitating teachers to effectively meet the national school curriculum standards. Tertiary institutions and special interest groups, such as divers, conservation authorities and even restaurants, also benefit from the programs offered by the Sea World Education Centre. These groups may participate in Basic Marine Ecology, Fish Identification, or Sustainable Seafood courses, to name a few.
A dedicated Outreach team takes the marine environment to those who may never otherwise experience it, offering lessons and educators’ workshops to disadvantaged schools in far flung rural areas. Even those schools that are inland are taught the significance of their potential impact on the sea through their use of rivers, and participate in biodiversity audits in their schools. Many have subsequently set up “Green Teams” in their schools.
Being situated at a world class theme park, uShaka Marine World, offers the Sea World Education staff the unique opportunity to share conservation awareness with a large number of guests on a daily basis. This is done by having Education staff based at stations throughout the park, such as microscopes showing invertebrate life, touch pools and even a Dangerous Creatures facility, housing reptiles and amphibians, which is used to highlight the exotic pet trade and the plight of these animals.
Education staff also provide informative commentaries during the main feeds in the aquarium, ensuring guests understand what they are watching. And staff are on hand to engage with guests as they move through the aquarium, chatting to them about the animals in the exhibits as well as broader marine conservation issues. The aim is always for the guests to have an enjoyable experience, while still learning about conservation issues and discovering actions that they can take to help resolve these issues.
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Wildlife Conservation Society
New York City, New York
The environmental education programs of the Wildlife Conservation Society reach more than two million children, teens, and adults each year – helping them discover the natural world and getting them involved in its protection. The Education Division also trains hundreds of teachers, informal science educators, and school administrators across the United States and around the world, from Mexico to the Peoples Republic of China. In addition, we offer distance-learning programs for schools to “visit” our unique network of living classrooms. The Education Division of WCS continues to inspire people to learn about nature and its importance to life on Earth.
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Zoos South Australia
Adelaide and Monarto Zoos
Adelaide and Monarto, South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide Zoo is a small (8 hectare) city zoo which opened its gates to the Public in 1883. Housing about 3000 animals, representing about 300 species, it also features some prominent and historic buildings dotted throughout the grounds. Of its 4 main objectives: conservation, education, research and recreation, education has a major influence on the knowledge, behavior and actions of our young people towards conservation.
Education at the Adelaide Zoo offers a wide variety of experiences for education groups, from Kindergarten to Tertiary age: these range from single sessions to 3 day programs. We also support community groups with programs such as Photography and Drawing courses.
For more information, visit the Adelaide Zoo's website: http://www.adelaidezoo.com.au/education/teachers.php.
Monarto Zoological Park
Monarto, South Australia
Monarto Zoo is the largest open range zoo in Australia, 1000 hectare, and includes large tracts of remnant mallee scrub on the site. Conservation programs are focused on threatened native and exotic (especially African) species from dry habitats.
Education at Monarto Zoo offers a range of programs including
hands-on service projects, personal development and leadership courses and educational tours and experiences to support a range of curriculum areas. In 2007, the following website will be operational and provide more information about education programs: www.monartozp.com.au/education/teachers.
This action program is offered at both Zoos South Australia sites and is an excellent example of how children can get involved in conservation. As their focus animal, students and teachers can choose the Tiger, Orangutan or Sun bear at Adelaide Zoo, or the Southern white rhinoceros or African painted dog at Monarto. They learn about the plight of the species and engage in behind the scenes experiences with animals at our sites. They then become involved in awareness raising and fundraising activities in their local communities to support in situ conservation programs. Planetkeeper is offered as a Day or Overnight program.
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