Philippa Roberts


Zoo Ranger

Since graduating from Durham University with a BSc HONs Biology degree I have worked as an Education Officer providing all in-zoo education programmes and public engagement as well as coordinating and running outreach events to communities and schools at Blackpool Zoo. I then completed my MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds which gave me more practical experience in UK conservation and ecology. I led and trained others for an ongoing research project on the condition and assessment of migratory birds passing through Mallorca and conducted my own project at Chester Zoo.

I wanted to provide some empirical evidence to support the educational role of zoos as this is often called into question. I developed my own mixed-methods approach to assess the impact of immersive exhibits on zoo visitors. Using questionnaires, conversational analysis and covert observation, I found that visitor age, animal activity levels and group composition all influenced visitor behaviour and conversation.

My current role as a Zoo Ranger involves delivering and developing the informal education programme across the zoo to communicate Chester Zoo’s global science and conservation work. This includes everything from one-on-one experiences to large mixed audiences; from interactive storytelling, games, talks and shows. The first project I had was to develop engaging activities for all ages – including large school groups – for the summer arrival of Dinosaurs. This resulted in a big, messy (and very popular) fossil dig, some life-size dinosaur footprints and dinosaur jigsaws! Alongside the diverse and adaptive delivery schedule, I also help to analyse the engagement and output of our informal education team and deliver STEM activities such as Science Week. Most recently I was chosen to undertake the Young and Future Leadership course at the zoo which led to a zoo-wide focus on animal visibility throughout the zoo, helping our visitors to find animals in their habitats.

As a keen and active STEM ambassador I continue to develop, train and deliver science-based career sessions and workshops to schools and universities in my own time and tutor maths and science at all levels.

Projects I'm involved in

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