Record numbers of school children have taken part in conservation workshops at Chester Zoo, according to new figures from the zoo’s learning experts.
More than 30,000 students, from nursery to university level, took part in classroom sessions with the zoo’s Discoverty and Learning team during the academic year 2018 / 19 – more than EVER before.
Inspiring a generation of conservationists through education programmes is part of the zoo’s battle to prevent extinction as a global conservation charity. As well as the classroom lessons, almost 100,000 more learners passed through the zoo’s gates for self-guided educational group visits during the last academic year. More than 35,000 of those places were given free by the zoo to schools as part of a major engagement programme.
The zoo’s dedicated outreach team also delivered 59,000 engagements across the UK. This included a ground-breaking scheme to embed conservation issues into subjects across the entire school curriculum, allowing pupils to tackle issues such as the songbird extinction crisis and sustainable palm oil.
Charlotte Smith, Head of Conservation Education & Engagement at the zoo, said:
“Our planet is facing an extinction crisis. We’re fighting to protect threatened species here in the zoo and around the world… but we aren’t doing it alone! It’s inspiring to see how young people across the age ranges are engaging in our conservation mission to prevent extinction – the most critical issue of our time. Their passionate response to the challenges we face is wonderful to see; and can make a big difference.”
Workshop delivered by the zoo have included science lessons on animal behaviour and nutrition, as well as practical sessions teaching the skills and knowledge on how to prevent extinction.
Pollie Shorthouse, General Conservation Education & Engagement Manager at Chester Zoo, said:
“In total, we’ve delivered more than 30,000 education sessions this year, more than ever before. This comes on top of our outreach work, as well as talks, signage and informal education programmes delivered on site every day to almost 2 million visitors a year.
“In 2014, a scientific study co-authored by Chester Zoo revealed that visits to zoos increase public understanding of biodiversity. We’re really proud to know that the zoo’s learning team are helping to shift public attitudes at all levels towards a more wildlife friendly planet.”