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Zoofari a winner for low decile school

26 September 2014

Zoofari a winner for low decile schools

Thousands of students from low decile schools are reaping the benefits of an innovative conservation education programme being offered through a partnership between Auckland Zoo and The Warehouse Group.

Over 6,800 students and 660 supervising adults from 34 decile 1-3 Auckland schools have now been able to access The Warehouse School Zoofari, which has just completed its second year and is on track to reach 10,000 students by 2015.

“Thanks to The Warehouse sponsorship, and with the great support of Ritchies buses, we’re able to transport these youngsters to the Zoo. Once here, their classroom is out in the Zoo in nature, where, with Zoo educators, they’re immersed in experiential hands-on learning,” says Auckland Zoo schools programme manager, Brian Ireland.

“A lot of these kids have had little or no opportunities to connect with wildlife. Here they’re getting to see the likes of tuatara and kea up-close and discovering, through our Te Wao Nui precinct, the rich diversity of habitats our New Zealand taonga live in. Or they might find themselves just centimetres away from an elephant or exploring the inside of our towering giraffe house.

“These are wow experiences, not from a book or off a screen, that connect both hearts and minds and ignite real curiosity and wonder, and from the teacher feedback we’re getting, they’re having a really positive flow-on effect back in the classrooms,” says Mr Ireland.

Rosebank School’s Years 5-6 team leader, Anne Marie Dunne says: “Our students recently attended the Zoofari programme. Without the sponsorship provided this would not have been possible for many of our students. And we’re excited to share that there has been a significant shift in knowledge, engagement and enthusiasm as a result of this trip.”

Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken says the partnership is an outstanding initiative that all involved in can be really proud of. “We’re very grateful that The Warehouse shares our desire to connect even more Kiwi kids with nature. It is through programmes like this that we can inspire a lifetime love for wildlife and the environment.

Auckland Zoo is operated by Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), a council-controlled organisation of Auckland Council. It is home to the largest collection of native and exotic wildlife species in New Zealand (over 1000 animals and 129 species) and attracts over 700,000 visitors annually. At the heart of all Auckland Zoo's work and activities is its mission: "to bring people together to build a future for wildlife”. A key conservation project is the creation of a unique new wildlife reserve on Rotoroa Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf with the Rotoroa Island Trust.


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