School kids to go on Zoofari at Wellington Zoo
WELLINGTON school kids will go on a Zoofari next year in a new partnership between Wellington Zoo and The Warehouse.
Zoofari will enable children from low decile schools to visit the zoo and experience the learning environment.
Many children may never have been to the zoo, said Wellington Zoo learning manager Lynn Allan.
“It’s really just about giving them the opportunity to come in and explore and get excited about the animals.”
Many do not know a lot about animals or plants, so the programme expands their knowledge and creates awareness, Ms Allan said.
Zoofari is conservation-focused and discovery-based and the children will spend a day at the zoo which includes an hour-long learning session with a zoo educator.
Dingoes, cockatoos, hedgehogs, lizards and rats are among the animals the children will get to touch and see up close.
It is also likely they will participate in enrichment tasks with some of the animals.
Tasks can involve giving stimulating objects and activities to the animals to keep them mentally and physically fit.
The Zoofari programme started in Auckland earlier this year and has been a success.
“I was looking through the Auckland Zoo learning prospectus and I saw it there and I thought ‘we have to do that’,” Ms Allan said.
Money provided by The Warehouse through fundraising in-store will cover entry costs to the zoo, the zoo educator and transport costs.
“Because of the success of our partnership with Wellington Children’s Hospital, this was seen as a great secondary community partnership for the Wellington region stores,” said Tere Maden, project organiser for the Warehouse.
Customers donate by adding a dollar to their transaction or by purchasing a special Wellington Zoo stuffed toy.
Funds raised should enable about 800 students to take part in the programme next year.
The zoo has about 10,000 students from all over New Zealand take part in their learning programmes each year.
They also have a Bush Builders programme in which zoo educators go to schools and work with the children to increase biodiversity in their school.
“The whole idea of Wellington Zoo is to connect people with nature so that’s what this is about,” Ms Allan said.