Auckland Zoo continues to welcome schools to its dynamic Warehouse Zoofari programme, giving more young Kiwi kids the chance to engage in a wildlife education.
The past week saw 13 classes and over 320 students from Wiri Central and Wymondley Road schools in Manukau exploring the zoo with educators to learn all about Aotearoa’s wildlife.
An adventure through the zoo’s Te Wao Nui precinct, home to over 50 different New Zealand native species in habitats from the forest and high country to wetlands and sanctuary islands, enabled the year 2 to 4 youngsters to see everything from tuatara, kaka, kukupa and kea to long-fin eels, skinks and geckos and learn all about what makes these taonga unique.
Wiri Central students, teachers and parental guides also enjoyed a surprise encounter with the zoo’s elephant Burma and her keepers, who were out on a walk through the zoo grounds.
“Some of our children have never visited a zoo before, so there was much excitement and a great enthusiasm to learn as the animals they had read about in books came to life,” Wiri Central School deputy principal, Anet Conroy says.
“When our children reflected on their Warehouse Zoofari experience, they told teaching staff ‘they had the best day ever’, describing what a tuatara looks like up-close, explaining why the kiwi house was dark and what it felt like to be standing next to a big elephant.”
The Warehouse School Zoofari is a three-year partnership between Auckland Zoo and The Warehouse Auckland and Northland, with support from Ritchies Transport, which assists children from low-decile schools in the Auckland and Northland regions to experience conservation-based learning programmes at the zoo.
Over $62K was raised in The Warehouse’s Auckland and Northland stores in January 2015 to assist with the costs of learning sessions at Auckland Zoo.
Auckland Zoo education experiences are Ministry of Education certified, and every Zoofari session is facilitated by an Auckland Zoo educator in partnership with teachers to ensure integration into the school curriculum.
Other schools taking part in the Term 2 Warehouse School Zoofari proramme are Tamaki School, Cosgrove, Otahuhu, Kingsford, Redoubt North, Sunnyvale, Papatoetoe West and Dominion Road.