Here at Knowsley Safari and across many zoological collections, we continue to play a vital role within human society on both a local and global scale. Departments such as our Learning and Discovery department help to equip the general public with both an understanding of nature and the skills required to demonstrate environmentally friendly behaviours. Our Kids Clubs and Schools Outreach sessions continue to inspire the next generations of kids, but we didn’t want to stop there.
My appointment as the ‘Learning and Discovery Community Officer’ will better enable us to ‘connect communities with the natural world for the benefit of future generations’ beyond the confines of our safari boundaries. It’s only relatively recently that zoological collections have begun to diversify their provision in order to reach out to disadvantaged and underrepresented members of society. This will be a huge part of my role here at Knowsley Safari. In doing so we are providing services to the local community that go beyond the usual offerings of conservation education departments. This marks an exciting opportunity for Knowsley Safari to make its mark in giving back to the local community whilst also achieving our conservation education aims.
Within the first 11 months I have had the pleasure of visiting approximately 60 schools, colleges, universities, community groups, charities and businesses in order to interact with over 8,000 individuals. Outreach visits vary from inspirational talks, workshops, careers fairs, mock interviews, exhibitions, STEM clubs, respite sessions for young carers, mentoring for school pupils and arts and culture programmes. So far 2018 has seen us complete our first transferable skills programmes with a local alternative education provider. During this time we piloted a programme that sought to enable the young people attending to develop their employability skills whilst also gathering evidence for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. During British Science Week free schools outreach was offered to 6 local schools with nearly 500 pupils taking part. A second successful roadshow saw over 1,000 guests engaging with National Insect Week activities onsite in June 2018. These projects coupled with or recent partnership with Beanstalk, a national reading charity, have made for an exciting start to our community provision. All in all, the last 11 months have been extremely busy, but equally successful and hugely rewarding for all involved, including me!
The hard work doesn’t stop there. Look out for more details on how you and the community group, education facility or organisation you work with can take part in ongoing projects such as our ‘Roadshows’ or request support with your own events. It is hoped that by utilising the wonders of the natural world we will be able to raise the aspirations of young people, arming them with the skills and experience required to meet their own fundamental needs, in turn inspiring them to help protect nature.
If you’d like to discuss how your community group can take part please get in touch here.