Hello Jerusalem Biblical Zoo supporters!
As usual, Spring has been a busy time here at the Zoo with people from all of Israel's diverse communities visiting in large numbers to enjoy the beautiful green space, see the fascinating animals and, most importantly, to learn more about wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability.
Spring activities began with our annual arbor day celebrations. Because the current Jewish year is a sabbatical year (shmita) - during which the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by Jewish law - we are unable to plant any new trees until the Fall which will herald the start of the next Jewish year. Instead, our young visitors were educated about the cultivation cycle and were able to take away annual planters to water and tend at home.
Shortly after, came the annual Purim celebrations, during which it is traditional to dress up in costume and then the Spring (Passover/Easter) holidays. Various activities were on offer including dramatic performances, family workshops and guided animal feedings.
Between the holidays, our regular education programming continues and we continue to welcome individuals, families and groups of all ages and from all over the country who participate in our many different educational opportunities.
Wishing you all a happy Spring season - stay tuned for summer news in our next report.
The Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
With the snow of winter behind us and the days starting to lengthen once more, here at the Zoo we're preparing for the fine weather of Spring.
Our Winter Weekends Program has begun which includes the Unbelievable Encounters with Elephants activities. Friday Zoo visitors are treated to a special elephant training viewing during which they learn about the unique qualities of endangered Asian Elephants, threats to their natural habitat, and view firsthand the personal contact training methods used with our females to ensure that they cooperate willingly with health examinations. Visitors also learn about elephant diet and exercise needs.
In other exciting news, the Gifted Students High School Zoology Graduation Program for 2015 has begun with a new group of eager and motivated teens. We look forward to another collection of interesting scientific research during the course of this year.
The new Sea Israel educational website has received almost 1,000 visitors since it launched in September. The site provides a variety of educational content on the Mediterranean Sea for all ages including articles, videos, cartoons, and more. In addition, a comprehensive education plan for the Sea Israel Aquarium facility (currently under construction at the Zoo) has been compiled by our expert team of educators and marine biologists. Visitors to the future aquarium will learn about the importance of the world's oceans, seas, lakes and rivers in a variety of interesting and fun ways.
Our usual after school programs, school field trip programs, Animal Assisted Therapy, Zoomobile traveling workshops, and a variety of other programs continue to run as usual.
Stay tuned to hear about the special Spring educational activities coming up and thank you again for your support. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015!
The Zoo hosted many educational workshops and special activities over the Jewish High Holiday season which were well-attended. Our family ecological workshops - presented at the Zoo by the staff of the Zoomobile outreach program - once again proved to be very popular.
Education programs are in full swing since the start of the new school year. Aside from the popular weekly after-school program, and the ever popular Animal Assisted Therapy program, we continue to receive many school groups that attend as part of the ongoing education programs for both Hebrew and Arabic speakers.
This past week, the Zoo held a training course designed specifically for Arabic-speaking education guides. It was three day course designed and presented by two of our senior Arab staff members and was also attended by a representative from Qalqilya Zoo. the only zoo in the West Bank. We are planning a further training course in the future for all of our education guides but this one was tailored specifically to Arabic speakers.The course was very successful, with the guides receiving both formal lectures and practical training with our zookeeping team. In addition, the newer guides received the benefit of being exposed to the experience of more senior staff members.
We are delighted to see that the numbers of visiting Arab school groups are climbing steeply again after the fall in numbers caused by the conflict over the summer and we continue to strive toward creating a neutral and peaceful space where all of Jerusalem's diverse communities feel welcome to visit together.
As many of you will have seen on the news, the last month has been a challenging one here in Israel and no less so here at the Zoo. What would normally be our peak visitor period saw a marked drop in visitor numbers at the start of the conflict. However, over the last three weeks, the Zoo has opened its doors to more than 37,000 visitors from the towns and kibbutzim near Gaza who travel here for a few hours of relief from the rocket attacks (thankfully, Jerusalem is in a relatively safe zone). The Zoo has opened its doors to these communities as part of the national relief effort. So, the Zoo is full of people (on some days over 4,000 visitors per day) but unfortunately not for the usual fun summer reasons.
As usual, we continue to welcome visitors from all over Israel and from all communities – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and others; secular and religious; young and old. We feel that in times of conflict, it is especially important to facilitate a neutral meeting place for different communities to come together. And while they are here, we do our best to provide an experience that is both fun and educational so that each visitor leaves knowing more about wildlife conservation and environmental issues.
Summer special educational activities have included:
Thank you for joining us in these efforts at raising awareness of wildlife conservation and environmental issues with visitors of all ages and backgrounds; while at the same time providing a neutral meeting place for people of different faiths, nationalities, and political views. As always, it is our privilege to receive our diverse community and to educate visitors in a beautiful and peaceful green space in the heart of Jerusalem.
We look forward to continuing this important work and continue to hope for a peaceful future.
During the Spring break we welcomed over 71,000 visitors to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem! Visitors from all over Israel, and from all communities - Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze and others; secular and religious; young and old came to enjoy the blossoming gardens and the special educational activities on offer.
The special educational activities included:
Of-course, our regular education programs also continue to run - after school programs, school field trips, animal assisted therapy, the Zoo Teen Patrol Youth Volunteers, the zoology high school graduation program, workshops and seminars.
Thank you for joining us in these efforts at raising awareness of wildlife conservation and environmental issues with visitors of all ages and backgrounds; while at the same time providing a neutral meeting place for people of different faiths, nationalities, and political views.
As always, it is our privilege to receive our diverse community and to educate visitors in a beautiful and peaceful green space in the heart of Jerusalem. We are now preparing our summer education program - look out for another update soon!
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