An Arabic-language school at the Zoo
Hello Jerusalem Biblical Zoo supporters!
Since we last reported to you, our regular education programming for the new year began in September. This programming includes after school programs, school field trips, the teen research program and gifted students’ programs have continued as usual. Young people of all ages and backgrounds continue to learn ina beautiful and fun atmosphere.
We are also working on a very special holiday education program for the Hanukkah school break which is coming up in December.
In this report we would like to draw your attention to a very special education program of which we are very proud.
Because the Zoo is one of the only places in Israel that attracts visitors from all segments of the population, we are in a unique position to spread our nature conservation message. Some years ago, the Zoo decided to address the fact that visitors from the Israeli-Arab, Palestinian and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities visit with a recreational motivation without taking advantage of the many educational tools available. Accordingly, the Zoo began reaching out to the respective education frameworks to encourage them to use the Zoo as an educational resource. The Zoo built a zoo visit experience based on linking the Zoo’s messaging with the schools’ curricula. From a practical standpoint, this includes working with the principals and teachers to demonstrate the importance of a visit with more value; building a team of educator guides; and preparing workshops and educational materials. We also decided that, because education is so important, we would create a financial incentive for participation in the program and provide discounted admission rates together with a free educator guide, provided that group tours are scheduled in advance with the Zoo’s education department. This attractive offer and allows the Zoo to reach participants with more in-depth educational messaging.
In practical terms, program activities include education about wildlife conservation and sustainability issues and the role of zoos; information about the behavior and habitats of specific animals; and an explanation that wildlife conservation knows no political boundaries. Materials are prepared according to age group and the Zoo visit is accompanied by various interactive activities aimed at engaging the participants. Materials are reviewed on a half-yearly basis and updated with a change in content and focus for the benefit of repeat visits. In addition, where schools request specific topics to be covered to fit with their curricula, the Zoo obliges and special workshops can be held on requested subjects. Overall, it is important to strike a balance between recreation and education since the majority of learning during our lifetimes is done in informal settings with interactive experiences. In addition, the program encourages schools to take responsibility for the application of the lessons learned at the Zoo in the daily lives of students – for example, by adopting wildlife conservation projects or animals; or implementing sustainability initiatives like recycling and measures to reduce their carbon footprint.
This has become one of our most well-attended programs and we are delighted to be able to reach so many young people from all of Jerusalem’s diverse communities.
Thank you for being a part of our efforts to educate our community in an atmosphere of inclusion and tolerance.
The Education Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Fun and learning at the Zoo
Getting up close and personal with the animals
Learning about elephants and the threats they face
Learning about the wonders of nature
Learning to observe the beauty around us