A group of Shiplake College Year 12 Biology pupils visited ZSL London Zoo, accompanied by teachers Mr Jim Reynolds and Dr Bob Snellgrove. As part of their studies about conservation and the habitat of wild animals, the Sixth Formers enjoyed visiting the zoo and considering the artificially adapted environments integral to maintaining a healthy and ecologically correct surrounding for each different species housed at the zoo. Pupils have also had a focus in class on the conservation of wildlife and environments, and found the day particularly informative about these aspects of their studies.
Amongst time spent admiring the animals in the zoo, classes were held as well. The pupils attended a seminar on the conservation work of the zoo, both nationally and locally. With a highly skilled and diverse team of teachers, London Zoo is as popular for its classes as it is for the variety of animals housed there. London Zoo is famed for its work on conservation projects with a variety of programmes across the globe, and the Shiplake scientists were given a fascinating insight into these. Work includes the creation of the Atlantic’s largest marine reserve around Ascension Island, a pioneering five year conservation project designed to achieve sustainable, landscape-level protection for South Sumatra’s peatland, and reintroducing managed hihi bird populations to New Zealand.
The group also attended a Wild Talk, where pupils from schools across the area had the opportunity to hear from a ZSL scientist, as they presented and discussed research on the Mountain Chicken frog in Montserrat, and the practicalities of conserving it. Critically endangered, the frog is a native predator on its island home of Montserrat and Dominica, and Shiplake Biologists enjoyed considering ways to protect it. The Shiplake pupils were captivated by the talk, learning about scientific investigation and conservation in a real world context. Mr Reynolds said of the day that ‘the ZSL conservation efforts tie in nicely with the A Level course. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and the pupils impressed with their engagement; the talks clearly had a big impact and will inform aspects of learning in the classroom.’