Educating educators

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As part of ZSL’s ongoing conservation work with Asiatic lions, senior learning manager Rachel Haydon spent a week in India helping to shape Sakkarbaug Zoo’s educational activities around wildlife conservation in the Gir Forest National Park.

In her five-part blog series, Rachel talks us through her incredible trip to see these majestic creatures in the wild, as well as how to best communicate key conservation messages with the local communities in the Gir.

Rachel Haydon delivering education training
ZSL's Rachel Haydon delivering education training

Day three of our trip was very exciting, and another early start. The Sakkarbaug Zoo education officer, staff from the Sasan Gir Interpretation Centre, Devalia Safari Park Interpretation Centre and a forest guard joined me for some education training. We discussed all the different ways people learn, to help them think about how to best shape new learning resources and activities. We also talked through their ideas and structured the learning outcomes linked to each, in order to make sure they got all the key conservation messages across clearly. This also helped them think about how they can evaluate their activities, something they are also keen to learn more about.

What struck me again was their motivation and enthusiasm to help people understand and emotionally connect with the lions and other animals in the forests. They are all so passionate and proud of their local wildlife that I have no doubt they will succeed.

ZSL team enjoying a Gujurati Thali lunch
ZSL team enjoying a Gujurati Thali lunch

After all our hard work and training, a good meal was in order, so we headed across the road to have some Guajarati thali. This is a delicious vegetarian platter which consists of rotli (a roti-like flatbread), dal (a slightly sweet and sour lentil and tomato based dish), rice, and shaak/sabzi (a dish made up of several different combinations of vegetables and spices, which may be either spicy or sweet). It was absolutely delicious and fortifying for the afternoon of evaluation planning I had ahead.


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