Holly Berry and Hayley Worsfold attended the 11th International Conference on Environmental Enrichment (ICEE), hosted by the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (Pretoria), held at Kwalata Game Lodge, Dinokeng Reserve near Pretoria. It was the first ICEE conference held within an in-situ context. The theme of the conference was ‘Visitor Experience through Environmental Enrichment’. This is very relevant to us in Animal Management at Reaseheath, particularly relating to how this impacts on our own BIAZA accredited Zoo open to the public during holidays.
Holly and Hayley deliver Level 3 modules including Zoo Husbandry and Health and Animal Behaviour, both of which contain significant content relating to Environmental Enrichment . The conference spanned five days and included six game drives followed by interactive workshops, speakers from all over the world and opportunities to network with guests. Over the course of the week Holly and Hayley attended over forty talks and ten poster presentations from national and international experts.
Hayley delivered her own presentation about the work she has done with students at Reaseheath. This was titled ‘Environmental Enrichment As An Active Learning Tool: Increasing Learner Motivation And Encouraging Visitor Participation’. This focused on the sustainability project she undertook last year with students to enable members of the public to create enrichment at our Family Festival.
The impact on our students and other staff is huge. Both Holly and Hayley have been able to disseminate up to date knowledge, research findings, methods and skills to students relevant to a wide range of subjects and provide CPD opportunities for other staff. Students have been exposed to refreshed ideas of the importance of understanding animal behaviour when realising a new concept for enclosure design and re-evaluating enrichment methods.
After the conference the CPD continued with a visit further south to Cape Town. Whilst there they had a specialist visit to SANCCOB Penguin Rescue Centre. Both have a history of working with Penguins and this visit has opened up intern opportunities for our students graduating this year.