Undergraduates on our BSc (Hons) in Zoo Management, Animal Management and Wildlife Conservation and Ecology degrees have been gaining unusual and very relevant experience by presenting a programme of public talks at our commercial zoo.

As part of their science communication and zoo education module the group wrote scripts for the themed talks and created a schedule, information leaflet and staffing rota. Eight undergraduates volunteered to deliver the talks to visitors during half-term.

The talks were so popular that they drew audiences of up to 30 visitors who gained a new appreciation of members of our animal collection. Subjects ranged from awesome alpacas, Guernsey goats, mini monkeys and prickly porcupines to  sssuper snakes and otterly adorable otters.

Talks in our pet’s corner were also a big draw, covering favourites such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, chickens and fish.

Gemma Jackson (BSC (Hons) Zoo Management) who had just finished delivering a ‘Bird Bonanza’ talk about our cockatiels, budgies and zebra finches, explained: “Part of our module assessment is to give a 10 minute lecture on a subject which interests us. We went a step further and delivered them to the visiting public at our zoo. I’m really interested in birds and this has been a great experience which I’ve really enjoyed.

“The whole module has been a real eye opener. Until this year I was considering a career involving the welfare and care of birds of prey, now I’m much more interested in a zoo education officer role.”

Yvette Foulds-Davis, Programme Leader in Animal Science at University Centre Reaseheath, said: “This a great new initiative that we are trialling and so far it has been extremely successful. The group have done an amazing job on this project and it has proved to be a great showcase of the unique industry skills which we deliver here. Due to its outstanding success we will be building it into the module for next year’s final year students.”