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Resources from Roots 1:2

Botanic gardens and zoos: Synergies for the future

Click on the links to access details of resources listed in Roots 2:1 - International Agendas: Implications for botanic gardens education programmes and Roots 2:2 - Master planning for education.


Hard copy resources and materials

BBC Wildlife Magazine

BBC Magazines, BBC Worldwide Publishing, 80 Wood Lane, London W12 OTT.
ISSN 0265-3656

Wildlife is the only monthly magazine of its kind in the UK. Its features on wildlife stories, campaigns, photography and travel are written by familiar names and are often illustrated with stunning images.

Two sections at the front of the magazine are those that are most useful to those in conservation education and are international with their coverage. ‘News of the Earth’ often reports on levels of biodiversity, wildlife trades, habitat destruction and protection, introduced species, the over-harvesting of natural resources and climate change. ‘Discoveries’ summarises more scientific news from journals such as Nature and Science and allows one to update their natural history knowledge in just a few minutes.



Association of British Wild Animal Keepers. Darren McGarry, ABWAK membership, Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6TS ISSN 0305-1218.

RATEL is published every two months by the Association of British Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK) and includes articles, letters and reviews for the interest of keeping staff. However, these pieces are often useful for conservation educators as the journal often details new exhibits and includes occasional educational articles.

Reports of projects supported by zoo conservation departments, ABWAK and other organisations are published here. Behaviour enrichment is a common theme in this journal and this makes RATEL an excellent resource for case studies on this increasingly popular subject in zoo conservation education.

Stereotypies (repeated unnatural behaviours) are a disturbing part of the activity of some captive animals. However, zoos are finding a large range of low-cost enrichment techniques to reduce the occurrence of these behaviours. These techniques may include the modification of the enclosure, a change in social situation, new feeding devices or techniques, and sensory stimulation. Zoo garden departments assist with these activities by selecting suitable crops and vegetables to be planted in animal enclosures.

Building a Future for Wildlife: the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy

The World Zoo and Aquarium Association, 2005. PDF of the strategy avaliable from the WAZA website

The second publication of this strategy is an encouraging document that links zoos and other conservation organisations. It is essential reading for all zoo staff and conservation educators.

The strategy summarises the role of zoos in in situ and ex situ conservation, education and research, and highlights the importance of current zoo networks. It is a useful resource for any interested in zoos as it contains some very useful boxed information such as the ‘Evolution of Zoos’ and Zoo Visitor Numbers (interestingly each year over 10% of the world population visits a zoo). A list of commonly used zoo acronyms is also provided.

Chapter 4 is dedicated to education. It discusses the huge potential zoos have to educate hundreds of millions of people all over the world through informal and formal interpretation either on site or as outreach programmes. Of course, conservation education should not only be directed at schoolchildren and the strategy has sections on providing various levels of education using a range of techniques on a variety of themes. The strategy gives advice on how zoos can fulfil certain conditions to ensure that the education is effective.

Hotspots: Earth’s biologically richest and most endangered terrestrial ecoregions

(1999). Mittermeier, R.A., Myers, N., Robles Gill, P., Mittermeier, C.G. Conservation International. ISBN 9686397582.

Only 1.4% of the Earth’s land surface is home to 60% of species. In this large book, 25 of these terrestrial ‘hotspots’ are analysed by more than 100 specialists. 358 first-class photographs serve to highlight the significance of conservation of these threatened areas. The text deals with the concepts of endemism, biodiversity and hotspots- a term pioneered by ecologist Norman Myers.

The hotspots themselves include 16 of Myers’ original 18 but also feature the Mediterranean Basin, New Zealand and Mesoamerica. It follows with the idea that these special places are critical to maintain life on Earth and therefore recommends a ‘zero further deforestation’ approach.

In over 50 tables, hotspots are ranked by species diversity and species endemism. For conservation educators, this book also gives comprehensive coverage of the places that are often referred to yet may not be fully understood such as Madagascar and the Atlantic Forest of South America. Each hotspot chapter details flagship species, threats to species, current conservation activities and future conservation needs.


Zoo Outreach Organisation

The Zoo Outreach Organization describes themselves as "Friends of the Zoo" for South Asian zoos and people active in field studies and conservation. Z.O.O. was founded by Sally Walker in 1985 and is associated with the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN.

The indices for their two publications ZOOS’ Print (zoo and wildlife articles and notes) and ZOO ZEN (old and out of print articles on single subjects such as enclosure design) are on the site. A list of useful resources for educators includes interactive links that take you to documents on interpretation and conservation, and include ‘Developing an education programme around a species or event’, and ‘How to be creative in 10 easy lessons’.

This web address takes you to the electronic version of the 2003 Red List of Threatened Species produced by the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Red List categories and criteria are used to provide information on conservation status and distribution. These categories and criteria are explained in detail and aid the understanding of many terms, e.g. Vulnerable, that are often used incorrectly.

The list is designed to catalogue and highlight those species that are facing the risk of extinction so that efforts can be made to protect them. From an educational point of view, this site is a reliable information source of species status and distribution and as such is helpful with conservation interpretation.

Some plants are included in this list and are subsequently categorized with the 2003 criteria. However, the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants can be found on the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre site that also gives CITES listings (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora).

Members to this Washington-based site have access to an ad-free version with print-friendly pages. Membership is cheap but this site can be used extensively without signing up. Enchanted Learning produces children's educational and fun web sites and games that are designed to be used by all. For educators this website gives ideas on family-friendly interpretation and how to simplify complex biological terms.
After submitting the term ‘tree fern’ in this site’s search engine it came up with 17 educational resources that describe and simply illustrate tree ferns. These resources are in a range of forms; glossaries based on habitat or subject, quizzes and picture dictionaries (these come in a variety of languages). Other searches may throw up print-outs of map outlines, life cycles and anatomy.
The European Zoo Educators (EZE) meet every two years, and these have recently been held in co-operation with every other EAZA conference. The British and Irish Zoo Educators (BIZE) meet annually and hold more frequent regional meetings.

The independent Zoo News Digest is an e-newsletter run up by editor Peter Dickinson. It gives access to new zoo-related stories and lists job vacancies. Email:
Resources selected and reviewed by Claudy Fox, Education Officer at Bristol Zoological Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, UK.