Educational Outreach Program
Toronto Zoo runs an outreach campaign for its captive breeding and release programs for mammals. We have developed a curriculum based black-footed ferret and Vancouver Island marmot outreach program for grade 4, 5 and 6 students. Topics such as conservation, endangered species, habitat and the food chain are discussed in an interactive and interesting manner. More detailed topics such as genetic diversity and the effect of population bottlenecks on small populations are explained in the form of a game. Students play out the black-footed ferret history equipped with ‘genes’ in the form of coloured marbles, and see how some of the ‘genes’ are lost when the population drops to a very low number.
The project will reach school children throughout the Greater Toronto Area, community groups and businesses interested in learning about conservation. As the black-footed ferret and Vancouver Island marmot are both native to Canada, these projects will assist in the national recovery efforts by increasing awareness and support.
Parks Canada and Toronto Zoo teamed up to produce a detailed BFF media interactive game which is now being showcased in the Toronto Zoo Conservation Connections building and can be viewed on the Parks Canada
website. Additionally, a video demonstrating the science involved in breeding ferrets will be produced at the Toronto Zoo. Copies of this video will be distributed to community groups and classrooms across Canada and demonstrates the importance of captive breeding and recovery initiatives for species at risk. A BFF biology/identification card, educational posters and magnets will also be produced by the Toronto Zoo and Parks Canada to reach out to schools and communities emphasizing the importance of endangered species conservation.