A week with a Green Dragon

In the UK there are many animal and wildlife attractions, as well as some great natural places to enjoy. A lot of people also have pets and not just cats and dogs. At the same time, many don’t have a direct connection with the source of their food, and some don’t even realise, for example, a ‘burger’ is made from a cow.

So I was excited to be asked to spend a week helping Green Dragon Eco Farm with their education development. The Eco Farm is in Buckinghamshire, north west of London, beyond the Chilterns and east of Oxford and in an area that has open farmland, various wildlife attractions and commuter villages and towns.

Green Dragon is an unusual name – they do have dragons, bearded ones (the lizard) – and ‘Eco Farm‘ also makes them stand out from the rest – with an ethos of sustainability, supporting rare breeds and native wildlife, with great facilities from play barns, animal barn, pets area and wildlife zone opened last summer featuring birds of prey, red squirrel, Scottish wild cat, fox and ravens. Another great feature is the cafe serves dishes made with meat grown on the farm.

During the week I saw all the great public education activities, including bird flying, pony grooming, animal hands-on and talks. My main activity was reviewing the education programme and helping with pre-visit, on visit and post-visit learning activity development and future planning.

The Eco Farm is a great resource for engaging young children with nature, but has potential to be useful to junior and secondary studies too, not least as it has a wonderful nature trail around the site in addition to the sustainability story, wildlife zone and farm animals.

Happy New Year (Pig)

Greetings at the start of another year – Chinese Year of the Pig.

I am looking forward to returning to China soon, in the meantime ZooStephen has been busy in England and Wales. In January, it was great to return to Moreton Morrell College as Industry Advisor and to deliver a Careers Workshop.

Folly Farm near Tenby in South Wales is one of the country’s leading attractions – with a zoo, farm/barn, fairground and park. It was a pleasure – despite the onset of snow – to return to the site to deliver staff training on communications and presentation skills. I was last there at the end of 2016 and it was good to see the new facilities at the park now.

Staff training ZooStephen style 🙂

The team of staff were enthusiastic and engaged throughout with a diversity of activities from flamingos to Billy Goats Gruff! This variety of lecture and practical activity enables participants to develop their skills and understanding, whilst also having fun. It is clear from feedback that active learning is effective, and whilst some admit to not remembering all that is taught, they do learn from the examples shown and demonstrated – this follows the principle of Confucius – “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand”.

“active engagement”