Mass educational festivals and events organizing and conducting is one of the most important forms of the Science and Education Department activity within the Zoo. The main aim of the festivities is our visitors' pastime enrichment and also ecological education of children and youngsters as well as of adult visitors. Selected scenarios of festivals and educational actions conducted in Nikolaev zoo are published by a local publishing house.
Such material can be of great use for the zoos' educational department workers, for teachers, parents and for the young naturalists' group leaders. Some scenarios are of authorship origin and others contain fragments of earlier published material. This collection also includes theoretical and practical methodical works on the zoo therapy sittings conducted in Nikolaev zoo during the last three years. Achieved results show that such sittings are very useful for children's psychology correction, upbringing and teaching. Zoo therapy sitting scenarios can be very helpful for rehabilitation centers' personnel, infantile psychologists and teachers and also for parents.
One of the most important methods of educational work in the zoo territory is excursions conducting. The most popular one is the zoo sightseeing tour. Besides, there are topical excursions for the groups of visitors: “The World of Birds”, “Aquaterrarium”, “The Animals in Different Seasons”, “Domestic Animals and Their Wild Ancestors”, etc. An excursion to Nikolaev Zoo History Museum is of special interest. During the excursion one gets acquainted with the zoo activities, with its past and present, with the staff devoted to its very special work. Every excursion should take into account the age of visitors, their level of biological education and the aim of the zoo visiting, that’s why the texts of the excursions are intended for the wide circle of interests. They include some interesting facts about biological peculiarities, historical, mythological details about an animal or a species. Long experience shows that amusing information is better accepted by the visitors than strict scientific data.
Traditionally an excursion starts from N.P. Leontovich monument in front of the zoo. A guide tells about Nikolaev zoo history and about its founder. A Commemorative Stone as a sign of the world zoos close collaboration is also demonstrated. The guide narrates about a modern zoo tasks and activities. An excursion includes both information about the animals, kept in the zoo, and the zoo functioning peculiarities. Nikolaev zoo territory is a big and beautiful park. There are many exotic plants, and during the excursion a guide attracts visitors’ attention to the green decoration of the zoo. Broadcasting excursions is another kind of educational work. The radio informs visitors about the latest zoo news, tells about newly-born animals, about the plants and animals that can be seen in the zoo territory. That information is also placed at the “Zoo News” stand just next to the zoo entrance. The information is regularly updated.
In the conference hall the video topical lectures are regularly conducted and a video film about Nikolaev zoo always attracts a lot of visitors.
The educational department has formed a group of domestic animals which accompany the zoo lecturers when they give lectures at schools, kindergartens and libraries. Mass festivals arranging is also the Education Department duty. The main aim of the festivals is our visitors’ pastime diversity, ecological education of children, youngsters and adults. For that we try to wake up our visitors’ feelings, narrating about alive, warm and fluffy but so vulnerable pats of the zoo.
The festivals and competitions are good advertizing events for the zoo, as they are widely covered by mass media.
Zoo festival is a complex event. Amateur and professional vocal and dance groups often participate in it. The zoo workers and the young biologists circle members also take part in sketches and music dramas. The zoo has its own wardrobe with folk costumes and accessories, masks and properties. Schoolchildren and teachers are also invited to participate in the events. The children submit their pictures, leaflets, ecology projects and research works. The best works get prizes. Besides the festivals, the Education Department conducts ecology actions, which are popular among the zoo visitors. They facilitate ecological education spreading among local population. The regular actions are as follows: “Irises in Blossom”, ”Migratory Fowl Day”, “Year of Frog”, “The Zoo Old-Timer”, “The Zoo New Settler”, “The Very Best Animal”, “Photo Race”, “A Bat Day”, “Welcome to Skunk”, “Primrose Festival”, “A Marmot Day”, etc.
The actions can last for one day, for example, “Amur Tiger and Leopard Day” or for a long period, as “Defend Primrose Action”. For more than 70 years already Nikolaev zoo has been a home for the young biologists circle. It was founded in 1937 by the future zoo director, then a scientific worker F. G. Nichikov. Up till now the circle continues to bring up the experts and amateurs of nature. The forms of work in the circle are entertaining and multifarious. During the sessions the children study basic foundation of biology, help the keepers to look after the animals. The young naturalists go hiking along the zoo territory and to the country where they enrich their knowledge. The circle members always participate in the zoo festivals as amateur actors and presenters. We invite active, inquisitive, nature-loving children over 12 years old to our young naturalists circle.
Animals Treat And Cure
Since 2005 in the zoo territory the sessions of zoological therapy have being conducted for the invalid children. The sessions are conducted under the aegis of the Social Rehabilitation Center “Hope”. The practice showed that the sessions are very important and effective for psycho-correction, upbringing and education of children. The sessions with animals can be conducted for the absolutely healthy children as well as for the children with somatic and mental diseases. The animals are also helpful during the biotherapy sessions in the zoo premises.
Zoological therapy sessions in the zoo territory widen the number of visitors, serve as the advertising means and also once again prove the animals’ importance in the life of people. Animals help us and we should defend them. Educational Department workers also develop visual media for the zoo. They are enclosure labels, information stands, zoo maps; guide signs, which add to the educational work in the zoo territory.