In the Education section:
Come explore with us the wonderful world of animals and nature here at the Birmingham Zoo.
The Nature Trading Post is closed from October 2012 to February 2013. The Nature Trading Post will reopen for the spring in March 2013.
If you have a group of 10 or more and would like to schedule a visit, please contact Carrie Brooks at email@example.com or 205-397-3864.
How does the Nature Trading Post Work?
Almost everyone loves to collect things – rocks, baseball cards, etc. The Nature Trading Post encourages children and families to explore the natural world and create their own collections of natural objects. As items are found, they can be added to your collection or brought to The Nature Trading Post and traded for other items for your collection.
Each collected object is assigned a point value and the more you know about the object, the more points you will receive. The most points are awarded for objects that are rare, high quality or are in great shape but even a common natural object like a pinecone can earn points when you share information about it. You can then use your points to trade for a new item to add to your collection. Points may be used that day or “banked” for future trading. The Nature Trading Post is also a great place to learn more about objects that are already in your collection.
How do I start a nature collection?
Nature is everywhere. To start a collection, find something in nature and learn about it. As you start learning more about nature and natural objects, you will find that there are some things that must be left in the wild, such as bird feathers, nests and eggs. Also consider these questions:
Are there laws protecting this item?
Are there plenty of these items around, or am I taking the only one?
Am I destroying something just to take it home with me or is it already dead?
Am I taking away an animal’s source of food or shelter?
Am I damaging a standing plant or tree?
Can the object I’m collecting be preserved, or will it rot or dry up?
Once you have decided what you would like to collect and have started your collection, look for similar objects. Remember that you want a variety of items in your collection instead of several of the exact same item. For example, if you decide to create a collection of clam shells, you may want to look for ones of different shapes or sizes or textures. A collection of crinoid fossils may include fossils of different sizes or rocks with most of the parts still attached as well as individual pieces.
In some cases you may not be able to collect items but you can observe them on your nature walks and you can make a nature journal. In your journal, you can describe what you find, draw pictures, and add any details you like. Some people even like to add poetry or descriptions of their experience in finding the item(s). Nature journals are a great way to be creative. Journal pages are included as “tradable” items in The Nature Trading Post so observe and record as much as you can to earn points.
Where is the Nature Trading Post?
The Nature Trading Post is located in the Jane Brock Research Cabin in the Alabama Wilds. The times that it is open vary so please check at the Birmingham Zoo for operating hours that week.
When is The Nature Trading Post open?
The Nature Trading Post is now closed for the winter. Please visit us again when we reopen for the Spring on March 5th, 2011. If you have a group of 10 or more and would like to schedule a visit, please contact Carrie Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Can I Trade?
The Birmingham Zoo encourages all types of nature observations and each person may trade up to 3 items per day. Listed below are some examples of items to trade.
Examples of Items to Trade
Examples of Items
That Cannot Be Traded
If you have questions about trading items, please contact email@example.com.