Through partnerships with Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the Birmingham Zoo was able to connect children in Alabama with children in Zimbabwe through a video conference in 2017.
With both groups of children coming from tribal backgrounds, they were able to discuss the similarities and differences between their lifestyles. The children were able to connect and discuss musical instruments, weaving, and other aspects of their cultures. In addition, the children were able to discuss and share similarities and differences about their native wildlife.
Human animal conflicts affect both groups of children and were talking points during their video conference. Zoo educators were able to use this discussion to promote conservation and why it is important to protect and conserve native animals.
“We have also been able to take advantage of this technology to bridge the distance between students here in Alabama and researchers in the field working to protect wildlife in Zimbabwe – putting them on the front lines of the conservation work being done in Africa. Each week students in our Spire ZooSchool program participate in video conferences with the staff at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage to learn about the valuable work that they do. These interactions are the culmination of a weeklong study by these students focusing on human/animal conflict and allows them to make real-world connections to these concepts,” says Roger Torbert, VP of Education.