Wild about Biodiversity

Date: 2010/05/22


BUILDING a bug tower, exploring a plant hunter’s trail and examining all sorts of creatures under a microscope, are just some of the activities being held to celebrate International Biodiversity Day on the 22nd May.


2010 is the United Nations' International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) and throughout the year, people across the world will be coming together to discuss biological diversity, why it is important and how we can prevent the loss of species, genes and ecosystems.


The British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) is encouraging families across the country to visit our members on International Biodiversity Day and help them highlight the importance of preserving the diversity of life on Earth.


Dr Miranda Stevenson, Executive Director of BIAZA said: “Zoos and aquariums have an important role to play in turning the tide of the current decline in biodiversity: Through their conservation work and in inspiring 24 million visitors to care more and do more for wildlife and the environment.


“I am delighted to present some of the wonderful examples of the activities BIAZA members are doing for International Biodiversity Day, showing that they are a driving force in biodiversity conservation.”


BIAZA member zoos and aquariums will have plenty of fun activities on offer on the day including a guided walk of the woodland trails at Galloway Wildlife Conservation Trust and a bird radio tracking game at The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust. And if your local BIAZA zoo or aquarium isn’t holding an event, you can still go along for a visit and learn about conserving the natural world.


Biodiversity is being destroyed at alarming rates because of human activity, but we can prevent this from happening. By raising awareness and understanding of the issues and showing people the benefits of conserving life on Earth, we can help make a huge difference.



Editor’s notes

Biodiversity is Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It is essential for sustaining the natural living systems or ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services.



The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) is a conservation, education and wildlife charity (charity no. 248553). Founded in 1966, it represents over 100 member organisations including all the significant zoos and aquariums in Britain and Ireland. Its vision is ‘to be a powerful force in the care and conservation of the natural world’ and its mission is to support and lead its members:


-       to inspire people to help conserve the natural world

-       to participate in effective co-operative conservation programmes

-       to deliver the highest quality environmental education, training and research

-       to achieve the highest standards of animal care and welfare in zoos, aquariums and in the wild


What are BIAZA members doing for International Biodiversity Day?

Here are just a few examples of activities….


Bristol Zoo Gardens – Clifton, Bristol

The importance of flowers and plants will be the subject of the Zoo’s efforts for International Biodiversity Day. Each family will receive a free packet of seeds upon entry to Bristol Zoo on Saturday 22nd May, to support the International Year of Biodiversity. Visitors will be encouraged to plant the seeds in their garden and watch them bloom into colourful flowers.

Contact: Lucy Parkinson

tel 0117 974 7306

email lparkinson@bristolzoo.org.uk


Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park – Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway

On 22nd May, the park will be raising awareness of woodland biodiversity by giving visitors a guided tour of the woodland trails and playing fun games like quiz and hide and seek.

Contact: John Denerley

tel 01557 331645

email info@gallowaywildlife.co.uk


Hawk Conservancy Trust – Andover, Hampshire

The Trust will be holding a Birds, Bugs, Butterflies and Bees Day at its visitor centre on 22nd May. Activities for visitors will include: conducting a bird checklist at various feeding stations by spotting as many species of bird as they can, helping to create a bug tower out of recycled material, visiting the wildflower meadow and looking at the nectar tables that have been arranged to attract butterflies and visiting the bee bank to look at the various species of flora that have been planted to attract the different species of bee.

Contact: Gale Gould

tel 01264 773850 ext 223

email Gale@hawkconservancy.org


Knowsley Safari Park – Prescot, Merseyside

To celebrate the International year of Biodiversity, Knowsley Safari Park is holding an August long event called “Life – a celebration of biodiversity”. This will be in the Safari School room where the park will display as much biodiversity as it can and empower visitors to increase their own back yard biodiversity with well rotted safari park manure, wildflower seeds, and bird or bat boxes for sale. There will also be advice from staff and information about the park’s BIAZA/REGUA reserve in Brazil and how visitors can help.

Contact: Denise Chorley

tel 0151 430 9009 ext.205

email D.Chorley@knowsley.com


Marwell Wildlife – Winchester, Hampshire

Marwell will be running a whole week of biodiversity related activities for its visitors for the October half term (23rd -31st October 2010).Activities will include a 'Life' trail around the park, an exhibition of biodiversity in the education centre, slides of strange living things under the microscope and games.

Contact: Helen Jefferies

tel 01962 777947

email helenj@marwell.org.uk


Newquay Zoo – Newquay, Cornwall

Newquay Zoo will be opening their plant hunter's trail exploring the strange stories including west country links and some secret wartime exploits behind many of their familiar garden exotic plants. The zoo will also be giving people the chance to plant up seeds to take home or leave at the zoo as part of its wildlife gardening efforts to celebrate 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

Contact: Mark Norris

tel 01637 873342

email mark.norris@newquayzoo.org.uk


Old MacDonald’s Farm – Brentwood, Essex

Old MacDonald’s is launching a major charity initiative to raise funds for the World Land Trust BIAZA reserve, Wildlife Heritage Foundation and Hopefield Animal Sanctuary on May 22nd, and will also be holding a competition for people to snap wildlife in their back gardens, load them on face book and win free entry tickets to the farm.

Ray Smith

tel: 01277 375177

email: oldmacdonalds@btconnect.com


The Pensthorpe Conservation Trust – Fakenham, Norfolk

The Trust is holding its annual ‘Wild About the Wensum’ event on 22nd May from 10am to 5pm. The event is the largest environmental event in North Norfolk and is specifically aimed at families to highlight the importance of the Wensum valley and the wildlife organisations that work within it. With over 40 organisations attending all offering interactive activities on their stands it is a great day out. Visitors will find local craft demonstrations, mobile making, face painting, a bird radio tracking game, bird identification sessions with local experts and many more games and adventures. Music will be provided by Rig a Jig Jig. There will also be a hog roast and barbecue. More information can be found at:


Contact: Kate Morfoot/Rachael Paddick

tel 01362 694649

email kate@junglepr.com


Shepreth Wildlife Park – Royston, Hertfordshire

Shepreth will be highlighting the event by getting together representative species of vertebrates and invertebrates to give the public a close-up and hands on learning experience.  Visitors will be able to listen to talks in the Discovery & Education Centre. And there will be lots of snake, skunk, owl, and bugs bio-fun.

Contact: Lainie Bazzoni  

tel: 01763 262226

email: education@sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk


Tropical Butterfly House – North Anston, Sheffield

Tropical Butterfly House will be holding a number of activities to celebrate International Biodiversity Day including giving out free animal masks for every child with a full paying adult, bug house making in the activity centre and a native species encounter. 
Contact: Chrissie Jackson
tel: 01909 569 416

email: info@butterflyhouse.co.uk


Twycross Zoo – Atherstone, Warwickshire

Twycross Zoo is celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity throughout 2010. Exhibitions, quizzes and activities will raise awareness of endangered species and habitat destruction. But what is biodiversity? It is every living thing on Earth, from the smallest bacteria to the huge blue whale. Help Twycross Zoo celebrate by joining them on 22nd of May 2010 for the International Day for Biodiversity. Check out the website for more details www.twycrosszoo.org

tel 01827 880 250

email kim.riley@twycrosszoo.org


Other regions:

To find a BIAZA zoo in your region where you can go to celebrate International Biodiversity Day visit: http://www.biaza.org.uk/public/pages/findazoo/index.asp






Press contact

Zara Gaspar


Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY

tel 0207 449 6599

mobile 077 38008600

email communications@biaza.org.uk


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