CEC members attend zoo and aquarium educators conference

Chris Mahon, Susana Calvo and Helena Olsson were among CEC members participating in this March event in Valencia.

IUCN SSC presentation at the EAZA European Zoo Educators Conference 2011 Photo: Chris Mahon

Zoos and aquariums reach millions of people all over the world, most of them living in urban areas and having little or no contact with nature. How can CEC strategically engage with zoo and aquarium educators? CEC members recently attended a conference to explore the potential for closer collaborative working between CEC and zoos and aquaria and to consider the case for strategic engagement with the people who work in museums, botanical gardens and interpretive centres. Opportunities to make contact with individuals through their professional associations such as WAZA, IZE, EAZA and BCGI were explored during the conference.

The conference agenda was specific to the interest areas of the audience of European zoo educators and was varied in content but with a strong conservation component. From IUCN, the delegates received presentations from Susana Calvo, CEC Regional Vice-Chair for the Mediteranean, on the use of the CEPA Toolkit and from Will Duckworth of IUCN SSC on the next joint EAZA/IUCN SSC campaign on large animals in Southeast Asia. CEC member Helena Olsson of Sweden's Eskilstuna Parken Zoo spoke about communication and also about her conservation education working group. Helena also screened the video Love. Not Loss., which supported Susana's discussion of Communication, Education and Public Awareness.

Chris Mahon, Chair of the IUCN UK National Committee, met with delegates and prepared a SWOT Analysis about CEC engagement with people in these organisations and networks. SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. Among his recommendations was a proposal to establish a strategic agreement with WAZA with a view to collaboration.

The EAZA European Zoo Educators Conference 2011 took place in Valencia, Spain, 10 tp 12 March with a Visitor Study Seminar on 13 March hosted by Oceanogràfic of Valencia, Spain.

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