Pupils enjoy their Zoofari adventures

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Auckland Zoo educator Kirsty MacFarlane engages Year 6 Morningside School students, from left, Nikau Heke, Zac Withers, JJ Wellington, Kyra Dodd and Eva Winch in the Te Wao Nui precinct during their Warehouse Zoofari last week.
Auckland Zoo educator Kirsty MacFarlane engages Year 6 Morningside School students, from left, Nikau Heke, Zac Withers, JJ Wellington, Kyra Dodd and Eva Winch in the Te Wao Nui precinct during their Warehouse Zoofari last week.

Students from seven Northland schools will enjoy adventurous overnight stays at Auckland Zoo this month, thanks to The Warehouse Zoofari programme.

Now in its fourth year, the partnership between Auckland Zoo and The Warehouse, with support from Ritchies Transport, assists children from low-decile schools in Auckland and Northland to experience conservation-based learning programmes at the zoo.

Throughout June, students from seven Northland schools - Morningside, Oturu, Oruaiti, Totara North, Ohaeawai and Ruawai primary schools and Opononi Area School - accompanied by teachers and caregivers, will participate in the programme. Morningside visited the zoo last week.

Their adventure included a guided night walk, a sleepover in the Old Elephant House, participating in structured interactive education sessions with zoo educators in the Te Wao Nui (New Zealand) precinct, and exploring other areas of the complex.

Auckland Zoo team leader for Schools Programmes, Laura Rayner, said the Zoofari programme offers children who wouldn't necessarily get the opportunity to visit Auckland Zoo an enriching experience that connects them to wildlife.

"Many of these children haven't been to a zoo before and you see the delight and gratitude on their faces when they leave. It's amazing," Ms Rayner said.

Executive GM of community and environment for The Warehouse, Paul Walsh, said the programme is an important part of the company's commitment to helping Kiwi kids to flourish.

Auckland Zoo education experiences are Ministry of Education certified, and every Zoofari session is a unique lesson facilitated by an zoo educator in partnership with teachers to ensure integration into the school curriculum. It is funded through donations from Warehouse customers.

Northland schools interested in finding out more about The Warehouse School Zoofari or to see a programme in action visit http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/sites/education/The-Warehouse-School-Zoofari.

- Northern Advocate

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