The Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo (Zoo) is extremely honoured and proud to be the recipient of two awards at the 2021 Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) Annual Awards of Excellence.
The new Prairie Dog Exhibit at the Zoo won the Thomas R. Baines award. This award recognizes excellence in habitat design and development as well as the ability to apply unique approaches to animal care and welfare.
“We are so proud of our new Prairie Dog Exhibit and to receive an award recognizing the new habitat is very exciting,” says Jeff Mitchell, Zoo Manager. “A big thank you our zookeepers and our partner organizations including the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation, that came together to make this exhibit a reality.”
The Prairie Dog Exhibit was designed to feature a naturalistic habitat and provide a new permanent home for the prairie dogs at the Zoo. The exhibit is over nine feet deep with one-inch stainless steel mesh covering the entire bottom of the exhibit allowing the prairie dogs to exhibit their natural behaviours of digging and exploring. The design also allows for visitors to the Zoo to get an up-close look at the prairie dogs with over 40 feet of glass for great viewing opportunities and is anchored with original artwork created by the Saskatoon Community Youth Arts Program. Behind the scenes, a shifting area was created to provide space for future medical and physical checks for the animals.
The Saskatoon Zoo Society received the Eleanore Oakes Award for Education Program Design. This award recognizes outstanding achievement and innovation in education program design that enhances conservation knowledge.
“Our team developed virtual programs when restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic forced our programming to move to a virtual environment” says Kathleen Zary, Education Manager, Saskatoon Zoo Society. “We were so thankful to receive support from several funders to deliver over 350 virtual programs designed to connect students to nature by bringing animals and students together through interactive education while fostering a respect for nature with a Saskatchewan focus.”
The Saskatoon Zoo Society developed five virtual environmental education programs for children in kindergarten to grade eight. Each program featured animal interactions in real time, experienced educators that deepened conversations facilitated throughout the program and professionally taped video tours. The programs also matched the Saskatchewan curricular objectives and incorporated Indigenous-focused content. The five programs developed include:
- Story Time at the Zoo (pre-kindergarten, kindergarten)
- Meet the Creature (Grades 1-2, 2/3 splits)
- Habitat and Adaptations (Grades 3-5 and 5/6 splits)
- Owl and Owl Pellets (Grades 3 and up)
- Species at Risk (Grades 7-8)
For more information on the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo visit saskatoon.ca/zoo.
For more information on the Saskatoon Zoo Society visit saskatoonzoosociety.ca.
For more information on CAZA visit caza.ca.