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Zoological Society puts accent on history

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“Educating tomorrow's environmentalists,” is the mission of the Bermuda Zoological Society, and while impassioning and empowering students to protect and conserve the environment is important, it is equally important to the BZS to educate adults — especially those who are teaching the next generation. We desire to provide them with the understanding and skills to help them set an example of how to make a difference for our natural world.

The BZS Natural History Course was first developed as a means of providing volunteers at BZS with additional training, but it has since evolved into a comprehensive course that provides attendees from all walks of life with an in-depth look at a variety of issues and challenges that face Bermuda's environment, as well as develop an understanding of how Bermuda has evolved naturally over time.

The course lasts about a month and includes weekly lectures by local experts on Thursday evenings, as well as special field trips and experiences during the weekends.

“The purpose of the Natural History Course is to offer adults the opportunity to learn about Bermuda's natural history from experts in their fields in an enjoyable atmosphere,” said Camilla Stringer, the course co-ordinator. “The lectures require no prior knowledge and complement each other to build up a complete picture of the most important elements that have shaped Bermuda and help to explain what we see around us today.”

The course is offered twice a year, however, the content of the spring and fall sessions is vastly different. In the fall, the focus is largely on essential knowledge, while in the spring, the curriculum is expanded and specific topics are discussed in more detail, making the two sessions complementary to each other.

“The curriculum remains largely the same from year to year, but presenters do update their lectures as appropriate, and many of the lectures in the spring course were entirely new last year,” Ms Stringer said. “There are so many fascinating subjects for study, and this spring, we're offering the opportunity to snorkel through the mangroves, which has not been available before. It is not unusual for people to take the courses more than once, as there is so much to learn.”

Anyone can benefit from the course, and BZS frequently sees a wide cross-section of people register, from those who simply want to learn more for their personal benefit, to those who work in education and are looking to expand their knowledge to share it with their students.

“The Natural History Course is of particular benefit to teachers as it addresses many topics that occur in the curriculum taught in Bermuda's schools. A certificate for professional development hours is available to those primary school and middle school teachers who complete the course, as well as senior school biology and social studies teachers.”

The spring session will begin on Thursday and run until June 4. Lectures include “BZS Reef Watch” by Thaddeus Murdoch, “The Bermuda Turtle Project” by Jennifer Gray, “Pelagic Seabirds” by David Wingate, “The Fern Recovery Project” by Alison Copeland and Kim Burch, and “Bees” by Tommy Sinclair, among others. Planned field trips include visits to Walsingham and Vesey Nature Reserves, a longtail walk and a mangrove snorkel. Course applications should be received by tomorrow at 4pm.

The course costs $170 per person, however, BZS offers a special discount of $140 for its members. For those who are unable to attend the course, they can sign up for individual lectures, at a cost of $30 for non-members and $25 for BZS members. Field trips are available only to those who register for the whole course, however, to provide the best possible experience.

For more information or to register, contact Ms Stringer at 293-2727 ext 2134 or e-mail seniorschool.bzs@gov.bm.

Andrew Dobson, president of the Audubon Society, leads a tour of the Natural History Course
Participants in a Natural History Course explore a local nature preserve

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Published April 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm (Updated April 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm)

Zoological Society puts accent on history

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