Wednesday, 5 December 2012

High Impact Award for the Second Year Running

Volunteer Sarah with Head Keeper Mike and
Conservation and Research Officer, Adam
The Education Team at Dartmoor Zoo are celebrating again following confirmation that for the second year running they have won the Global Entrepreneurship Week, High Impact Award.

Organised by Youth Business International, Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrates entrepreneurship as a force for good through a wide range of activities.

The "High Impact Badge of Honour" is granted only to those activities which meet a range of criteria demonstrating the contribution the activity makes to the aims of the project.

Since its inception, Global Entrepreneurship Week has spread to 115 countries, with nearly 24,000 organisations planning more than 37,000 activities. In 2011 over 213,000 people attended 2,305 events, run by over 900 organisations as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK alone.

The award was granted to DZP for their Enterprise Challenge. Launched in 2011, the challenge is a unique activity developed by the education team designed to meet and exceed a range of educational goals in a challenging and engaging manner. It sees small teams of students assuming the role of a Zoo Development Team for an entire day.

"We're very proud of the Enterprise Challenge," explains operations manager, George Hyde. "It involves every department at the zoo from animal care through maintenance to marketing and customer service. It's a real crash-course in the demands of running a modern zoo."

The students' task, often in competition with teams from other schools, is to add a new species to the DZP animal collection. To complete the challenge, students must face and overcome a range of real-world development problems whilst keeping to a strict budget.

At the end of the day-long challenge the teams are required to present their plans to a panel of professional judges comprised of senior zoo management which sometimes includes zoo director, Benjamin Mee.

"The feedback we get from students and staff is amazing," says Benjamin. "We've even run Enterprise Challenge days as team-building exercises for teachers and university lecturers. They find it just as challenging and enjoyable as the kids."

The DZP Enterprise Challenge is just one of a number of major developments within the zoo's education department which have captured the imagination and support of local educators. The new Extended Diploma in Animal Management, delivered in partnership with Bicton College, is now well into its second year with new students already expressing an interest in enrolling next year.

The zoo’s fascinating Dissection Theatre, part of the Dartmoor Hill Pony conservation project, is also now very well established and attracting interest from educational establishments throughout the country.

The Enterprise Challenge is proving particularly popular with secondary school teachers who recognise that it exceeds the specified National Curriculum learning objectives for Economic Well-being and Financial Capability. It also gives higher ability students the opportunity to demonstrate and develop skills in teamwork, assessing needs, understanding risk, finance management and enterprise.

"We've known for quite some time now that the Enterprise Challenge was something special," explains George. "The whole team here have worked really hard to produce something of real value and this award shows that we achieved exactly that."

Educators in the region can see first-hand what the Enterprise Challenge is all about at an open evening at the zoo in January. It’s one of a number of events held throughout the year which provides teachers and youth group workers with an opportunity to see what the DZP Education Team has to offer and assist them in developing further activities.

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