This course was absolutely amazing - I don't know what I expected going in but it definitely exceeded all expectations and I left not only feeling excited about my career, the opportunities awaiting me but I felt empowered to be able to go ahead and use my newfound practical and theoretical knowledge of enrichment to improve animal welfare. I especially enjoyed learning new practical skills such as rope splicing & just basic drill use! Mark and Chris were both lovely people who were really happy to help and interesting to learn from. The lectures were fascinating both because of how clearly knowledgeable these two were about the field and also because they were so open to discussing ideas - they really got us all thinking and questioning our gut reactions to discuss these important topics from an equally practical/logical and ethical standpoint. I have definitely come away from the course with lots to think about and motivated to read and learn more in order to inform my opinions. The practical workshops were great because they taught us valuable skills which are of real relevance to practical keeper work and which were just fun to be honest! The course honestly surprised me because I went in at the beginning of the week not knowing much, very shy and under confident and left having designed, made and tested my own enrichment device! Thank you so much to Mark & Chris for all your hard work in putting the course on, it was greatly appreciated and I wish I could do it all over again!
I really enjoyed this course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their practical skill set and knowledge. Both Chris and Mark are highly knowledgeable, friendly, patient and helpful - especially good for novices that aren't sure what they're doing with a drill/fire hose/rope/saw & more! Learned a lot and feel much more confident at wielding a drill on the job!
On behalf of the 100 plus delegates and us all here at ZSL and the BIAZA Animal Behaviour and Training Working group I would like to say what you did at the BIAZA certified enrichment building practical activity last week was nothing short of phenomenal. I am still buzzing from the session it was a real highlight of the two day workshop and I still cant believe we pulled it off! During the planning process it was difficult to visualise exactly how it would look as there were so many variables, including weather and number of delegates, so I am very grateful that you were able to steer the session so successfully. I felt the three organisations (ZSL,BIAZA ABTWG and yourselves) worked together well and I put that down to no-one having an ego and everyone putting the delegates (and animals) first. From the perspective of future events I suppose it would have been better if we knew further in advance what devices and species we were going to work with but that is down to the host institution not you, and it was difficult to plan to far ahead as we only knew the exact amount of delegates two weeks before the event .For future reference I would maybe advise another host to invite you in a couple more times before the actual day to sort out logistics and maybe meet the team leaders, other staff and organisers? We asked all delegates to complete feedback forms before the end of the workshop and the enrichment building session and the learning aims associated with this received 100% positive feedback with every delegate agreeing, or strongly agreeing, that the learning aims were met. thanks for everything Mark, it was a brilliant day! Jim Mackie Chair - BIAZA Animal Behaviour and Training Working Group
This course is teaches essential knowledge that even several experienced zookepers could benefit from, which helps give us a head start when searching for a zoo job. The lectures were all very interesting, interactive, and full of videos. We also had the chance to work in teams and be creative, making our own enrichment, which was very rewarding.