Dartmoor Zoo, renowned for its international conservation and education programmes, has welcomed more than 200 young women and schoolgirls to an evening of inspiring talks, expert advice – and close-up encounters with some of the zoo’s smaller amphibian and invertebrate residents.
The third annual Young Women into STEM careers fair on 14 November was designed by organisers Women in STEM Plymouth (WISP) to connect young women with the sort of people they might become in few years – ‘fantastic, inspiring women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics’.
Sponsored by Babcock International, the event enabled attendees to engage with more than 30 STEM related organisations. They also had the opportunity to tour the zoo by torchlight and to handle corn snakes, stick insects and land snails.
Dartmoor Zoo Head of Discovery and Learning, Coral Jonas, said: “At Dartmoor Zoo, we are passionate about promoting conservation through education, training and volunteering. It really was a pleasure for the zoo to host the WISP initiative again, supporting and encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM fields which, of course, include animal science. Careers in animal management are varied and highly rewarding and, by widening participation in this field of study, our research and conservation work will continue to evolve and species around the world will benefit.”
Dr Lorna Dallas, Chair for Women in STEM Plymouth said: “As an organisation, Women in STEM Plymouth aims to inspire, support and promote women in STEM in our local area – and our careers fair is a key way that we achieve all three of these aims. It is fantastic to have support from Babcock and such a fantastic location at Dartmoor Zoo, which allows us to open this free event to young women who are keen to learn more about the fantastic opportunities that are available on our doorstep”.
Dartmoor Zoo itself offers a range of educational experiences from pre-school and tailored curriculum visits, to higher education courses, including Zoo Animal Management levels 2 and 3, delivered in partnership with Duchy College.
Dartmoor Zoo was established in 2007 when Benjamin Mee and his family bought an ailing zoo. Since then Ben, his family and team have built the Zoo into the popular tourist attraction it is today. Ben wrote a book about his experience and in 2011 it was made into the Hollywood Film ‘We Bought a Zoo’ starring Matt Damon. In 2014 the Zoo became a charity, of which Ben is CEO. Today the Zoo is heavily involved in research, conservation and education projects to promote the welfare of animals and to enrich both the lives of humans and animals.
To find out more about Dartmoor Zoo and the educational and training opportunities on offer, visit www.dartmoorzoo.org.uk