Conservation Careers at the Zoo

Kat Fox, Education officer at Melbourne Zoo, speaking to our students at “Conservation Careers”.

On Friday, twelve students from Year 9 and 10 had the opportunity to attend a special program in Melbourne, “Conservation Careers at the Zoo”. It was an early start, with a 5.30am train departure from Warrnambool, arriving at Southern Cross just after 9.00am. We arrived at the Zoo to hear from Kat Fox, an education officer, who explained her previous experiences to eventually get her present job, which included work at the Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary.

We also heard from Rachel Lowry, who has “the best job in the world’ as the Director of Wildlife and Conservation Science at Zoos Victoria. She is responsible for the different conservation programs, such as “Wipe for Wildlife” and “Don’t Palm us Off”. One of the challenges of her job is prioritizing funding for threatened species.  One of the most interesting speakers was Dr. Marissa Parrot, a reproductive biologist, who spoke about her role with managing the breeding programs, including the genetics of captive bred animals (did you know that domestic animals have a much smaller brain size than wild animals?). Other speakers included zookeeper Adrian Howard (Carnivore and Ungulate Precinct Manager), Fiona Ryan (Veterinary Nurse) and Andrew Eadon (Education Officer).

A common theme amongst all the guest speakers was the competitive nature of the field and the requirement to be passionate, flexible, persistent and willing to volunteer for various positions to demonstrate your commitment. A high VCE score to enable you to access your chosen course and excellent university marks are also valuable on a curriculum vitae. If you would like to do work experience at the Zoo in Year 11, you will need to apply this year. Forms are available for download from the Zoos Victoria website.

Science Week – Energy Revolution 11th-19th August

Australian Science Teacher’s Association Science Week Booklet

Next week is Science Week across Australia and ASTA have produced an excellent, free resource with information and activities on the theme “Energy Revolution”. It includes sections on types of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable homes, schools, transport and buildings. There are plenty of links to resources and practical activities for your classroom.

We have a few things happening at Hawkesdale to celebrate Science Week:

Monday 13th August (11.30am – 12.30pm): Games and Game Design: Skills needed for a career in games Quantum Victoria present “The Young Scientist and Engineer series” with Paul Taylor, a game designer, educator and software engineer. Click on this link for the Blackboard Collaborate session.

Tuesday 14th August (9.00 – 10.00am) Mags Lum (@ScientistMags on Twitter) is a chemist, metallurgist, photographer and writer. She writes a blog, “Philosophically Disturbed” and will be Skyping into our classroom to talk about “Science is a journey” with our year 9 class.

Wednesday 15th August (11.15am to 12.05pm) Catherine Anderson (@genegeek) is a molecular genetics specialist who writes at “Musings of a gene geek”  about science, DNA, genetics and more. She will be Skyping in to our Year 7 class with “Genetics 101, Why I love it and science career paths”. Catherine has written a great post about DNA on her blog, “What is DNA?”. Please leave a comment on her blog about what you found interesting about today’s session, if you might be considering science as a career and thanking her for her time today.

After our Skype sessions, please follow the links to Mags’ and Catherine’s blogs and add a comment – What did you find interesting, amusing, difficult to understand or strange? Did their talk make you think about a career in science?

On Monday 27th August (11.30am to 12.30pm): Quantum Victoria present “The Young Scientist and Engineer series” with Matt Bliss, a geologist studying the chemistry of volcanoes, who will be speaking about “The Earth as a Dynamic System”.