MAY 2020 Edition
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BAMZ ZOOm Encounters
Introducing GASS: Generating Academic Success in Science
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Animal Importation — Bureaucracy and Weather Permitting
Introducing GASS: Generating Academic Success in Science
By Dr. Jamie Bacon, Education Officer, Bermuda Zoological Society
Last year, although we gave 8,665 student educational experiences, 5,961 of those to public school students, we had no real data to show whether the students retained any of what we taught them. Even though teachers have consistently given us positive feedback about our classes, we knew – and our donors required – that we should get some actual data to determine whether our classes do indeed help student achievement.
Our solution to this situation was to create 4 GASS packages for select P5, P6 and M1 topics. These packages are STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) based and we tell teachers “you can do STEAM with GASS”. Our goal with these packages is to create BZS staff/public school teacher partnerships in order to try to enhance student achievement and collect meaningful data. Each package contains key concepts and vocabulary, a pre-topic and post-topic assessment so we can measure student learning, an outline of our BZS class, and a variety of follow-up activities to help teachers engage students further and increase student retention of the material.

We piloted our first GASS package – P6 Food Chains – this fall with 6 classes at 5 public primary schools and the results were quite promising. The average percent correct on the post-assessment by class was 83.1% and, for the 5 classes that gave the pre-assessment at or near the beginning of the topic, the average percent improvement per student by class was 22.6%. We have since delivered the M1 Classification package to 11 classes from 3 middle schools and are anxiously awaiting the results! We are also hoping to receive data from checkpoint or end-of-term exams to look at long-term retention. We will evaluate and revise the packages as needed and hope to be adding more GASS packages in the future!
Animal Importation — Bureaucracy and Weather Permitting
By Barbara Outerbridge, Registrar, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo
There is the expression “When pigs fly” to denote something that is never going to happen. The movement of animals between zoo facilities is exceedingly lengthy and complex and it does sometimes feel as if it is never going to happen.

We are continually working on adding animals to our zoo collection — whether additional specimens of species we already have or new species entirely. Animal availability is subject to many factors but once specific animals are identified, the work begins to obtain the necessary permits to move the animals. This can be a very lengthy process, sometimes up to 18 months depending on the species. The permit is restricted to the specific animals and partnering institutions and typically has a maximum six month validity.

Only when the required permits have been obtained can you begin to plan the actual shipping. All of our animals arrive by commercial airline and are subject to weather restrictions (animals cannot fly if it is too hot or too cold at any point in their routing), so we effectively have two narrow shipping windows in the spring and fall respectively.
We recently received a family troop of five lemurs from a partnering zoo in New York state. That transaction began in October 2017 when the family group consisted of four. An unexpected birth, necessitated the need for new permits to reflect the larger group, weather issues and the need for new permits due to permit expiry dates were some of the challenges we faced. In total it was 26 months, four expired permits and one last minute weather delay, but finally the lemurs did fly! Our new family will be introduced to their new exhibit this year.

We have also received a Matschie’s tree kangaroo named Adoni, and are now working on acquiring a troop of red-ruffed lemurs, a breeding pair of laughing kookaburras, and a breeding pair of tawny frogmouths to name but a few of the animal transactions currently underway. No guaranteed arrival dates — but we are ever hopeful that they too will all fly!