Why am I here?

There are endless contexts and answers for this question. Firstly I’ll take the most obvious:

Why am I blogging?

Well, certainly not because I am a technological wiz! So let me introduce myself…
My name is Poppy Gitsham and I am currently an undergraduate student at Plymouth University, studying a BEd Primary, specialising in science.
During travels I stumbled across the world of conservation, animal and outdoor education, at this point I also discovered an absolute passion in this area of teaching.

I will use this blog to upload things I am getting involved in to help pursue my career as effectively as possible! For instance: University projects, conferences, volunteering, work and school clubs.
As an example; at the moment I am currently undertaking a research project into how Sulawesi macaque behaviour is effected by enrichment at Paignton Zoo, so I will post updates and results.
Other things that I am involved in, in the near future include: A presentation for a ‘world conservation day’ to be implemented in primary schools for a university project and attending an education conference at Dartmoor Zoological Park.
Finally I will post any useful teaching resources or interesting snippets of news I find.

Therefore I would absolutely love as much advice and feedback as possible! Is the information useful? Are the resources affective? Or is it all a load of tosh? Could you recommend other resources or events I could get involved in?

So, that’s what the blog is for, time to get a bit deeper…

Why am I here?
For a long time it has worried me that children lack enthusiasm and knowledge about the natural world, from their back garden to the great African planes. This was demonstrated all too well during a recent lesson of mine. On asking my class ‘Where does ivory come from?’ the answers ranged from mining to growing on trees, but not a single mention of elephants. Shocking at first, but on further thought, where are children meant to gain this information if it is not being presented to them in any form?
I feel that it is the responsibility of educators to introduce children to, and let them explore the natural world. This can be done from taking them to the local park to zoos (preferably motivated by conservation rather than money, e.g. BIAZA approved) to see exotic wildlife. If this is done effectively there is no need to ‘teach’ children to appreciate the natural world, awe and wonder will do the job for you!
This is my aim, to enable children to become enthusiastic about looking after our planet and the animals on it. To make them aware of some of the main conservational issues such as palm oil, but more importantly teach them about the incredible things people are doing to help.

But most of all, I would like children to believe that they CAN make a difference!

“People must feel that the natural world is important and valuable and beautiful and wonderful and an amazement and a pleasure” – David Attenborough


9 thoughts on “Why am I here?

  1. Great start Poppy! Good luck – I’ve had a career in this field and it’s been an amazing life. I certainly haven’t made much £, but I’ve made a fantastic set of friends and seen some beautiful parts of the world. I’ve also seen some parts that make you weep – and then you understand why you followed this path. Join Sussed – a Yahoo user group for environmental Ed /outdoor ed. jobs, ideas etc. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sussed/)

  2. Hi Poppy,

    This is fantastic! It’s great to know about your journey so far and also about how passionate you are about conservation!

    I will continue to read this blog – a great idea!


    Kelly Davis

    • Hi Kelly,
      Thanks so much for your support 🙂 I’m not sure I will be able to put much up during February but have lots of interesting things going on in March which I will post about.
      Really glad you like it,

  3. An interesting post.
    In my experience it is not that children lack enthusiasm, its more a case of do they know what it happening in the world? Like you say, where would children get their information from?
    Over the past few years we have looked at Zoo by Anthony Browne in school (I teach primary) as part of a literacy topic – the children seem to have a natural empathy for the animals, more than they do for each other. They are enthusiastic about animal welfare and want to do something about it. Last year we did a topic on rainforests, and again the children responded well to trying to do something to support the rainforests. Children understand the issues, if we share them.
    As teachers it is our job to show the world to children, and guide them on how to help/support/respond to the issues. You state it perfectly – children need to know they can make a difference. They are our only hope of saving the world!

    • Hi quietadventure 🙂
      Thank you so much for your comment and interest in my blog.
      That sounds like a really interesting resource, thanks for sharing. Might be something I can use on my next placement. I agree they are perfectly capable of understanding the issues. But I think it is also important we let them know that there are also good things happening to help, to give them role models and ambition.
      You are right, they’re all we’ve got!

  4. Hi Poppy 🙂
    I hope you get a lot out of teaching young and old about the fabulous wildlife we have in the world. I had a lot of fun giving tours to people during my volunteer stay at a big cat center in South Africa last summer. People generally cares about animals, but with the media caring more about Kim Kardashian than poaching it falls to conservation enthusiasts like yourself to enlighten people about whats happening and why the animals are important to us.

    Can’t wait to follow your journey and I wish you all the best 😀

    • Hi Morten,
      Thank you so much, that is very kind!
      Every time I teach a lesson, or give a talk about conservation I get a buzz, so long may it continue! My love for conservation also started at a Cheetah sanctuary in South Africa where I was giving tours.

      I look forward to following your lovely wildlife photography!

  5. Great stuff. In my experience, children need more of real hand-on experience about nature. They need to touch and feel its presence. Please do share your email with me. I would be interested in connecting with you. Thanks.

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