Tall Tails


You may have recently seen that the natural history channel, Eden, have released a competition for amateur wildlife enthusiasts like myself to upload a minute long natural history film of their own. Obviously an opportunity far too good to miss!

So after a bit of brain racking I managed to rope in my little sister, who has her own vlog (she’s a clever and entertaining little bean, search ‘kelseydoes’ on YouTube), and the lemur keeper to help me out. So after work one day we filmed with some very mischievous lemurs and this is what we cam up with…


If you would like to have a gander please let me know what you think! All feedback would be fantastic; good and bad! Of course, if your friend happens to work in the natural history television industry… feel free to pass it on!

In other news, it was my last day working at the zoo today 😦

I have had an absolutely fantastic summer, learnt so much, been given some fantastic opportunities and will of course miss seeing beautiful animals every single day!

My next adventure is my 4th and final teaching placement. I start Monday and will be at the new school, with year 1, until Christmas. I am very much hoping to use lots of outdoor education lessons during this placement and, if allowed, run a conservation club for year 5 and 6.

Therefore at the end of each week I will post any outdoor or environmentally based lessons I teach, letting you know how they went…whether it be great or terrible!

Wish me luck 🙂


15 minutes of fame? …or maybe less!

Just a short update today.

A local newspaper has written a (very) short article on the work I am carrying out at Paignton zoo!
I will admit, it is not the most motivating or exciting article I have ever read, but I am flattered nonetheless.

Any press is good press right?



On an altogether more exciting note, I am well on the way to finishing my research on how different forms of enrichment effect the behaviour of the Sulawesi crested macaques (Macaca Nigra) at Paignton Zoo. I will be publishing my findings on here around the middle of May, maybe before!



It’ll be alright on the night!

Stressful doesn’t quite cover the last few weeks!
Recently Paignton Zoo advertised a Presenter job; as this had a similar job description as my internship I jumped at the opportunity.
After re-writing my cover letter at least 10 times I hesitantly sent it off and sat in wait!
3 weeks later I had the wonderful email informing me that I had an interview, however it turned out that my fellow interns had not. Understandably this gave me some very mixed emotions; proud that I’d managed to get one, sad that if I got the job that I would not be in the company of current friends and nervous because clearly the competition was tough. In fact I later discovered that 96 applied, and 9 got interviews.
We were told that during the interview we would perform a talk as if we were doing so in the zoo. Therefore I thought it would be sensible to use the cheetah talk that I helped write last year, which involves getting the audience to run rather quickly on the spot! Even though I used to present this talk nearly every day last summer, in practice I struggled to remember it.
By some miracle it all came together in the interview and half an hour later I got a phone call telling me I had the job!
I am absolutely astonished and cannot wait for the summer to begin. It is just that bit of confirmation that I am on the right track!
Therefore I am pleased to say that I will be posting about outdoor education days I am involved in, new talks and any other exciting days at work. With previous experience at Paignton Zoo I am pretty sure these days will not be few and far between!

So there you go, when you wish upon the right star (and add a fair bit of hard work), dreams do come true. 🙂


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