Taronga’s Project Insitu is a highly successful community education program. It involves school children engaging their local community to take action in helping save a locally threatened species.
Past Project Insitu programs have included Little Penguins of Manly, Booroolong Frogs of Tumbarrumba, Regent Honeyeaters of the Capertee Valley and Chiltern and Platypus in the Western Regions. Projects run on varying scales depending on the funding available and the size of the region.
Projects are initiated by a visit from Taronga’s staff and or the Zoomobile, to make students aware of the plight of the chosen species. Students are challenged to create awareness and behaviour change in their local community. They are able to visit the Zoo and go ‘in situ’ to hear from Zoo and community experts such as the local Office of Environment and Heritage, Council and community volunteers. This helps students learn about the current actions for the animal’s recovery and how the community could help if they are aware of these problems.
In 2010 Project Penguin won the highly prestigious Zoo Aquarium Association’s Education Award and has now run for the 10th year. This alone is testament to the educational value Project Penguin has provided school learning community.
During Term 3, 2015, 155 school students from Holy Cross Primary, Kincumber, St Patricks, East Gosford and mentors from St Joseph's and St Edwards Colleges, East Gosford, are undertaking a learning program to become Yellow-bellied Glider guardians, habitat experts and active participants in the development of wildlife corridors.
Many other projects have been and are being implmented across NSW, to the benefit of local species and student learning.