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26 September 2008

Zoos Fodder For Thought Project Brings The Classroom Outdoors

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Taronga Western Plains Zoo is creating an outdoor learning environment at five schools in Dubbo as part of the Fodder for Thought project, which will see extensive planting of fodder trees on school agricultural land.

The Fodder for Thought project will inform students about the use of trees as sustainable fodder stock and as environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional stock feeds, as well as other benefits including wind breaks, shelter and erosion control.

The Fodder for Thought project will involve schools working with Taronga Western Plains Zoo, NSW Forestry and the local Catchment Management Authority on site selection, planting and the long term maintenance of the trees.

"Students from the St Johns College, Dubbo Christian School, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, Dubbo College Senior Campus and Dubbo College South Campus will all be involved in the project," said Deb.

"The project involves developing education programs that will provide students with first hand knowledge of the environmental benefit of trees on farms as well as in urban environments," said Senior Education Officer, Deb Haesler.

"The main objective of the project is to teach students how to harvest trees as fodder on a rotational basis that will be used for animals both at the school and the Zoo," said Deb.

"This is a perfect way for our Senior Geography students to contribute something long term to not only the School and the environment but the Zoo's Fodder for Thought program," said Justin McCarney, Geography Teacher at St John College.

"It's an opportunity to get outside the classroom and apply their learning practically," said Justin."

The Fodder for Thought project is just one of Taronga Western Plains Zoo's environmental initiatives.  The Zoo currently maintains a number of plantations on site which are used to feed many of the Zoo animals.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is open everyday of the year from 9am to 4pm (exit gates close at 5pm).  For more information about the Zoo contact 02 6881 1413 or visit www.taronga.org.au.

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