Email Old MacDonald's Farm website

Archive for February, 2011

We are here to help you.

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Old Macdonald’s Farm is not only an important place for schools to visit but we want to make our website an invaluable asset for pupils as well. Following the successful Teachers’ Day held here on February 6th, we are looking to improve the information we provide so that schools can encourage their pupils to learn from us even when they are at their desk or on their laptop.

That is why we are offering all schools the opportunity to email us with questions and queries from their students on any of the many subjects we cover. For instance this could cover Food and Farming, such a vital news topic at present with rising food prices around the world leading to poverty and difficulty. Then there is Climate Change and threats to Bio Diversity. Did you know that there are many native British species that have almost been lost in recent years? These are as diverse as the Ladybird Spider, native to Dorset with only 56 found 25 years ago but now built up to 1,000, and the Pool Frog Rana which had to be reintroduced to the wild. There are mosses and ferns too that are in danger of being lost, and any loss to the natural mix can have impacts on all of us. There is even a giant horse, the Suffolk Punch, which is still critically threatened and so it is not just bugs and plants but large, magnificent, mammals too.

We at Old MacDonald’s were part of the International Year of Bio Diversity along with other members of BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and we are featured in their fascinating Magazine Lifelines (visit http://www.biaza.org.uk/resources/library/images/LIFELINES%20No%20111.pdf to find a copy). We would love school children to do their own research into the dangers facing British Flora and Fauna and to send their findings to us so we can publish them, and the names of the children who have done the work. For instance, we challenge schools to look at the potential impact of the proposals to sell off the nation’s woodlands on Britain’s bio diversity. Another topical subject for you to consider.

We host a number of animals here at Old Macdonald’s Farm who have been threatened with extinction, including the Kune Kune pigs, our Malaysian Otters, the European Eagle Owl and many more. We can provide information to schools on these by emailing us at info@omdfarm.co.uk. Our special display on Climate Change will encourage children to think about this subject and discuss their views, perhaps even challenge our own. For instance, do children think this matters? Do they believe in climate change? What can they learn from other sources about the world in which we live, and how can they recommend that Old Macdonald’s Farm improves what we do to have an impact? We will publish all views and encourage on line debate.

We have access to resources from BIAZA and other organisations of whom we are members and therefore can help you with research, and point your pupils in the right direction to gain expert advice when we cannot provide this from our own staff team.

Finally, we offer schools the opportunity to have their pupils’ work published on our website on any of the above topics or on any others they may consider. History of Farming may be of interest to them, cultural and religious views to some animals; factory farming and use of Genetically Modified foods may be subjects they want to debate. Use us as a resource on line as well as at the farm. Alternatively, children may just want to send us their experiences here at the farm and their thoughts and views.

Plus, and we hope this excites you even more, all schools who sign up for this on line project will receive special price concessions for their school and for their pupils to make repeat visits both in school groups and in their own time with their families to learn here at the farm. We recognise that school budgets this year will be tight and want to make sure we give value for money and a great educational experience. Old Macdonald is committed to this, but he can only achieve it with your help and participation. That is why all schools who book from now on can bring one adult free for every 5 children who join their group.

Those many teachers who came on Teachers’ Day came up with this idea, so now let us make it work.

Free Teacher Visits Any and Every Day

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Teachers can attend Old Macdonald’s Farm free of charge any day of the year to view the farm and discuss the educational and leisure opportunities on offer for their pupils. This follows the highly successful free teachers day on February 6th and the introduction of the brand new interactive website project.

Old Macdonald’s Farm offers work within Key Stages 1 and 2, covering history, geography and science plus English and Maths as well. We have historic farming implements harking back to earlier times, displays and animated shows on food and farming and of course farm animals to meet and feed. However there is more than this because Old Macdonald’s Farm is also a licensed Zoo and members of the prestigious British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums and hosts a collection of exotic animals with displays and information on climate change, bio diversity and sustainability.

More than all of this, it is great fun too with leisure rides and equipment and indoor and outdoor play areas. That is why it is a superb place for schools and why we invite all teachers to have a day to themselves and come and have a look. We want to make this easy so just mail us on info@omdfarm.co.uk to let us know when you want to come and from which school and we will contact you. If you could bring letter heading from the school with your names and contact numbers when you come to our reception it would be appreciated, and then you can see for yourself. We have always welcomed teachers free for pre visit inspections and want to expand this to free visits to contemplate a visit in the future. When teachers come along we would love to talk to them about their views, but talking to us is not compulsory!

The interactive website was the teachers’ idea, so we look forward to learning from you the many other ways we can improve our services to schools.

Farms and Zoos have positive impact for all.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

A recent study, commissioned by BIAZA (the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) recently published has shown the positive impact of Animal Attractions to the overall economy. The study, by John Regan Associates, shows that overall Zoos contribute £ 648 million to the British economy of which over £ 198 million is spent in the areas surrounding the establishments. Now Old Macdonald wants to make it clear that he is not personally gaining that much money but wanted you to be aware of the value that such places bring.

Also, as Dr Miranda Stevenson, Director of BIAZA says in her introduction to the report, establishments including Old Macdonald’s Farm, make significant financial contributions to conservation projects and you can read on our website of the chosen causes for which we raise funds.

Our own establishment in Brentwood has been recognised by the local Mayor, Councillor Tee, as one of the leading tourist attractions in the area and this study would show that we, as with all other animal attractions, make a significant contribution to the local economy too. We are also key local employers.

Some interesting facts from this report, which can be found in full on the BIAZA website,  show that one in three UK citizens visit an animal attraction each year, that children between 3 and 10 benefit particularly from such a visit, that attendance at animal attractions has rises considerably over the past 30 years due to the emphasis now on animal welfare and educational opportunities, and that animal attractions are the most popular choice for children for days out, after the seaside (and we are a long way from the sea) But here in Brentwood you can enjoy part of the traditional seaside day out with our Punch and Judy Shows (see special events) but without the tide or the beach! We have got sand though.

Visitors to this attraction, as with other zoos, cover all of Britain’s multi racial and multi cultural society and is recognised by visitors as superb value for money. However one of the very important findings of this study are that children who visit animal attractions such as ours gain an immediate and life long commitment to and understanding of nature, bio diversity and conservation which is a key part of their development and most important to protecting the world around us.