Animal observation from the comfort of your home

In early 2020, Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University (CU) was successful in receiving grant funding from the Brian Mason – Scientific & Technical Trust to support development of a range of animal observation activities for the CU Portal. The funding was used to purchase video and network equipment for Orana Wildlife Park and the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm.

Orana Wildlife Park was one of the inaugural Learning Destinations for CU in New Zealand. The Park provides the ultimate animal adventure, providing up close and personal experiences with animals in their open-range zoo. The cameras were mounted in the porcupine, meerkat, spider monkey enclosures and the whio aviary. Dedicated animal observation activities and tools were also created for the CU Portal. These activities are popular with tamariki (children) from New Zealand and across Australia. ‘This has been a fantastic opportunity for us to extend Orana’s reach beyond our local community and support children from around New Zealand in a journey of life-long learning’ – Toby Johnson, Engagement and IT Manager, Orana Wildlife Park

GoPros were set up in the paddocks of the Lincoln University Research Dairy Farm to track the movement of the cows across a period of time. This footage is being used to create online activities for the CU Portal. It will also be used by university students and staff for research and other outreach activities. Lincoln University Farms Education Facilitator Lauren Roberts says ‘The environment and food has such an important connection to our wellbeing and brings people together. Getting the opportunity to learn and explore this relationship enables students to become engaged in this area and understand the importance of agriculture and the opportunity to be inspired to change the world.’

These initiatives allow CU members the incredible opportunity of viewing the behaviours of a wide range of animals from the comfort of their own home.