Ticking of the checklist even before the official start

Author: Constanze Mager (Burgers’ Zoo, Arnhem, The Netherlands)

Sometimes things turn to be out much more complicated and difficult to achieve than expected – and sometimes things work out much smoother than expected on the forehand! A nice example of this general rule in the songbird campaign context:

One possible way to spread the campaign message, so we discussed in the education preparation team, would be to get hobbyists like bird breeders  and other local bird clubs involved. Those people would could even be a key target group. As bird lovers they would care much more than average about the faith of tropical birds getting wiped out in Southeast Asia. Of course, that sounds logic and reasonable… but on the other hand: how many educators/communicators in zoos do already have warm bonds with local bird breeders, chicken fans or parrot lovers? We in Burgers’ Zoo don’t, to be honest. Nonetheless, on my ‘mental personal campaign bucket list’ I put: ‘hold at least one presentation for a local/regional bird breeders club; think about how to realize that later’.

Photo by Roland Wirth
Photo by Roland Wirth

Not having taken any action so far (‘later’ is of course a broad definition for a campaign running from September 2017 till 2019), on our monthly meeting one of my educational volunteer guides approached me. He had been asked by somebody he knows, who is member of a parrot breeder club… if he could give an evening presentation on parrots and other tropical birds of Burgers’ Zoo, next November. If that was ok with me, and if there already was a powerpoint presentation on that topic he could use? Ok? That’s more than ok with me! So I assured my volunteer colleague that he could of course confirm the presentation to the club; and that we would integrate the new EAZA songbird campaign in the talk. Additionally, the little donation he would receive for his talk would go to the campaign funds.  In my experience, a successful talk for one local department of a club often is the start for a whole series of requests for talks for groups in their network. The word will spread…  That target on my campaign bucket list can almost already be ticked off! Minor detail: in our campaign education preparation team’s list it up to me to prepare a standard powerpoint on the campaign as resource on the website! Just have to check with the team members whether we already agreed on a look and layout for that or not…