The new Taronga Institute of Science & Learning is bringing science and learning together in a purpose built, centre of excellence that will be the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Through the Taronga Institute, Taronga hopes to shape the mindset of the next generation of conservationists and inspire them to action in order to achieve the vision of creating a shared future for wildlife and people.
Taronga is home to the largest Zoo-based conservation science team in Australia and has been running formal education programs for more than 40 years. The Taronga Institute, will provide students from preschool to PhD level with opportunities to study, explore and be inspired by Taronga’s growing team of scientists, researchers and wildlife field experts as they pioneer solutions to save species from the brink of extinction.
The Taronga Institute will feature five cutting-edge laboratories, one of which is a frozen zoo, which will preserve the largest collection of frozen coral cells from the Great Barrier Reef until they are needed to re-seed the reef.
The Taronga Institute boasts three living, immersive classrooms that mimic the geography and climate of different habitats, to be used by Taronga’s educators to run workshops for school groups.
These multisensory spaces are a blend of living animal habitat and classroom, designed to provide authentic learning experiences that align with curriculum priority areas.
The Taronga Institute will support the essential need for contextual STEM learning and, together with the wider Zoo sites, will provide authentic, interactive learning opportunities in an environment of working science.
In 2016, Taronga celebrated its Centenary and this occasion marked Taronga’s transformation into a global leader, working beyond traditional boundaries of a Zoo to be at the forefront of wildlife conservation.
The creation of the Taronga Institute is the latest chapter in Taronga’s transformation. As a not-for-profit, Taronga has an absolute commitment to the conservation of wildlife and its conservation science programs support ecosystems across the globe. This includes breed and release populations of threatened and priority species, field conservation and investing in habitat restoration and education programs.
Taronga Scientists also work with partner zoos and conservation organisations such as WWF and FFI to develop crucial protection, breeding and insitu-conservation programs for species reaching from Tasmania to the Congo.
The Taronga Institute will officially launch and open its doors to school groups in term 4, 2018.
Guest post by Lara Gallagher from the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Learn more about the Taronga Institute.