Glasgow Zoo Park
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The Wildlife Garden for Teachers
An overlooked resource at the Zoopark is the Wildlife Garden. Designed and stocked to allow the visitor to observe a number of habitats (including water, meadow, wood, hedgerow and wall), the planting of the trees and shrubs was done to mimic the structure of a rainforest. Alder and Ash, only two feet apart, mean long thin trees with a thick canopy that blocks out the light. This creates a damp undergrowth with a luxuriant carpet of moss that is home to a variety of mini-beasts.

Outwith this area, seed bearing plants such as Dog-Rose, Hawthorn, and Blackberries mean a number of wild birds use the area for food and nest building, feeding off the constant supply of insects and spiders. The butterfly population is encouraged by the Buddleia (the only non-native plant in the garden) for food, and the Nettles which they need as food for their caterpillars. Our cold climate has meant adaptation for species such as the Small Tortoiseshell, which will hibernate in winter and the Red Admiral which has to migrate to the continent to survive.

In this rich environment, food webs and chains can be brought to life and there is a chance, with pond dipping, to allow your pupils to discover for themselves the wonder of the mini animal kingdom. Any dip will almost guarantee a Damselfly nymph, Water Scorpion. Leech, Water Spider, Snail, and Waterboatman. The occasional Stickleback, Frogs, Newts and Toads have all been seen over the year. A number of files in this pack relate to this area of study. One visit could supply your pupils with a terms worth of work! Using the garden in conjunction with the Zoo allows children to observe the five main vertebrate groups (Mammals, Fish, Birds, Amphibians and Reptiles), in addition to a selection of the invertebrates. The intense programme of planting in the garden, as well as the Zoopark, means children can see fine examples of Scottish Native trees such as Ash, Scots Pine, Oak, Poplar and Willow. The latter two are grown as a food crop for many of the herbivores in the zoopark and branches used for the reptile and bird enclosures.

Using the Wildlife Garden Picture

The picture can be used as a post-visit resource for this area. Labels have been omitted to allow you to make it age and ability appropriate.

The species are, in order from left to right, Ash, Alder, Buddleia, Blackberry and Nettles

The Woodcock is an example of a forest floor feeder, with the Thrush preferring berries or insects from the canopy. The terms Canopy, Shrub layer and Forest Floor could be used and there is space for the pupil to add some trees, shrubs or birds of their choice.

Note:- Ask about using the Wildlife Garden Hut with your class. There are keys available for the trees, shrubs and pond animals. The room also contains related interpretation material. The Tree Spotter file, showing leaves, is designed to be made into a spotter card for your visit to the zoo.