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.
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.
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.
the Wildlife Garden Picture
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
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
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.