About World War Zoo Gardens
World War Zoo Gardens
Newquay Zoo is remembering World War Two with its own wartime garden project.
World War Zoo launched on the 30th & 31st August 2009, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in September. The project focuses on how zoos and families survived shortages during the war and the role that zoos played when they reopened after initial closure.
The garden and blog won a BIAZA national zoo award for planting in November 2011.
Keep watching the blog and what’s on section www.newquayzoo.org.uk for more details.
Mark Norris, Head of Education explains: World War Zoo is about looking back and looking forward, learning from the past to prepare for our future. The project developed from a chance discovery that zoos were closed in the early weeks of World War Two, and struggled throughout. This was a time when food was short, and animals didn’t get ration books. Staffing was low with keepers being called up to fight, and repairs were difficult.
Today as an award winning Green Tourism Business, Newquay Zoo is tackling similar issues that the home front would have dealt with – rising fuel costs, recycling waste and thinking about future food sources. Our Wartime Garden project reflects the Dig for Victory gardens that sprang up in unlikely places all over the country, including zoos. It will also act as a living memorial to the bravery of many ordinary men, women and children.
Newquay Zoo already recycles, composts and think about food miles when sourcing food for the café, and now the Victory Garden will demonstrate how keepers would grow food for the animals.
Hopefully we’ll get a good crop each year before the weather turns. We have been tracking down wartime gardening and cookery books and they were surprisingly close to organic garden methods today. Some wartime varieties are hard to source today but this is very much a garden for the future with all the unpredictability of climate change to consider as well.’’
To bring the period alive for families and schools visiting the zoo, staff members have been collecting wartime memorabilia and evocative items from everyday life of keepers, families, evacuated children and zoo visitors. It is hoped that visitors will contribute their stories and experiences for the archive as they visit the zoo.
Newquay Zoo was the first attraction in Cornwall to win Gold accreditation in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS); a Europe-wide initiative recognising accommodation providers and visitor attractions that are taking action to support both the local area and the wider environment. For further information please visit http://www.green-business.co.uk
Zoos throughout the country were closed during the first few weeks of War in September 1939. However they were re-opened and supported as a way to boost morale.
Our World War Zoo project will be a practical living memorial, almost history that you can eat in the form of a wartime “dig for victory garden” being recreated at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. More news of this project follows over the next few postsas we prepare the ground and get planting.
Watch this space!
Mark Norris,World War Zoo Project team, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK
Note: The World War Zoo and Wartime Garden project links with UK government education initiatives on Sustainable Schools Initiative, School Grounds and Gardens, Healthy Eating, Every Child Matters, Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, the new primary school curriculum 2013.