Tails From The Zoo

Assiniboine Park – Naturally Educational September 29, 2010

Do you remember the first time you visited Assiniboine Park, the Zoo or the Conservatory? For a child, the thrill of a trip to the park, with its gardens, galleries, playgrounds, riparian forest, animals and open fields, is hard to forget. Assiniboine Park has dedicated itself to providing students of all ages with the highest quality environmental education programs in the province so those memories can continue.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is Manitoba’s premiere location for animal based education. The Zoo’s Education Centre is designed to promote the concepts of endangered species and wildlife conservation through public education and hands-on, interactive learning. The Pavilion Gallery and Leo Mol Sculpture Garden are first-class locations for art education. The Assiniboine Park Conservatory is one of the most unique plant-based teaching facilities in Manitoba. The extensive living classrooms – the Herb Garden, the Abilities Garden, the English Gardens, the Tropical Palm House and Floral Display Atrium – provide a dynamic year-round setting for exciting lessons. And as always there are acres upon acres of natural beauty that Assiniboine Park freely offers to you to help green your mind, body and soul.

We specialize in walking and trolley tours along with one-of-a-kind programs and workshops on a huge range of themes. Bring your class or group to explore the wonders of the plant and animal worlds and explore the wonderfully expressive worlds of art and sculpture, food and cuisine, music and literacy while you’re here. We incorporate learning outcomes of Manitoba Education Citizenship and Youth curricula in science, social studies, language, recreation and the arts for pre-school to Senior 4 but you can also just come for the fun. A wide variety of teaching strategies are used to connect with many different learning styles from the naturalist to the interpersonal.

We are rededicating Assiniboine Park to providing programming that will create a lasting appreciation of the natural world and to inspire children to get out and be active all months of the year. Parents, teachers and group leaders can relax, knowing that the children are in a safe, playful environment with skilled instructors who truly enjoy working with young people.

Watch for our new Assiniboine Park Programming brochure, detailing all of our new and re-envisioned program options. We are excited about the many subtle and significant transformations that Assiniboine Park is undergoing and we welcome you to experience them with us.  Visit www.assiniboinepark.ca for a preview of our redevelopment.

Let your imagination run wild!

Scott Gray, Director of Park Programming

 

New Nature Playground For Park June 5, 2010

Filed under: Assiniboine Park,Exhibits,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 10:37 pm
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Assiniboine Park, at a unique sand-turning, announced further funding and the beginning of construction of a fantastic new nature playground. Along with an expanded duck pond, this free family fun area will be a world class attraction for Manitobans for years to come.

Nature Playground "Sand-Turning"

Read more about yesterday’s exciting news …

Winnipeg Sun: http://www.winnipegsun.com/news/winnipeg/2010/06/04/14266886.html

Steven Fletcher (MP for Charleswood, St James, Assiniboia): http://www.stevenfletcher.com/EN/3519/113550

Assiniboine Park Press Release: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/newsletter

 

Transition to Assiniboine Park Conservancy May 17, 2010

Welcome to the new world of the Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Zoological Society of Manitoba!

Why are we emphasizing the words – new world? Well, as the media has so enthusiastically reported over the past 12 months, there has been so many exciting announcements about major and significant improvements to our zoo and the Assiniboine Park overall we are quite literally on our way to a new world-class zoo!

As we have reported over the past number of years, the excitement of the transition of the Zoological Society of Manitoba into the new Assiniboine Park Conservancy is happening.  With that comes the realization of the development of a master plan for the entire park including the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

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In fact, under the leadership of the Board of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and in cooperation with the Zoological Society of Manitoba in the last year over $30,000,000 has been raised for our Zoo and is now being put towards:

Arctic Exhibit –  world-class polar bear habitat and observation exhibit

International Polar Bear Conservation Centre – a unique polar bear conservation and research facility

Steller’s Sea Eagle Enclosure – one of the world’s largest exhibit for one of the world’s largest eagles

Lion Enclosure – we are bringing lions to our Zoo to provide our visitors the opportunity be upfront and close to the King of the Jungle

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This is just the beginning! With the transition of the role of the Zoological Society of Manitoba into the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in 2010, our Zoo is on course to becoming the jewel of Manitoba and North America once again!

Furthermore, our members will now have not only the benefits the Zoological Society of Manitoba has provided in the past, but will now be a part of the exciting new world of the entire Assiniboine Park!

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The Board and Staff of the Zoological Society of Manitoba have been involved in assisting the Assiniboine Park Conservancy Board and management with the planning and transitional activities associated with the Park overall.  Our commitment to the success of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy has been reflected in turn with the exciting opportunity to work with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in planning how the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be shaped through significant capital investment into the future.

The time has now arrived for our zoo!  All of these significant improvements and announcements of capital for our Zoo have only occurred due to the creation of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy which includes the plan for the Zoological Society of Manitoba to transition all our operations and assets into the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in 2010.

The Board of Directors of the Zoological Society of Manitoba have worked in cooperation with the City of Winnipeg and the Assiniboine Park Conservancy Board and Management to ensure this transition occurs in the best interest of our Zoo, Members and Staff.  We are confident that the future of our zoo has never been brighter in its 100+ year history.

So please join us at our Annual General Meeting on June 21, 2010 to come and see all the new exciting activities happening at our Zoo and how the new Assiniboine Park Conservancy is going to be our future together.

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On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to personally thank:
All of our Society Staff and the Assiniboine Zoo management and staff, Event volunteers, Assiniboine Park Conservancy Board and Management, Assiniboine Park non-profit partners, City of Winnipeg, City Council, and most importantly our Members for their incredible commitment and our collective goal in2010 and onward as we help the Assiniboine Park Conservancy in its success in making the Assiniboine Park Zoo achieve its full potential into the future.

Mike Stevens, President
Zoological Society of Manitoba

 

Million $ Announcement for Assiniboine Park April 23, 2010

Filed under: Assiniboine Park,Exhibits — Scott Gray @ 11:02 am
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Hartley Richardson, Chair of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors, along with park staff and management were on hand this morning to hear Charleswood MP Steven Fletcher and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz announce new funding.

A little more than $4.6 million will be going to spruce up the children’s play area at Assiniboine Park, along with the ever popular skating pond. Plans call for landscaping, water and sand play areas and tree forts. The Duck Pond will also be expanded for skaters and a naturalized wetland system in summer months.

Fletcher said Ottawa is contributing $1 million towards the renewal project.

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“It will be a magical place,” said city businessman Hartley Richardson.

Work is to start immediately on the Assiniboine Park projects, Richardson said. “It’s a real shot in the arm,” he said of the funding.  “We won’t let you down.”

To read more on the projects, please visit: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/mnufuture-vision

 

(Woody) The Pileated Woodpecker April 17, 2010

Filed under: Birds,Zoo Animals,Zoo Knew — Scott Gray @ 8:54 pm
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Chris Reid and I talked about the pileated woodpecker last Sunday on Zoo Knew (Sundays at 7:15 am on CJOB AM)

  • The pileated woodpecker, made famous by inspiring the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker, is Canada’s largest and North America’s second largest woodpecker species.
  • Pileated woodpeckers range is length from 40 – 50 cm (16 to 19.5 in), with a wing length of 68 – 76 cm.
  • Pileated woodpeckers are mostly black when at rest but show a burst white underwings when in flight.
  • The sexes are similar in appearance, although the males have a larger red crest and a red moustache.

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  • The pileated woodpecker is an uncommon species, found in coniferous, mixed and hardwood forests. It prefers dense, mature forest but has begun to frequent woodlots in the past couple of decades.
  • Pileated woodpeckers excavate characteristically oval holes in trees to find ants and other wood-boring insects (and their larvae). They will also eat berries and nuts.

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  • The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is related to other Manitoba woodpecker species like the more common yellow-bellied sapsucker, the downy woodpecker, the hairy woodpecker, the red-headed woodpecker and the northern flicker.

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For more on some of the wonderful birds that can be seen (wild) at the Assiniboine Park, please visit: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/index.php?option=com_birds&task=birds&Itemid=12

To hear this woodpecker’s call, please visit: http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/media/birds/P/Pileated%20Woodpecker.mp3

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Compiled by Scott Gray with references from Peterson Field Guides (Eastern Birds), Manitoba Birds (Andy Bezener & Ken De Smet), and The Field Guide to the Birds of North America (National Geographic Society).

 

Woodpeckers January 27, 2010

Filed under: Birds,Zoo Animals — Scott Gray @ 2:23 pm
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The Canadian Wildlife Federation recently announced that of the 14 species of woodpeckers in Canada, four are listed as “at-risk nationally”. Twelve are listed as “at-risk” in at least one province. Woodpeckers and other birds are facing a series of pressures on their populations including pesticide use (which poisons their prey), competition from starlings for nesting sites, climate change and loss of standing dead trees (or dead parts of living trees).

Here is some great information on how to help backyard birds survive the winter from Canadian Wildlife Federation’s backyard habitat program.

Sunflower seeds will attract purple finches, cardinals, goldfinches, grosbeaks, juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, and many other birds. Black oil sunflower seeds are especially good due to their higher oil and calorie content. There are also plenty of commercial birdseed mixes available, but be aware that mixes containing a high proportion of ingredients such as hulled oats, rice, peanut hearts, corn and wheat can bring in pests such as pigeons, starlings and house sparrows. Suet provides a high-energy food source for woodpeckers, nuthatches and other insect-eating birds, helping them survive the harsh winter season. Just don’t leave it out in warmer weather; one study showed that partially melted fat caused problems for woodpeckers, causing matting and a loss of facial feathers. Do not put out salty, mouldy, or sugary foods.”

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If you would like to see a woodpecker at the zoo, we have a pileated woodpecker that lives with two Steller’s jays next the Native Bird Building.  You can also see downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers in Assiniboine Park and Forest. For a full list of birds in Assiniboine Park, CLICK HERE.

 

Grandparent’s Day at Assiniboine Park September 6, 2009

Join us on Sunday, September 13 for a park-wide celebration of grandparents. Here’s our Grandparent’s Day Activity Schedule:

Assiniboine Park Zoo – Open 10a to 4p
Free Zoo Admission to grandparents accompanied by grandchild
10:30a – Dedication of Polar Bear statue in front of the bear exhibits
11a to 1p – Free coffee or tea at the Animal Tracks Café for Grandparents
11a to 12p – Join us for cake at the Animal Tracks Café
11a to 2p – Free Trolley Tours for Grandparents when accompanied by paying grandchild
11a to 4p – Free interpretative talks
11a to 3p – Grandparents membership special
10a to 4p – Receive a Debby magnet or paperweight with any purchase of $20 or more at the Zoo Gift Shop

Leo Mol Sculpture Garden – Open 11a to 5p
1p; 2p; & 3p – Tours of Gallery, Schoolhouse Studio and the grounds of the Garden
Grandparents with a grandchild receive a package of Leo Mol Art Cards (value $7) while quantities last.

Pavilion Gallery Museum – Open 10a to 5p
Grandparents with a grandchild will receive a Pavilion Gallery Museum catalogue (value $15) while quantities last.

Conservatory – Open 9a to 4p
Conservatory Palm House self guided scavenger hunt maps
10a to noon – Conservatory bouquet making
Noon to 2p – Abilities Garden demonstration and samples from the “Pizza Garden”