June 2021 Edition
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Bermuda Zoological Society Professional Development Workshop
Zoo to you!
Diving in the North Rock Tank
North Rock Snorkel Adventure
Garden Club Donation to BZS
BZS Virtual Lecture Series: Bottlenose Dolphins
Bermuda Zoological Society Professional Development Workshop
The Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) is very pleased to have received the support of the Centennial Foundation Committee through their grant for the funding of a recently delivered online workshop for 13 participants, representing 9 different Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). The workshop, which was coordinated by the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families, was developed in response to the Centennial Foundation’s request for BZS to show other NGOs how data measuring the effectiveness of their GASS (Generating Academic Success in Science) programme was obtained. 

The intent of this first one-day virtual workshop was to help establish relationships and collaborative networks among the participants, provide opportunities to learn as well as reflect on current practices, and to provide insight and support to others through brainstorming sessions. The workshop utilized applications such as Padlet, Nearpod, PowerPoint, and Zoom for break-out brainstorming sessions.
Dr Jamie Bacon, BZS Education Officer, presented on the BZS schools programme and the development of the GASS programme. Dr. Bacon explained that “to provide donors with the quantitative data they require, the BZS developed the GASS programme which includes both a pre- and post-assessment. Results from the assessments revealed a marked improvement in student assessment scores after they completed the GASS programme.”

BZS GASS topics include Pollination and Seed Dispersal for P5s, Food Chains for P6s and M1s, as well as Classification of Vertebrates and pH and Ocean Acidification for M1s. Further GASS topics are being developed for other year groups to complement the more than 25 Cambridge-linked biology and chemistry classes BZS currently offers to students in P1 through Senior School.

The “Gallery Walk” component of the workshop provided opportunities for participants to share challenges they face in meeting their organization’s goals; the subsequent collaborative brainstorm sessions allowed participants to give positive suggestions to other participants on what might help them meet their challenges in the future.

Dr. Stephanie Toro, of the Teacher’s Toolbox, provided instruction on learning objectives and constructive alignment. This session was very well received by the attendees, with some expressing the desire to learn more from her future workshops.

“At Inter Agency Committee for Children & Families (IAC) we believe that social sector organizations have so much to learn from one another,” said Nicola Paugh, Programme Coordinator, IAC. “IAC is committed to providing meaningful, relevant professional development opportunities that increase the use of evidenced-based best practices in Bermuda. We were excited to be able to partner with BZS and the Centennial Bermuda Foundation to make this training happen, at no charge to the participants, to help nonprofits enhance their programme design knowledge.”

It is anticipated that this workshop will be the first of a series that will delve into programme design, implementation, and evaluation.
Diving in the North Rock Tank
Joshua Dircks and Sian Frame were recently approved to dive in the North Rock exhibit at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.

To become a volunteer diver at BAMZ, applicants must first fill out a Bermuda Zoological Society volunteer application form, a medical form, as well as several waivers covering diving both on the facility and from the RV Endurance. They are also required to provide proof of being a certified diver and must have a certain number of independent dives completed.

Once their paperwork is received, they are invited to BAMZ where they are given verbal instructions on what is required of them before they are considered for the volunteer role. A typical volunteer dive day consists of 2 hours – one hour to set up and one hour of diving – so they are also asked to commit to at least 4 hours per month of volunteering before their assessment begins. The divers use equipment provided by BAMZ, but are asked to bring their own diving weights, suit and mask.
The BAMZ instructors test the volunteer divers in the same way they would be tested for scuba diving. On three different trips to the bottom of the tank, the divers are asked to complete an exercise:

  1. to remove their regulator, exhale and then put it back in their mouth.
  2. to remove their weighted belt and then to put it back on.
  3. to remove their mask and then to put it back on.

Another test for the volunteer divers is to swim around the North Rock tank. Although the volunteer may have several dives completed in an ocean setting, diving in the North Rock tank is very different because of the dense population of fish – a scale of which they would not encounter in the wild. Some volunteers become claustrophobic, so the BAMZ instructor monitors the volunteer’s comfort level carefully as they swim around exploring the tank. Once the divers have passed their assessment, they are assigned a task.

North Rock volunteers are brought on to assist with the maintenance of the tank. Their first task is to remove algae and serpulid worms from the wet side of the acrylic in the lagoon (the tank with the large fish) and the coral side (the tank with the smaller fish). As they become more comfortable, they are shown how to clear algae off the rocks in the tank, and when they are fully established divers, they assist with tumbling the sand in the lagoon.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer diver in the North Rock tank, please contact our Volunteer Officer at volunteer@bzs.bm for information on how to register!
Garden Club Of Bermuda Donates $10K To BZS
The Garden Club Of Bermuda has made a donation of $10,000 to the Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS] for their Trunk Island ‘Funding the Future’ project.

A spokesperson said, “Trunk Island, a living classroom educating tomorrow’s environmentalists, is the aim of Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS].

“In order to achieve this goal, Trunk Island is undergoing a complete restoration; eradicating invasive flora, planting endemics, reforesting with Bermuda Cedars, and conducting any other conservation-based activities. A cottage has also been transformed into a functional classroom.