BC: Rebecca Wilcox Johns Hopkins University Educational Programming Prof: KrisWetterlund
FC: Giraffe Feeding at The Living Desert
1: The Living Desert, in Palm Desert, CA, is the Coachella Valley's only zoo and botanical garden. It houses over 500 desert-dwelling animals from both North America and Africa. The Living Desert hosts a daily giraffe feeding program at 10:00am during the high season, and 9:00am during the low season. The program provides visitors of all ages to get up-close and personal with these amazing, massive creatures. The program allows The Living Desert to create unique opportunities and memories for visitors while educating them about the unique adaptations of this animal. | The Living Desert's mission is "desert conservation through preservation, education, and appreciation (About Us, 2010)." | Program Overview
3: The Giraffes!
4: The Giraffe Feeding program is led by Living Desert volunteers, usually 3 to 4. When there are large crowds one animal keeper is present to aid the volunteers. | Program Leaders!
5: One volunteer works directly with visitors and the giraffes to ensure visitors feed the giraffes properly. Another volunteer controls the crowd and discusses various facts about the giraffe. The last volunteer mans the "touch cart" (right) with various items for visitors to pick up and examine more closely.
7: Materials: The only material for this program are the giraffe's biscuits. Volunteers bring about 3 tupperware bowls of the biscuits for each feeding. As this is the only material needed, the cost forthis program is very low, but the impact is really high.
8: That's me feeding the newest member of the family, a calf named Manaji, which means leaves/foliage in Swahili. At 8 months old, he is over 8 feet tall and nearly 400 pounds! | Above is my boyfriend feeding the female, Hesabu | Audience!
9: These photos demonstrate the variety of audience members this program attracts. Above you can see two young mothers holding their toddlers. To the right you can see a group of older women participating. Bingmann, Grove, and Johnson note that focusing on intergenerational and hands-on learning is essential to attracting a broad range of groups to museum programming, which ithis program obviously does (2009, 76)..
11: Eyes on the side, likes to hide! Eyes in front, likes to hunt! | The Living Desert uses this program to spread awareness of the current state of giraffes in the wild (endangered in Uganda) and their conservation status. They also teach about the giraffe's adaptations to living in the desert, and general information about their habitat and lifestyle.
12: Above you can see how this exhibit's setup is highly accessible for this program, even for toddlers. Volunteers hand biscuits (balls of hay) to visitors to feed the giraffes. | The Setting
13: The Living Desert recently opened a new feeding area. The keepers and volunteers like this new setup because it keeps the main viewing area clear for other visitors. Many visitors that have used this new setup dislike it because it is more difficult for children to feed the giraffes, and it doesn't subtly create a line for participants; many visitors simply step in front of others who are waiting. | Photo from of The Living Desert's Facebook page.
14: Above is a photo of the daily program schedule for The Living Desert. These are distributed to every visitor when they enter the zoo. Cashiers and volunteers also actively talk with visitors to inform them of the upcoming programs and volunteers are available to guide them to the program area. In the last month, The Living Desert has mounted a new promotion strategy in order to increase awareness of the zoo and its offerings, "persuade consumers of the superiority of the offerings," and to "establish a relationship with the client" (Colbert 2008, 122). | Marketing!
15: Advertisements can be heard daily on various radio stations, and a variety of commercials have been released. Almost every advertisement features the giraffe feeding program. The advertisement to the left can be seen in the local paper, on the local paper's website, and the website of several local news stations.
16: The End
17: References: | Colbert, F. (2008). Program Marketing. In Carpenter, G., Blandy, D. E.(Eds), Arts and cultural programming: a leisure perspective (pp. 111-125). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Johnson, A., Bingmann, M., & Johnson, A. (2009). Families and More: Intergenerational Learning. In Johnson, Huber, Cutler, Bingmann, & Grove (Eds.), The museum educator's manual: educators share successful techniques. (pp. 75-86). Lanham: Altamira Press. The Living Desert - Zoo and Botanical Gardens - Our Mission - Palm Desert / Indian Wells - Coachella Valley, California,. (n.d.). Palm Springs & Palm Desert's only Zoo and Botanical Garden - The Living Desert - Palm Desert California.. Retrieved April 13, 2011, from http://www.livingdesert.org/mission.html