Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) yesterday led a group of schoolchildren in picking food from the Hsinchu Zoo forest garden to feed the zoo’s Barbados blackbelly sheep.
The nation’s first forest garden zoo aims to bring children closer to nature and teach them about life, Lin said.
Students from Hsinchu Elementary School hand-picked sweet potato leaves from the food forest and were taught by zoo staff how to feed the sheep, the Hsinchu City Government said.
Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times
For many of the children, it was their first experience of preparing food, which the city said it hoped would help them gain a deeper respect for natural resources.
The forest garden is open to reservation by schools in Hsinchu County to promote environmental and ecological awareness, and nurture a correct and proper attitude toward animals and nature among children, it said.
Hsinchu Zoo is being renovated and is to reopen to the public on Dec. 28, it said.
Renovating the zoo and establishing the food forest are part of efforts to bring back nature to the city, Lin said.
The project would not only help feed animals at the zoo, but also provide an excellent place to educate children and young people about nature, Lin added.
Having children participate in planting and caring for trees, as well as learning how to reuse and recycle resources, would instill in them the right attitude toward animals and the environment in their everyday life, the city said.
The city government would promote cross-bureau collaborations on the project, such as having the Environmental Protection Bureau arrange guides for eco-tours, while the Bureau of Education would encourage local schools to visit the zoo and its forest garden, Lin said.
The forest garden covers 310 ping (1,025m2) and will have more than 80 kinds of fruits, plants and crops, the Environmental Protection Bureau said.
Unlike the food forests at Mackay Memorial Hospital’s Hsinchu Branch and the Food Forest Library near Jiangjun Village (將軍), the zoo forest garden will focus on promoting environmental education for schools and feeding animals at the zoo, it said.
Multigrain and grazing grass would also be grown for the project, and falling leaves would be collected and deposited for composting, it said.
“We hope to present, as much as possible, an entirely natural ecology and habitat for animals,” it said.
Feeding animals is prohibited unless visitors to the zoo take the prerequisite special course on animal feeding, it added.
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