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Monday, 26 September 2011

BIAZA Conference

Last week I attended a conference for Zoological horticulturists. The main reason for attending the event was to give a presentation on Myddelton House Gardens followed by a tour of the gardens highlighting the restoration work as well as the horticultural practices we undertake in the garden. I was sent the full programme of the conference a few days before and realised that there was a great benefit for me if I was able to attend. I was delighted that this was possible.

The organisation that has put on the conference is the British and Irish Association of Zoo and Aquariums (BIAZA). For details please click on the link below. They hold a conference within the UK annually open to all zoological gardeners. This year it was held at Paradise Wildlife Park Broxbourne, up the road from Myddelton.

A view from the Lunch table!

I thoroughly enjoyed the two days of the conference with presentations on subjects from alien aquatic species to which tender plants you can select for our climate.

Alister introducing the East Gardens - Hatfield House

Vegetable Garden - Hatfield House

Hatfield House Maze

The conference proved a great source for sharing horticultural practices as well as networking with fellow professional horticulturists from zoos such as Paignton, Chester Edinburg, Bristol etc. Following the first day I returned that evening to attend a BBQ at Paradise Wildlife Park. Part of the evening was spent experiencing some of the park and the animals. We were allowed to feed Meerkats and Lemurs. The highlight for me, however, was watching the visual health check of a White Lion. The keeper Aaron used fresh meat to position the 35 stone lion at the optimum place against the enclosure fence. Although we were separated by a fence, we were all affected every time the lion roared - well every one but Aaron. What an experience!

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