SERRELL Street Kindergarten, member of the UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania cluster, recently caught the attention of keepers at Melbourne Zoo, who agreed to an exclusive web chat to show children its upgraded penguin enclosure.
The chat came after children from the kinder learned a fox had snuck into the penguin enclosure in November and killed 14 of the 29-strong colony.
Kindergarten director Kate Strongman said the children told teachers they wanted to do their bit to help keep the penguins safe.
“They were completely devastated,” Ms Strongman said.
“The children decided to draw pictures and made suggestions of how keepers could stop this from happening again. They came up with some clever suggestions and I was amazed at their abilities to convey such a strong message.”
Kindergarten staff sent the drawings to Melbourne Zoo, based in Parkville.Ms Strongman was stunned to receive a call from Tom, a Melbourne Zoo penguin keeper.
“He was so impressed with the children’s drawings and the fact they showed the initiative to address this tragic incident.” Ms Strongman said.
“He has organised a web chat with the children who got to see firsthand what they have done to make the penguin enclosure safe.”
During the web chat, zoo keepers were so impressed with the children they invited them to name a baby penguin. They agreed on the name ‘Pengi’ and will be kept up to date with Pengi’s development in coming months.
The surviving 15 penguins have since been sheltered in a secure area as their devastated keepers installed a new electric fence and inspected the zoo’s perimeter for entry points.
Ms Strongman said the children were very excited to be involved in the web chat. “I am so excited as their teacher – it’s simply brilliant that their voices have been heard,” she said.