Haley Keast - Educator
I'm an educator at Hamilton Zoo. This involves the organisation of school group visits, education events, developing teaching resources and spending time with the many students that visit us.
After finishing my teaching degree and teaching in a local primary school for three years I headed off to the UK and Canada for seven years. During my time overseas I taught in a number of schools before settling for a job as a behaviour professional. I travelled to numerous countries, experienced other cultures and explored the wilderness in Canada.
Back in NZ I returned to classroom teaching where I took a particular interest in environmental education and loved sharing what I learnt with my students. After three years, I decided to leave the classroom and follow my passion of inspiring students and teachers in conservation.
The best thing about my job is every day is different. I love that although I am mainly based inside I have the opportunity to immerse myself in the aviary, listen to the siamang call and engage with the public. My least favourite part of the job - paperwork! I would love to spend the whole day with the school groups that come in. I love the energy the students bring with them on their trips and love listening to the many things that they have learnt on their learning journey.
Choosing a favourite animal at the zoo is difficult as they all have their own personalities and qualities. If I had to choose one it would be the giraffe. I enjoy watching them bounce their way with their long legs and neck, down the race into the savannah first thing in the morning.
One of my most memorable memories during my time at Hamilton Zoo was just before I started. I was asked to bring a large papermache globe to the zoo for World Earth Day with my students. The globe was filled with enrichment and given to the chimps. It was amazing to watch the chimps personalities come alive when they encountered this globe in their enclosure. It was this event that really showed my students the value of enrichment for all animals at the zoo and is definitely one of my favourite topics to teach.