Wildlife Haven in Ile Des Chenes has been running its education program for over 25 years, visiting schools and community events, as well as welcoming visitors to their new site at the Murray Education Centre.
Executive Director Zoe Nakata explains something new they’re introducing to keep moving forward during the pandemic, a new kid series coming up on YouTube. 'We launched just this Saturday' she says. ' Basically, we're highlighting some of our Wildlife Haven ambassadors and patients, and just some interesting facts about their stories and their species. And we're doing it all in video format at a level where it'll be really engaging and interesting for kids."
Nakata explains further, 'we actually have the opportunity, with the Safe at Home Manitoba Grant from the Province of Manitoba, to create this mini-series where we could still have some of that fun and engaging learning for kids, but in a safe way... so delivering it virtually to their homes.'
When Wildlife Haven began to create the series, they quickly realized they had all the necessary ingredients close at hand. Nakata went on to say 'we've got the animals which are super fun to work with and that really comes off, you know, in an interesting manner on screen. In our team, we've got some really dynamic people, and content and information experts about these series. So, we really had everything that we needed to create this fun and actually pretty unique mini-series for kids.' Although rewarding, the project itself took some work. 'We partnered with a local video production company here in Winnipeg called Build Film, and we had worked with them multiple times in the last few years and always so happy to work with their team and the product that they deliver.' Nakata continues, 'It was really fun to work with them and their team to finish this mini-series and it's just really something we were able to truly utilize the expertise of both the Wildlife Haven and the Build Film teams. Together we created this project that we're actually very, very proud of.'
When asked if she was one of the presenters in the videos, Nakata replies 'I did a lot of the behind-the-scenes and so our host for the program is Dominique, one of our team members, she's the Development and Marketing Manager, and she'll be introducing the animals that we're going to be learning about that week. And then we've got Amy, who's our Education Program Manager, and she joins us during the live Q&A at the end to explain more about that animal, that ambassador."
Nakata continues 'we've got the whole Wildlife Haven team making sure that the animals are ready to be shot and we have all the technical information about them, and we've got a little segment in there to talk about what they eat when they're here at Wildlife Haven. So a lot of hands had to work together for this, and you'll see in the series that it really paid off.'
When describing the videos, Nakata refers to them as 'a mini-series that includes five episodes, so we're airing a new one every Saturday. The English airing is at 10:00 a.m. every Saturday until March 6th and it airs on YouTube, so you can search Wildlife Haven YouTube or specifically, That's So Wild YouTube channel, and so you'll get to see the episode at 10. That's directly followed by a live Q&A segment where people can actually text in their questions about the episode and we can delve a little bit deeper about either that specific animal or their species and then something a little bit unique. We have the complete French version as well, called Nature en Folie and that is airing at 11 on YouTube, followed by a French Q&A.'
What animals will be featured in the series? Nakata outlines 'this coming weekend we're going to learn all about pelicans. We've got two pelican patients that are actually spending the whole winter here at Wildlife Haven, so we get to see them, meet them, learn what they love to eat, and learn a whole bunch about their species. And then after that, we've got a feature on our turkey vulture ambassador. We're going to learn all about baby beavers and how they interact with our staff here at Wildlife Haven. And then we finish off with my personal favourite, which is owls. So, we'll get to meet a whole, nice variety of different animals and they're all on-site here at Wildlife Haven.'
Once you find the Wildlife Haven channel on YouTube, you’re encouraged to subscribe to ensure you catch all future videos.