RZSS Wild Bus
RZSS celebrated its centenary 2009-10 and marked this by creating a unique free outreach education activity – the WILD BUS.
The bus (a converted and recycled 1975/6 double decker) set out with the objectives of reaching 100 schools, some in remoter parts of Scotland, to deliver hands-on rainforest focused lessons for all ages; and to raise the profile of RZSS in its centenary year.
The bus exceeded its target and reached 128 schools, and over 6000 children were directly involved (in some cases this meant the whole school). It also exceeded expectations by being able to deliver lessons across all of Scotland, including on the islands of Mull, Lewis and Shetland.
The project attracted the first ever large grant (£35,000) the Society has received from Scottish Government, as well as other support totalling approx £80,000. Additionally, the bus featured in 44 press articles from national to regional and local papers.
The operation of such a large scale and complicated outreach programme also enabled the development of staff skills, not least in organising the logistics, and also the employment of extra staff. Lessons learnt from this programme also contribute to the long term planning and development of outreach as one of the core educational outputs of the Society.
The Wild Bus has established RZSS as a leading conservation and science education provider for Scottish schools – no matter how remote or distant from our base in Edinburgh.