An open afternoon held in the animal care department of the £86.5 million college campus in Gillingham was the first of its kind to have been organised especially for the college’s staff. The busy event, which was open to all MidKent College employees, marked the end of a major project designed to expand the college’s popular animal management facility to include a wider array of species.
Teaching and support staff from across the college jumped at the chance to take a look at the unusual new additions, which included a green-tree skink, a plated lizard, a Yemen chameleon, tokay geckos, crested geckos, rough green-tree snakes, an African pigmy hedgehog, ground squirrels, gofers and sugar gliders.
Animal collection coordinator, Jo Finch, was delighted with the turn-out: “The animal care team was on site every week over the summer preparing these rooms for the start of term, so this open event for staff has been all about marking the end of that project and giving our colleagues a chance to see how fantastic the facility now is.”
As well as touring the exotics and mammals rooms, the college’s 850 staff were also given a chance to look inside the department’s recently completed aquatics room. “Aquatics is a major part of the animal care industry and we desperately needed improved facilities for the rising number of students who want to specialise in this field,” explained Mrs Finch.
“Some people think aquatics is as simple as getting a bowl and putting a goldfish in it,” she continued. “However, it can be as complex and important as recreating an endangered reef and learning about the wildlife that lives within it. What’s more, it’s an extremely specialised industry, “she added. “Every tank is different, with its own salt levels, aeration levels and filtration needs. We’re thrilled that students can start benefitting from this new space immediately.”