The WNC Nature Center is continuously focused on the well-being of the animals in its care, along with creating more dynamic presentations for guests. Inspired by the many AZA institutions moving towards a hands-off animal program style, the Education Team created a portable, ecosystem-inspired presentation wagon to showcase ambassador animals in a more naturalistic setting.
By providing ambassador animals more choice in their environment, this allows for more natural movements and a greater diversity of behaviors to be showcased. Guests can see up-close the way Box Turtles explore their environment as they climb, burrow, or crawl through the assorted features of the program wagon. “This new presentation wagon benefits our animals and guests- we are truly excited for this enhancement,” said Eli Strull, Curator of Education.
The program wagon was designed and built at the WNC Nature Center and rolled out its debut in February 2023. The Education Team is currently creating two more program wagons for additional ambassador animals to be presented in this way. Just like a house, these carts are outfitted with “furniture” for the animal to thrive and interact with, and the WNC Nature Center needs your help stocking up on things like caves, plants, and driftwood. If you’d like to donate, please check out our Amazon Animal Wishlist.
Next time you’re visiting the WNC Nature Center, be sure to keep an ear open for program announcements over the intercom and join us for a fun and educational demonstration of our ambassador Box Turtles in their new digs!