Unsung hero celebrated at shortlisted zoo

Unsung Hero Award nominee Paula Takle,

Unsung Hero Award nominee Paula Takle. - Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has been shortlisted for a tourism award and nominated for an unsung hero award for its work during the pandemic.

The award is for large visitor attraction of the year in the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards, a highly competitive award that the zoo won a silver for in 2021.

The award celebrates attractions that provide memorable visitor experiences and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of the business.

Larry Bush, managing director of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm,  said: “We are delighted to be short-listed for these awards. It’s an honour to be a finalist alongside some fabulous tourist destinations.

“It’s wonderful recognition for our dedicated team who have done such an outstanding job during another challenging year to welcome visitors to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and to ensure they have a safe, happy and inspiring day out.” 

In addition to this, the zoo’s education coordinator, Paula Takle, has also been nominated for the unsung hero award.

The award recognises an individual working in any aspect of a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. It celebrates individuals who continually go above and beyond, offering exceptional service to visitors.

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During Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Paula found new ways to engage the local community and school children by creating new and engaging educational activities for school children, such as virtual workshops involving videos of big zoo animals, activity booklets, quizzes, and games they could play at home.

She encouraged kids to write to the zoo, which she responded to individually to support their literacy skills.

Paula also set up virtual online zoo workshops bringing the zoo into individual homes and schools. These workshops have worked so well that the team have even accommodated an international class from Indonesia. Al Azhar 30 Islamic Primary School were very excited to learn more about the zoo's animals during their own national Covid-19 lockdown.

Paula said: “I’m shocked but very happy to have been shortlisted for this award. My aim during the pandemic was to continue to engage our community and provide educational and interactive experiences, during a time when other activities were being cancelled.

"Creating positive memories during an unsettling time was very important.”