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Taipei Zoo’s Spring Cultivation 2010, Farming for Eco Learning

Taipei Zoo held a “Planting for Water Bamboo, Farming for Eco Learning” event on April 23rd, a springtime activity aimed at enriching children’s knowledge about the growth process and the cultivation of aquatic crops water bamboo (Zizania latifolia) and paddy rice in their natural environment.

This event took place at the Ecology of Local Country Area inside the Children’s Zoo. The Children’s Zoo is an area designed to display the close relationship between man and animals, in addition to being a space for students, families and teachers to share experiences and learning together. Wetlands and ecological landscaping are the backdrops supporting the main attractions here -- farm animals, economic animals, pets and invasive species. The Wet Land Area, which concepts around the ponds and paddy fields typical to Taiwan, invites visitors to experience the ties between the wetlands and people’s livelihoods and culture. One of the main activities of the day – planting water bamboos, used tillers that came from SanZhi, a town famous for cultivating the finest quality water bamboos, whose stems are capable of reaching 7 to 9 inches. White and solid, succulent and tender, the locals call them “beauty stalks”. Although the water bamboo has “bamboo” in its name, it actually belongs to the “Poaceae” family, the same family as its close relative, the paddy rice! Many food items common to our daily diet such as rice and water bamboo are cultivated in wetland environments; you see how interconnected wetlands and humans are!

Students from WanXing Primary School of WenShan District transplanted the tillers and rice seedlings; and farmer Jiang QiZhu, gave a lecture about this aquatic plant and demonstrated the proper way of planting it. This was an event designed for urban kids to get a hands-on feel of the practicalities during busy farming season in the past, taking learning one step further than inside a classroom.