School-based international conservation education programme about albatrosses and petrels - just released to ACAP’s Educational Resources webpage

1 Logo school based international conservation education programme about albatrosses and petrelsThe logo for 'Albatrosses and Petrels: Conservation Education Programme for Primary Schools', created by Oxford Brookes University Masters student, Zoe Jacobs


An international conservation education programme about albatrosses and petrels has been released today as a freely downloadable resource under Educational Resources on the ACAP website. It includes materials for four separate lessons, covering the biology and ecology of albatrosses and petrels, each of their main threats and conservation actions. 

The programme, Albatrosses and Petrels: Conservation Education Programme for Primary Schoolshas been produced for use in primary schools (roughly for children aged 9-11) for four of ACAP’s Parties - United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - by aligning with their national school curricula, to assist in achieving Section 6 of ACAP’s Action Plan: Education and Public Awareness.

The programme was created by Zoe Jacobs as part of her MSc in Conservation Ecology at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. Zoe approached ACAP in January of this year with her idea and two requests: would ACAP be able to put her in touch with experts in Procellariiformes who could help review her programme, and could the programme be made available on the website once completed. 

Zoe Jacobs school programme creatorProgramme creator, Zoe Jacobs

In a Q & A for ACAP Latest News, ALN asked Zoe about the programme and how she came to create it. 

How did the idea for the programme emerge?

I developed an interest in marine ornithology during my MSc and chose to focus most of my research projects on threatened albatrosses and petrels and their habitats. My bachelor’s degree is in linguistics, and I believe this interest in language led me to become passionate about the importance of scientific communication, education and outreach as a tool for conservation. 

In studying the need for international cooperation for the conservation of migratory, transboundary taxa, such as albatrosses and petrels, I noticed a gap in the research surrounding conservation education for this type of taxa and decided to address it through the creation of this programme for my final MSc dissertation. 


Can you describe the experience of creating the programme? 

Creating this programme has been so interesting and fulfilling for me and I would like to extend a big thank you to all the international experts in education, seabird ecology and conservation - Dr Richard Phillips, Mariëtte Wheeler, Megan Tierney, Glenn Welch, instructors from Aves Argentina, and school teachers from across the world -  who have assisted me to determine the best practices for creating conservation education programmes about transboundary taxa. 


Who is the programme for?

The programme is designed for use by primary school educators in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These countries were chosen as they are four of the Parties to ACAP (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland form a singular party as the United Kingdom). It was created to align with the national curricula for the following grades of primary education, which roughly coincide with ages 9-11:

  • Australia: Year 5, Year 6
  • New Zealand: Level 3
  • South Africa: Grade 5, Grade 6
  • England: Year 5, Year 6
  • Scotland: Second Level
  • Wales: Progression Step 3
  • Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2

The programme integrates a number of curriculum subjects for each country. It aligns predominantly with topics in science, and therefore is recommended for use in science lessons. It also includes opportunities to develop mathematics and literacy (or English) skills, which are cross-curriculum values or skills for each country. Elements of social sciences, life skills and citizenship, performative and visual arts, design and technology, and digital or computing studies are also included. Specific curriculum connections for each country are provided in the Lesson Plans document of the programme.

 Peak BeaksA snapshot of 'Peak Beaks', a card game Zoe created which is inspired by the much-loved UK children's game, 'Top Trumps'

Why was the programme produced?

Global populations of albatrosses and petrels are rapidly declining, mostly driven by bycatch in commercial fisheries, climate change, introduction of invasive alien species to their breeding sites, and marine plastic pollution (Phillips et al., 2016). These human drivers of decline mean changing our behaviours is an essential part of the solution (CBD, 2020). This can be achieved through conservation education, which aims to increase knowledge and awareness of, and care for, the natural world, and providing the necessary skills to do so (Jacobson, McDuff and Monroe, 2015). The global, transboundary migration of albatrosses and petrels means international cooperation is required for their conservation. Under the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, the 13 Parties implement the Action Plan through legislation and conservation practices. One focus area of the Action Plan is Education and Public Awareness (ACAP, 2018) – therefore, conservation education for these seabirds should be effective on an international scale.

Educating children, as our future generations, on the importance of and threats to species is vital for long-term biodiversity conservation (Jacobson, McDuff and Monroe, 2015). However, countries vary in their academic standards and methods, meaning international conservation education programmes are currently few and far between. This resource seeks to address this gap by providing primary school educators, in seven different countries, with an educational programme that aligns with, and enriches, their national curriculum, using albatrosses and petrels as an important and topical case study for conservation.

The programme has six goals:

  • Support academic standards of each country as far as possible, aligning with curriculum topics and cross-curriculum values.
  • Teacher capacity: provide educators with sufficient resources to be able to effectively teach these lessons. As much as possible, enable them to deliver the lessons with comfort, passion, charisma and showing a high level of knowledge surrounding the subject.
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of students about threatened wildlife, focusing on albatrosses and petrels, their importance for us and the world, the threats they are facing and how these threats can be reduced.
  • Attitudes: by increasing knowledge and awareness and using affective (emotional) messaging, the programme aims to elicit wonder, excitement, interest, and empathy towards wildlife, focusing on albatrosses and petrels.
  • Skills: provide students with the skills to become responsible, caring global citizens who are able to protect the natural world.
  • Empowerment and self-efficacy: provide students with the knowledge and skills to believe they can become responsible global citizens who can make a difference in protecting the natural world.

 Lesson Titles 2The graphics for each of the Lesson presentations in the programme

What does the programme include?

 The programme provides materials to guide educators in delivering four separate Lessons:

  1. The life of a seabird
  2. Fishing and food webs
  3. Plastic pollution
  4. Climate change

Materials include:

  • Introduction and References documents, providing a background to the programme, printing instructions for the materials and references for the information and media used in the programme.
  • Lesson plans, including:
    • Overviews of curriculum connections, keywords, additional resources and time needed. Each Lesson requires a maximum of 60 minutes.
    • Step-by-step guidance for each Lesson. The Lessons include elements of teaching, discussion, games, and group research activities with opportunities for creating, presenting and performing.
    • At least one optional extension activity and homework per Lesson.
  • Presentations, coinciding with the Lesson Plans.
  • Fact File, providing information on the topics of each Lesson to guide the educator and students, definitions of keywords and other important vocabulary, and species profiles for 16 of the ACAP-listed albatross and petrel species that can be used as case studies in the Lessons.
  • Workbooks for students.
  • Peak Beaks seabird biology and ecology card game for Lesson 1.


Albatrosses and Petrels: Conservation Education Programme for Primary Schools is free to access and now available to download from Educational Resources under the World Albatross Day menu item on the homepage of ACAP's website, or here.

If you have any questions or feedback regarding the programme, please contact the ACAP Communications Advisor, Bree Forrer using the contact form.

The Agreement would like to thank Dr Richard Philips, Seabird Ecologist at the British Antarctic Survey and Co-convenor of the ACAP Populations and Conservation Status working group, and Mariëtte Wheeler, Zoologist and Life and Natural Sciences Educator at Protea Heights Academy in South Africa for assisting Zoe in the development of the programme.



Phillips, R.A. et al. (2016) ‘The conservation status and priorities for albatrosses and large petrels’, BiologicalConservation, 201, pp. 169–183. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2023).

CBD (2020) Aichi Biodiversity Target 1 and Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA). Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Available at: (Accessed: 21 June 2023).

Jacobson, S.K., McDuff, M.D. and Monroe, C.M. (2015) Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques. 2nd edn.Oxford University Press.

ACAP (2018) ‘Action Plan’, in Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels: Amended by theSixth Session of the Meeting of the Parties (Skukuza, South Africa, 7 - 11 May 2018). Skukuza, South Africa.Available at: s/file (Accessed: 21June 2023).


Note: An error was discovered in the 'Fact File' resource for the Black-browed Albatross where the ages for the 'First breeding age' and 'Generation length' were transposed. 'First breeding age' should be, 10 years old, with 'Generation length' as, 21.5 years old. If you downloaded the 'Fact File' before the 17 July (AEST) then please download the corrected version here,  

The Agreement apologises for the error and thanks the keen-eyed reader who spotted it.

14 July 2023 (updated 18 July)

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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