Category — Zoo Academy
Guest blogger: Jaelynn Wright, Zoo Academy Senior
Hi, my name is Jaelynn Wright and I’m a student it the Zoo Academy.
My time in the Zoo is really awesome and I just love it. Every day I am ready for a new day in my lab. Since I am a senior, it’s much different from being a junior. I remember when I started the Zoo Academy one day and it was my last day working in with the cheetahs. Well, me and my classmate were cleaning the cages and the keepers came in and told us that some kids were here on a field trip and that they were putting on a show for them, so we were allowed to watch the show. Now I’ve really never been up close and personal to a cheetah, so I was all happy outside and scared inside. The keepers let Tommy (one of the cheetahs) into the yard and he ran like he had never been outside. Afterwards, he came up and sat right next to me. I even touched his head and I couldn’t help but grin like a little kid on their birthday.
Now I’m in the Education lab in the afternoon. I get to socialize with animals, give my advice in the meetings and just have fun. I meet new people. The latest animals I have socialized with were the opossums and the baby screaming hairy armadillos. They’re so small and so cute, and the way they moved in my arms was really cute. I have to pay really close attention to their behavior because we want them to feel safe around people they don’t know. They really like me and they have grown to trust me to take them to people who won’t hurt them.
I’m so glad I get to be a student at the Zoo Academy!
November 2, 2012 1 Comment
Guest blogger, Emily Benjamin, a Zoo Academy senior:
By Emily Benjamin
This year the Zoo Academy has gone through a lot of changes and it has been an adjustment for us students. Last year, we reported to the Zoo Academy and were released from the Zoo Academy. This year we spend half of our day at the Zoo Academy and half of our day at Hughes STEM High School. For juniors, you report to the Zoo Academy and are bused to Hughes. Seniors are reversed. This is because we have one less teacher here than last year due to financial reasons. She was moved to Hughes and we take our Math and English courses there now.
For someone who experienced the program last year, it’s been tough to adapt. Even though it’s changed, the best parts are still the same. We still get hands on experience with the animals and experience in a work place (unconventional as it may be). We still work hard for the Zoo and it still is just as rewarding.
For example, I worked in the Primate Center for my first animal lab. It was probably one of the worst to start off with because I hadn’t really gotten used to the smell of the Zoo (now I can identify most departments from smell alone). Though it was hard work, it was also lot of fun. We popped popcorn for the gorillas and we’d give them raisin boards as enrichment. A raisin board is a small piece of very thick plastic with small holes drilled in them. We would push raisins into the holes for the gorillas to dig out. One time we even made sacks of hay, popcorn and other vegetables. We left them in the gorilla yard and Ron Evans, the lead keeper, shifted the gorillas into the yard. It took them less than five minutes to find each one and tear it apart. So much for all of our hard work.
Cat Show was also a great lab to be in. I’ve always loved cats and so it was like a dream come true. I loved working around the cheetahs and the dogs. They were total sweethearts. Quilliam, the adorable porcupine, and the common housecats didn’t hurt either. I like small cats better than large cats with a few exceptions. I even own a cat myself. Anyway, one of the highlights of this lab was the time I came in on a Saturday morning to make up hours and I got to pet Tommy T the cheetah. It was a lot more relaxed and there was a very interesting story that day.
Another note, the animals aren’t always the highlight of my time in each lab. Sometimes the keepers make it a great lab to be in all on their own. Some of them have cool stories to share or maybe they’re just extra enthusiastic about their jobs (after all, being a zoo keeper is cool). I’ve had just as many good experiences with the people as I’ve had with the animals.
So yes, the Zoo Academy has changed but it isn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be. I still go to lab and just last week I was socializing a mini-Juliana pig. A few weeks ago I worked with Bonnie, the screaming hairy armadillo. Today I get to write about the Zoo Academy for the blog. Isn’t that exciting? I’m still learning and loving animals more and more.
September 7, 2012 No Comments
Guest blogger – Emily Gross, Zoo Academy student:
I have often been told that finding a job doing something you love is very difficult, especially in this economy. However, I refuse to spend my life not pursuing something I love. For this reason I chose to combine my two passions: animals and writing. This combination led to the idea of creating a Zoo Academy Newspaper.
Overall, the original goal was to simply have a senior capstone project. However, the school newspaper has somewhat turned in to my baby. I really enjoy finding interesting topics to write about for the students, and I love the idea of staying connected with former Zoo Academy students.
We, as students, often forget that a lot of people around the Zoo were once just students themselves. They have great stories to tell, and a lot of information to share. This is what gave me the idea for my Zoo Academy Then and Now piece. Although I didn’t get too many written replies from the busy keepers, I got to hear a lot of funny stories that I probably would have never heard before.
That is what I like most about this project, it forces me to delve deeply into some areas of the Zoo that I never would have paid any attention to before.
My first piece was a small newsletter, which was basically just an introduction done on Adobe InDesign. My second piece was actually the first edition of The ZA Today, the small school newspaper. This first edition featured stories written by Thane Maynard, students, one of my teachers, and myself. This came with a lot of help from various keepers around the Zoo as well.
I am now working on the second and “my” final edition of The ZA Today. I am hoping that one of the juniors from this year will take the challenge and continue my project in to next year. As for me, I am hoping to continue writing in college as well as pursuing field biology.
Read the ZA Today newsletter here. I hope you enjoy it!
March 22, 2012 No Comments