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Category — Cat Canyon

An Experience like No Other: the Zoo Academy Story

Guest Blogger: Zoo Academy Senior, Sarah Franklin

To start off, my name is Sarah Franklin.  I’m a Zoo Academy student here at the Cincinnati Zoo, and I love every minute of it. The Zoo Academy is a branch of Hughes STEM High School, and is offered to anyone who attends.

Here’s a bit of my story on how I ended up here:

I was raised on a farm, not too far from Cincinnati, but in a small town that you’ve probably never heard of before. Growing up, my family and I had an array of animals on our farm. I used to love to go out with my father in the mornings or evenings to feed the animals. Any opportunity I had to go out with him, I’d jump right into my muck boots, (that came higher than my knees), throw on my coat or jacket, depending on the temperature, and run out right behind him. Some of my favorite memories from my hometown were right out on that farm with him.

Here I am as a toddler on my Dad's farm.

Here I am as a toddler on my Dad’s farm.

At about the age of fourteen when my dad got remarried, I had the opportunity to move to Cincinnati and change schools. I wasn’t particularly happy with my current school system, so I began to research about public schools in Cincinnati. During one of my searches, I came across Hughes High. They talked a lot about pathways on their website, and featured a pathway they called: (you guessed it) The Zoo Academy! I called up the next day to learn more about it, and actually spent time talking to Glen Schulte, who is now my current teacher. I fell in love the minute I learned about this amazing opportunity, and decided that this was where I wanted to start my new beginning. We packed up and moved soon after and that began my story here, at my favorite place on Earth.

In my Zoo Academy uniform

In my Zoo Academy uniform

The Cincinnati Zoo and Hughes High School have become second homes for me. I have had experiences here that I could experience nowhere else.  I became a strong leader within my school, and the biggest Big Red Athletics fan they’d ever seen. Actually, this year, (my SENIOR year), I was recorded as the first girl in Big Red history to score points for the Hughes Football team. I even did a radio interview about it. That was an experience within itself, and I am so fortunate to have been a part of that.

Here I am in my football gear with my littlest fan.

Here I am in my football gear with my littlest fan.

Here at the Zoo, I do daily work with the keepers, animals, and currently the wonderful staff within the Education Department. Some of my favorite animal encounters have been during these last two years, having the opportunity to work with animals that range from insects to elephants. One of my favorite experiences was working with the cougars this past fall while in the Night Hunters department at the Zoo. I also met the love of my life here at the Zoo, a hyacinth blue macaw named Azul at the Bird House. I’ve enjoyed every lab I’ve participated in, and learned so much from the staff here. It is really an experience that is like no other, because the Cincinnati Zoo is the only zoo in the country that allows high school students to participate in labs and work alongside keepers on a daily basis.

Here I am with the love of my life, Azul.

Here I am with the love of my life, Azul.

In the upcoming future I plan on attending the University of Cincinnati and continuing on my story here at the Cincinnati Zoo. I feel as though my experiences here at the Zoo aren’t ready to come to an end yet, so I hope I am able to continue on here after I graduate, whether it is as a volunteer or even a paid staff member. I love it here at the Zoo, and though this may not be where my career path ends, it is definitely a place that I would hope for it to begin. Thanks so much for reading my story!  If you ever see me around the Zoo, stop me and ask any questions you’d like!

Best Wishes, Sarah.

November 20, 2013   11 Comments

A.D.O.P.T. In YOUR classroom!

Guest blogger:  Crissi Lanier, Interpretive Media Intern

A.D.O.P.T. in YOUR classroom!!

As the time of starting back to school approaches, I have a fun idea for your classroom that was a lot of fun in mine!  I’m the Assistant Coordinator and Toddler Teacher at the Children’s Center.  My friend/co-teacher and I work with children 18 months to 3 years old.  We’re always trying to come up with ways to bring the outside world in and encourage learning about any topic they are interested in.  We learned quickly that almost all of these kids love the Zoo.  Even if they don’t visit often, they are still excited to tell about their animal adventures, favorite sights and sounds and even how much they love the train ride!

This past year we decided as a classroom to A.D.O.P.T. Joseph the cougar. Each family was asked to donate $1, which went to the cost of the adoption.  We explained to the children during group time about how the money helps the Zoo care for the animals like feeding the cougars, as well as providing enrichment (e.g. toys) and medication when needed.  These are things that two-year-olds understand and they were excited to “help take care of Joseph”.  We also created the poster below that hung in the classroom with our adoption certificate, as well as pictures of Joseph for the kids to look at.

Joseph adoption poster in classroom

Joseph adoption poster in classroom

They were so excited to tell us when they had visited the Zoo over the weekend and if they saw Joseph or not.  It was a simple but ongoing lesson of caring for animals and having a feeling of responsibility towards this cat, and in turn broadening their view of the world. They would say it was “their Joseph” with great pride when they saw him at the Zoo.

Joseph the cougar

Joseph the cougar

So as this new school year approaches, I encourage you to incorporate A.D.O.P.T. in your classroom at any level from Pre-K to high school.  There are so many lessons that can be incorporated in to this process ranging from basics of size and touch, to more in-depth lessons such as adaptations and habitat loss.  It also encourages responsibility for the animals and a sense of pride of the Zoo and the animals that live there.  Most importantly, it helps the Cincinnati Zoo care for these animals and encourages the students and their families to visit when possible. It may even inspire students to become more actively engaged and to include their families in their animal stories and actions.

Telling daddy about Joseph

One of my students telling daddy about Joseph

This was a great part of our year last year and we plan on adopting another animal this fall!

To learn more about how to A.D.O.P.T. an animal,  click here.

 

August 7, 2013   9 Comments

Saving Tigers

Today is Global Tiger Day. What would the world be like without tigers? The Zoo partners with other zoos on a Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) so we never have to find out.  In addition to maintaining a healthy tiger population in zoos, the Tiger SSP supports field research and conservation of tigers in the wild through the Tiger Conservation Campaign.

Malayan Tiger (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

Malayan Tiger (Photo: Crissi Lanier)

As consumers, we all have the power to protect wildlife by using the Sustainable Shopper app to choose products made with Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.  Palm oil is used in many of the foods and products we consume every day from frozen vegetables to shampoo. Oil palm plantations are spreading across Indonesia, which produces 85% of the world’s supply of palm oil, often to the detriment of its rainforests and wildlife. As consumers, we can choose to buy products made with sustainable palm oil as certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The Sustainable Shopper app connects you with more than 500 products manufactured by RSPO-certified companies.

To get the Sustainable Shopper app:

From your web-enabled phone, go to cincinnatizoo.org/sustainable-shopper OR scan this QR code with your preferred QR code reader.

 To use the Sustainable Shopper app:
  • Select “Go Shopping” from the main menu.
  • Select “Edible” or “Non-edible” from the main products menu.
  • Select the appropriate sub-category until you locate your product.

 

 

July 29, 2013   2 Comments