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Category — Photos

El Zoologico Experiencia (The Zoo Experience in a Zoo Academy Student’s Words)

Guest blogger: Zoo Academy student, Keri Cross

Hello everyone! My name is Keri Cross, and I am a Zoo Academy senior!!!!!! I started attending the Zoo Academy last year, and the experience has been absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! I have evolved a lot since I first started attending the Zoo Academy, and the journey has been very impactful for me. I have met so many nice people here at the Zoo, and the keepers are the funniest people I have ever been around. They are always in good high spirits, and they keep me wanting to come back and help them the best I can.

As far as picking which department is my favorite, I really don’t have a favorite area. Every area I have worked in has something great about it, and it makes it hard to pick which one would be my absolute favorite. I have picked up skills from each lab, which I carry throughout not only the future labs, but also in my personal life as well.

My favorite animal that I have worked with has actually been the screaming hairy armadillo. They are one of the cutest animals I have seen since I’ve been at the Zoo. Bonnie, which is one of the screaming hairy armadillos, is actually my favorite. She lets me pick her up and hold her. She has made working with the screaming hairy armadillos a real pleasure. The screaming hairy armadillos are used to educate the public about the species. The Zoo usually socializes them, so they are use to human contact, but they really wouldn’t make good pets in someone’s home. The reason is mainly because they are pretty messy, and they are wild animals. The screaming hairy armadillo usually lives in desert, grassland, scrubland, and forest areas. Their diet includes plants and tasty bugs. They have an excellent sense of smell, and they are amazing diggers, too. Usually when it’s very hot, the screaming hairy armadillos dig burrows, which measure up to several meters in length, so that they can be protected from those hot, sunny days. Surprisingly, in the winter, they are very active during the day. Want to know an interesting fact???? Baby armadillos are called “pups”. A female is called a “zed” and the male is a “lister”.

Bonnie, the screaming hairy armadillo

Bonnie, the screaming hairy armadillo

My favorite animal overall would have to be the cheetah. The cheetah is one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen. They have interesting patterns on their back, and they have big, beautiful brown eyes. Cheetahs usually come from the plains of Africa, wandering the savannas. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet!!!!!!!! With their extremely fast speed and good eyesight, they are able to spot their prey and immediately catch it. They are actually a species that is endangered right now. At this point, dedicated people are working hard to try to restore these beautiful creatures in the wild.

My favorite animal is the cheetah. (Photo: Dave Jenike)

My favorite animal is the cheetah. (Photo: Dave Jenike)

One experience from the Zoo so far that has been my absolute favorite has been actually being able to work with the reptiles. Reptiles are some of my absolute favorite animals, and I have been able to handle different types of reptiles. Crystal, a ball python, has actually been my favorite snake to handle. She comes from Africa. Her scientific name is Python regius, and she belongs to the python family. Ball pythons are also called royal pythons, and they are actually the calmest snakes that I have ever worked with.

Crystal, the ball python

Crystal, the ball python

Crystal is talking to me.

Crystal is talking to me.

With my experience so far this year, I’ve realized that this journey has been absolutely amazing. I take classes actually at the Zoo, which is pretty amazing, so I get to come to the Zoo every day, and work with the different types of animals. I’ve met a lot of great people who want to see me do great things in the future, especially with helping animals. My desire in life is to help animals, and I feel like I’m doing that every day I come to the different areas in the Zoo. My job right now may not be that much, but it all goes a long way in the end. I’m glad that I chose the Zoo Academy because I feel like I’m doing something that will stick with me forever. This experience will help lead me to bigger and better things in the future.

October 10, 2013   5 Comments

My Summer Interpretive Media Internship

Guest blogger:  Crissi Lanier, Interpretive Media Intern

This summer I’ve had the great opportunity to be  an Interpretive Media Intern at the Cincinnati Zoo.  When I began in June I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I was excited. The summer experiences certainly haven’t lessened that excitement.  I’ve been assisting Shasta Bray, the Interpretive Media Manager, in three main areas.

First, I’ve been writing blogs on various topics from how to tell our elephants apart to the new Africa exhibit.  Writing about different experiences I’ve had at the Zoo as part of the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) has been fun, both because of the actual writing as well as sharing my experiences with others.

In addition to the blogs, I’ve been updating and creating animal pages for the Zoo website.  This has been one of my favorite projects because I have learned so much about species I have never heard of or paid attention to before this summer.  I’ve become much more comfortable with the Zoo and what can be found where in the exhibits. I don’t know where everything is yet, but I certainly feel more at ease than before.

Say Hello to Moe every time I come for a meeting!

I say hello to Moe every time I come to the Education Center for a meeting!

Both of these projects have allowed me to incorporate one of my other passions – photography.  I have been fortunate to be able to include some of my personal photos on the animal pages and blogs, which is very rewarding.

One last project has been helping to find out how visitors feel about the new interactives in Jungle Trails. We have completed observations and short interviews about each interactive as well as the overall opinion of the new installments. Everyone seems to really enjoy them!  Read more about them here.

Morning walk through Jungle Trails

Morning walk through Jungle Trails

The greatest part of this internship has been all the great people I’ve met and had the chance to get to know.  Everyone truly seems to love their job at the Zoo in all departments. Learning from Shasta has been such a great experience. Much of what you see throughout the Zoo has Shasta’s personal touch to make it look just right while also engaging and educating visitors.  She works with a team from Graphics and Marketing to fine tune each piece.  I rarely thought about all the signs and information that are presented throughout the Zoo and how these pieces were produced.  This summer has given me a whole new perspective on them and why certain pieces are located where they are; it’s not by accident!

Shasta Bray and I

Shasta Bray (left) and me (right)

Overall, this internship has been an experience of a lifetime and the only negative part is that it has to end! There has never been a day I wasn’t excited to come to the Zoo. Each morning as I head to the Education Center, I pass through the P&G Discovery Forest, where I say hello to sweet Moe the sloth and beautiful Leroy the blue and gold macaw.

LeRoy in P&G Discovery Forest

Leroy in the P&G Discovery Forest

After all, who else gets to walk through a rainforest on their way to a meeting or hang out with orangutans on their breaks!

Hello Lana!

Hello Lana!

August 28, 2013   No 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   No Comments