Category — Volunteen
Written by guest blogger, Jessica Klosinski, Sustainability Intern and AIP Graduate Student
While most teens are spending their summer at the pool or playing video games, others are educating Zoo visitors on sustainable choices and going green. The group is called “Green Teens” and you can find them volunteering in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden where they have spent most of their summer. The Go Green Garden exhibit is located across from the Elephants, not far from the Vine Street Village.
The teens describe their typical day as greeting and helping guests, giving green tours, helping in the Base Camp Café, and interacting with children. “Interacting with kids is the best; they get really excited,” says Hannah Quillin, 15. The teens are stationed in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden, an area dedicated to educating guests about the zoo’s green initiatives and how they can make sustainable choices in their own lives. Olivia King, 16, one of the green teens, says that talking about water conservation is her favorite part of the zoo’s green story. King and friend Mattina Girardot, 16, say that there is so much to talk about regarding water, from pervious pavement found throughout the zoo to the water retention tanks in the new Africa exhibit. Nicole Armbruster, 14, says that she loves to tell guests that we are “the Greenest Zoo in America.”
Another place the teens are active is in the Base Camp Café, recently deemed the greenest restaurant in America. The teens help educate the guests as they sort their waste into compost, recycle, and landfill. These teens aren’t all talk either, they say that volunteering has helped them feel connected to conservation and incorporate sustainable living into their own lives. “I yell at people at home for leaving the lights on,” says King. Melissa Holland, 15, shared that volunteering at the zoo has helped her be more involved in programs she didn’t know about before like participating in the Adopt an Animal program. “I recently adopted a female rhino,” Holland says.
The teens joked, saying they would love to require conservation actions from the public. “I wish everyone had to compost and recycle,” says Quillin. Volunteering at the zoo has also helped to develop responsibility and people skills both valuable in their future career endeavors. Holland has even considered a career in environmental engineering and conservation. The teens say this opportunity has helped them to become more outgoing and to meet other like-minded teens that care about conservation. Representing the greenest zoo in America is a big responsibility but these teens have taken on the challenge. Come visit the teens in the Go Green Garden the next time you visit the zoo; they would love to help you learn how to GO GREEN!
August 16, 2013 1 Comment
Once everyone arrives in the Volunteer Services Office for roll call, we all know that it is going to be a hot day. In fact, one of the hottest days of the summer so far. All the animal handlers make their way to the red barn to start the day. We
check the heat index to see what animals we can go ahead and take out, it was already 91 degrees! Tyson, the turkey, can”t go outside after it reaches 85. We all look at each other, and I know we are thinking the same thing….what now? I head outside with the group to see what the other TRIBE members were up too. We saw a group of “Fungineers” with some chalk by the tortoise exhibit, so that is when we decided to have tortoise races.
We set up the start and finish lines, and also drew our scoreboard. Our racers were a group of male tortoises named Samuel, Robert, and Garth! The visitors enjoyed it as much as we did. Some even messed around and pretended to bet on the tortoises. In the beginning, it seemed Samuel was gonna blow the others away, but Garth came out with the win!
Each TRIBE member has a mentor, and my mentor is Kate! She runs the overnight programs at the zoo. Occasionally, Kate will come by and check in with the teens, and recently she has been gathering groups to help her socialize Dilbert, the six-banded armadillo! Dilbert is just a little…okay, a lot over weight. He is on a diet though, and now he has TRIBE members come and play so he can exercise! We also got to meet Olli, the white-throated monitor. [Read more →]
July 31, 2011 Comments Off
You may wonder, what is a normal day like as a Teen TRIBE member? Truth is, there is no such thing as a “normal day”.
Everyday starts with roll call, but then it is off to start working. As an animal handler, I have a lot of differ
ent options to choose from each day. I go through our list of available animals on the computer, and choose what animal I would like to take out. Depending on who comes to work, usually you have a partner to work with as well.
In the morning while it is still cooler, we like to take out one of furry friends, such as guinea pigs or rabbits. Today, I had a bin of guinea pigs while Grace and Emily had out a Kenyan Sand Boa. [Read more →]
July 11, 2011 1 Comment