Co-written by: Lloyd Johnson and Wendy Rice
Today’s selection may surprise a few of you at first because you may not think of Michael, who works in the commissary, as a traditional keeper. But if the growth and development of our industry has taught us anything, it is that the health and well-being of our animals is highly dependent upon many people (from many departments) working cohesively and cooperatively together.
Michael is an amazing example of a keeper whose role may be hands-off when it comes to animals, but his involvement in their lives is just as important as the primary keepers’. With the growing trend towards operant conditioning training, any good keeper will tell you that the right food rewards are an absolute necessity for successful animal interactions. None of our animal departments could be successful without the hard work and dedication of the commissary staff, and Michael is a shining example of both.
When it comes to friendliness, Michael is the personification. He goes out of his way to include everyone in a conversation (from interns to seasonal staff to new staff members), and he is always considerate of others. He is more than willing to help whenever keepers need a last minute delivery or a change to their feed orders, and he does it with a kind word and a smile.
While some may chalk it up to his naturally happy personality, I would argue that Michael’s ability to maintain a positive attitude is actually the ultimate form of professionalism. It is almost impossible to interact with Michael and not walk away feeling a little bit happier. It takes a really strong person to be able to put on a happy face in any situation, and very few keepers around the Zoo have mastered the skill as well as Michael.
It is not surprising that it was difficult to find a solo picture of Michael Berry as he is the ultimate people person. He always goes out of his way to give seasonal staff and interns an incredible Zoo experience, and he is arguably one of the most genuine people here.
Anyone who is fortunate enough to interact with Michael on a regular basis will tell you that he definitely brings a light-hearted joy with him wherever he goes. In an industry where our down days can be some of the worst of our lives, people like Michael Berry are worth their weight in gold!
14 thoughts on “Happy National Zoo Keepers Week! Meet Commissary Keeper, Michael Berry”