Archive for the ‘Education Programs’ Category

Warthog Love is in the Air

by | July 31st, 2013

 

Basic CMYKHello fellow conservation heroes, Zena the Zookeeper here.   The summer excitement just keeps on rolling here at Oakland Zoo!   This month, we are celebrating the arrival of two totally beautiful new warthogs.  Yes, you heard right – bea-u-ti-ful wartrhogs!  I could just watch these two lovely ladies for hours on end!  We got them from two zoos in the southern United States, the Atlanta (Georgia) Zoo and the Jacksonville (Florida) Zoo.  I hope Simon, our resident male warthog, thinks they are as beautiful as I do. If Simon agrees with me, then maybe we’ll be lucky enough to have some baby piglets join the sounder (sounder means a small group of warthogs).

We zookeepers are pretty proud of our little three-warthog sounder, and of how well the three of them are all getting along.  Sometimes it can take many weeks for female warthogs to learn to get along, but our ladies had not problems at all adjusting to their new home or to Simon, or each other.  Hmmm… I wonder if it was all the fresh grasses, fruit, and enrichment items we put in their enclosure

everyday.

Just look at the three of them playing together with their ball in this picture! They’re getting along like three peas – I mean pigs – in a pod!  wart1

And here’s a little fascinating fact for you – warthogs really do have warts!  The warts are on their heads, where they also have not one but TWO sets of tusks.

Warthogs are also powerful diggers, using their disc-like snout with their legs to dig for roots and tubers. They often lower themselves closer to the ground by bending their wrists (like Simon is doing in this picture).

Looks pretty awkward to me, but don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt.  They have special thick, calloused pads of skin to protect them when they’re bending down like that. And just like all species of pigs, warthogs love to roll around in the mud when the weather gets too hot for them.

So see?  These creatures are sweet and loveable and oh so fun to watch – just bea-u-ti-ful.  I’m sure you’ll agree with me when you come visit them for yourselves.  See you at the Zoo!

Week Fourteen and Going Green

by | April 16th, 2013

This was an exciting and packed week. I started the week off by shadowing more of the Education Department; this time for ZooSchool. I caught a ride from a colleague so that I could attend the morning meeting in the Education Department. Even though it wasn’t my department and I didn’t know much of what was being discussed, it was still a learning experience to sit in on their staff meeting. Everyone was super nice and Chantal, the Assistant Manager of Volunteer Services, (who approved this shadow opportunity) is an absolute sweetheart and made sure everyone knew who I was and vice versa. It was a great atmosphere right out of the gate and I really appreciate the hospitality and kindness everyone has shown me in my time here.

Once the morning staff meeting concluded, I waited with Jen, a part-time Education Specialist for the Zoo, and shadowed2013-04-10 11.07.29 her as she taught and led a local school class in ZooSchool. This was a step up from the ZooCamp I attended a week prior. The main difference was the age group. ZooCamp was kindergarten age and the ZooSchool I was a part of was made up of third graders.

How it worked: Once the class arrived, Jen and I met them and then led them to one of the classrooms in the Education Foyer, where Jen then taught the class about biomes, habitats, animals, and adaptations. Next, the kids were given clipboards with two different habitat scenes, in which their task was to write down five animals from those specified habitats in the Zoo and note a few of their unique adaptations. Even though I am not a third grader, I still learned so much from Jen and greatly enjoyed how ZooSchool was operated.

After ZooSchool concluded, I headed back up to Marketing and went with my supervisor, Nicky, to assist with an on-site film shoot. At the end of the day, I was invited to attend a Conservation ZooMobile happening the next day, so I received approval and joined in on the fun again. This education event was taking place off-site at the Castro Valley Library. This was yet another fantastic program that Oakland Zoo puts on. The Docents were fabulous with the kids/audience and they had great presentations and information prepared for the hour session. Again, I learned so much and was so impressed with this outreach education program that the Zoo does.

EarthDay13Next up on the list was Earth Day Earth Day Earth Day! I attended the final planning meeting for Earth Day with my cohorts, took care of last minute prep items, and then came ready for the event on Saturday. It was a great turnout of Zoo visitors, volunteers, and outside conservation and animal related organizations. There was so much to do while walking through the Zoo, with heaps of hands-on learning activities for people of all ages. It was very rewarding for me to see the amount of people and activities around the Zoo for our Earth Day event, especially after playing a role in planning the past three months. Interacting with all of the different people and organizations, and being of assistance to others was also a highlight of working Earth Day. In addition, I have to admit, being dressed in head-to-toe khaki, with a radio on my hip, made me feel like quite the official Zoo employee. It’s the little things, folks. That sums up week fourteen and going green. Stay tuned for my final week as the Marketing Intern at Oakland Zoo.

Solid Support for Yes on Measure A1

by | October 25th, 2012

I have been an Oakland Zoo Docent for 1 ½ years, have a zoo membership, and am proud to support the Zoo and Measure A1. As a volunteer, I have witnessed the enjoyment of all zoo visitors as well the educational programs it provides. To be clear, Measure A1 is a not about expanding the zoo. It is a $1 per month parcel tax that will allow the zoo to continue to maintain its superior animal care and extend educational programs throughout Alameda County. This measure should not be confused with the project that was previously approved in 2011 by Oakland Parks & Recreation, Planning Commission and the Oakland City Council which included construction of a new, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital which is near completion. These approval agencies and the Alameda County Superior Court judge all determined the zoo had met the requirements to proceed with a project that will benefit hundreds of thousands of zoo visitors. The Zoo is proud that Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the Humane Society of the United States, as well as local education and animal rights advocates support A1. Other supporters are: 1) the East Bay Regional Park District, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools, Sheila Jordan, and School Superintendents in every city of the County due to the critically needed environmental education it provides children, and 2) animal care organizations, including the Ventana Wildlife Society, the Felidae Conservation Fund/Bay Area Puma Project, and leading Veterinarians due to A1’s goal to provide humane animal care. These supporters understand the intention behind A1 and how the funds will be used. Please join me and others in support of one of Oakland’s leading cultural, educational, and animal care organizations by voting Yes on Measure A1.

— Ann Thomas, Oakland Zoo Docent

YES ON MEASURE A1: ANIMALS ABOVE POLITICS

by | October 25th, 2012

I have been working in the animal care field for over 30 years. One thing I have learned is that when political differences arise, it’s the animals that pay the price. Measure A1 would ensure that the animals at Oakland Zoo continue to get high quality animal care. It will also allow the zoo to offer educational zoo trips that schools cannot provide. In a time when city and school budgets are cut, A1 is an important way the zoo can meet the needs of both animals and children.

Opponents of A1 say that they care about the animals, but voting against A1 would greatly reduce the zoo’s ability to provide things like heating systems, new fences, maintenance for animal enclosures and most importantly, maintain the food budget so we can continue to provide quality animal food. The opponents demean what the zoo is doing for animals by saying we use the “cute animals” for other means. I really don’t understand how they can be so selfish and use dishonest tactics and still stay they care about animals. I also don’t understand why reporters failed to report all the facts, and miss that the true intent of A1 is better animal care. The animals’ needs are real, and that’s the truth. I ask everyone to read the measure, see the truth and please vote yes on measure A1.
Michelle Jeffries, Zoological manager, Oakland Zoo

MEASURE A1—IT IS FOR THE ANIMALS

by | October 25th, 2012

The opponents of measure A1 want you to believe that the Oakland Zoo is using “cute” animals for “other purposes” than what the measure clearly states. This is demeaning to the zoo and to the animals. I have been in the animal care field for over 30 years and I have seen that when conflict arises and issues concerning animal care are not reported honestly, it is the animals that really pay the price. The animals’ needs are real, and this measure is the best thing that could happen for them. The measure will also support education and greatly increase the number of schoolchildren who can attend our zoo programs and learn more about the animals they see at the zoo. Measure A1 will also keep the admission cost low—so important for many of our visitors.

As an animal care manager at the zoo, my focus is the animals and providing the best care possible. The three sections I manage would benefit greatly if measure A1 succeeds. Our young camels have grown so much they need taller and sturdier fencing; the tiger night house needs expanding, a new heating system and a hot water heater; and the beautiful bird aviaries are very much in need of underground barriers for rodent control. We also desperately need a “tamer” — a structure that can safely hold giraffe during medical procedures. In a time of budget cuts and increasing costs however, it becomes more difficult to meet our animals’ needs. The animals need A1 to pass, and that is the truth. I ask you to please read measure A1 to see the truth, and vote YES!
Michelle Jeffries, Zoological Manager, Oakland Zoo

YES ON A1 Supports a Zoo with a Wild and Green Heart

by | October 25th, 2012

My family, friends and colleagues can attest to my green way of life and my and concern for the well-being of animals. For these reasons, I feel fortunate that I work as the Conservation Director at the Oakland Zoo. I chose this organization because the Zoo’s heart is like mine, wild and green, with conservation at the center of our mission.

monitoring western pond turtles

We have award winning green initiatives, including a new, LEED certified vet center. We are deeply involved in the protection of vulnerable wildlife, including the Western Pond Turtle and the California condor locally. We keep the Arroyo Viejo Creek clean and native, restoring it with volunteers from the local community, and we inspire thousands of children to connect to and take action for wildlife and nature.

Backed by many environmental organizations, Measure A1 protects local wildlife and provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered species. A1 is for all of us in Alameda County who have a true wild and green heart.

Amy Gotliffe
Educator, Conservationist and Oakland home owner