Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

Three Months at Oakland Zoo

by | April 11th, 2013

This week, I worked on social media, posted my week twelve blog post, and launched Oakland Zoo’s Pinterest account. Researching, creating, launching, and managing a Zoo Pinterest account was one of my original internship duties and objectives. This was a great idea because it will be something I can use on my resume, in my career portfolio, and it is a pinterest2really great asset to leave behind at the Zoo. Managing the sun bear cam came in handy this week as well, when a customer called to inform us how much he loves our sun bear cam and that the camera was pointing away from the bears. As one of my pre-determined responsibilities, I was able to go in and re-position the web cam. That was a really neat thing to be able to do and I am so glad to hear people are enjoying our sun bear cam.

A big highlight of my week was attending an hour long webinar about Pinterest that my supervisor brought to my attention. This webinar is something that I would not have the chance to participate in if it weren’t for being a part of the Zoo. Continuing on, I also had the opportunity to sit in on a Development meeting regarding the California Project. I learned so much watching a virtual piece that was designed to promote the project to potential donors. I also received great insight about the duties of the Development Department and what a day in their position is like. I love how many opportunities I have been given to expand my professional development while here, both internally and externally.

Besides social media and public relations, I was able to mingle with colleagues as we celebrated major milestones such as an employee anniversary and a celebration for a bride-to-be. This of course included delicious food that I chose to enjoy once again. Having these gatherings once in a while has been nice and has really reinforced the sense of everyone being my Zoo family.

I was able to take advantage of downtime in the office at the beginning of the week to take a walk through the Zoo and reallyfox remember and enjoy the amazing place that I work at every day. As an added plus, I saw a wild grey fox and a few wild deer roaming the property. Walking into the Zoo in the morning and seeing Nikko, our white-handed gibbon, literally just hanging out or swinging, brought a big smile to my face too. Not too shabby of a place to intern, right?

Another week is in the books. I’ve passed the three month mark and am nearing the end of my time here at Oakland Zoo as the Marketing Intern. Time sure has flown. I have two exciting weeks left. Let’s see what else I can learn and do in that time.

Week Twelve

by | April 2nd, 2013

This week was very heavy with social media activity. With the Grand Opening of Animales de los Arboles and Feast for the

4-2-2013 11-43-52 AMBeasts event, there was a lot to promote and I really wanted to engage the community. I originally set out with a goal to reach 12,000 Facebook fans, but then got to thinking about the elephants (because of Feast for the Beasts), and came up with a Facebook contest to guess how much Osh, our bull elephant weighs. I knew elephants weigh between 12,000 and 14,000 pounds, so I wanted to incorporate that with the Facebook fans. I learned that Osh weighs 12,300 pounds and decided to make that the new goal number for Facebook fans. I named it Operation Osh. Although we came up short, it was still a fun idea and I enjoyed running with it.

I spent most of Tuesday helping out with Spring Break ZooCamp and Sun Bear’s class. Who is Sun Bear you might ask? Well, the Education staff that work ZooCamp all have an animal name. The staff member that I was working with was named Sun Bear. This helps ZooCamp kids remember which group they are in and who their leader is. I joined the kiddos as they were watching warthogs tear open their surprise boxes (animal enrichment), then proceeded to walk to a select few animal exhibits, learned and even taught some animal facts, spent time acting like different animals in the meadow for play time, attended an animal close up with two of our education hedgehog ambassadors, and helped the kids with their very own hedgehog craft in the afternoon. Afterwards, I hiked back through the Zoo to the office to catch up on emails and to-dos for the remainder of the day. I had a good time at ZooCamp and really enjoyed being outdoors and active, but let me tell you… those five-year-olds wore me out and this desk job is making my legs rusty.

I sent press releases over to our web specialist to load up on the website and uploaded pictures to flickr of our new exhibit and animals. I also spent some time doing out of the ordinary projects such as editing and making additions to the Zoo’s history information page on the website. By taking the time to actually read through the rich history, I learned a lot about the organization. I also helped Amber with some miscellaneous tasks for the Feast for the Beasts event as well as the Zoo’s annual fundraiser in June, Walk in the Wild. I kind of like being a ‘helper’ like this. I get to do several tasks for a few different people/departments, and that seems to work for me. It keeps things interesting and keeps me learning for sure. I feel I have always been the jack of all trades and master of none, so doing a variety of tasks keeps my day exciting. With that being said, I am convinced that being able to wear multiple hats is not only a talent, but also a necessity in today’s world.

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I attended and assisted with the on-site Grand Opening of Animales de los Arboles on Thursday and then spent Friday looking at and sharing all the great media coverage with our online social media sites.

Week Eleven

by | March 29th, 2013

I started off this week being the main contact for Earth Day related items since the Director of Conservation had an out of office conference to attend. This means I was responding to emails and calls with several different organizations to ensure that everything is in place for our upcoming event. In addition, I worked on the previous two weeks’ blog, followed up with Animal Management for information to go with a few upcoming press releases, and then was able to use that information to re-work it into the most important and interesting key points in the press releases. In between press releases and Earth Day items, I continued to monitor and update Oakland Zoo’s social media platforms.

2013-03-20 15.00.33Out of the ordinary highlights of the week included not one, but two field trips, and a few snack and celebration breaks. The field trips consisted of wandering off to Fenton’s Creamery to pick up five amazing flavors of ice cream for the office staff to enjoy for Amber’s (Manager, Special Events) birthday. Nicky (Senior Manager, Marketing/PR) and Theresa from Membership also had birthdays with delicious treats over the past week. Thank you ladies for having birthdays and for allowing us to celebrate with you. To top it off, Dan, in Maintenance also dropped off homemade blueberry muffins for us to enjoy. Due to all these goodies being consumed, there is now a joke about Oakland Zoo’s ‘fifteen,’ similar to the ‘freshman fifteen,’ where you gain fifteen pounds in your first year. Looks like I’ll have to schedule more walks through the Zoo to burn off those extra calories or tell people to stop celebrating birthdays…but what fun would that be?

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The next field trip came after a week’s worth of assembling press kits to highlight the Grand Opening of a new exhibit, Animales de los Arboles, and that was simply to the post office in San Leandro. The press kits were sent out to over one hundred journalists in the Bay Area and included a copy of the press release, a package of chocolate Cadbury eggs, and a gummy tarantula tied together with a little card with facts about the new exhibit and animals. The coati’s favorite treats are tarantulas and bird eggs, hence where the idea for the press kit goodies came along. Assembling the press kits took some time, but the end result was really nice. Who wouldn’t like to get a little surprise envelope with goodies and an announcement from their local Zoo? I think press kits are great and the work put into them will pay off.

Last, but not least, I was able to spend time assisting a service group and individuals with special needs; they came to the Zoo for a special giraffe feeding with Lead Keeper, Amy Phelps. The children who were in wheelchairs were able to go behind-the-scenes and feed a giraffe by raising their arm up with food, and the giraffe would bend over to gently grab it from their hands. The kids were ecstatic and the giraffes were pretty happy with their treats. This was a very cool thing to be part of, even just to watch. I am so proud to work for an organization that will go above and beyond to make special experiences like this happen.

Weeks Nine and Ten of a Marketing Intern

by | March 25th, 2013

As you may have noticed, things have definitely been picking up around the Zoo. Blog posts about my internship experience have been put on the back burner, but not forgotten. The past two weeks have been full of every day marketing type tasks such as writing and distributing press releases. The job doesn’t end once these stories get sent out however. For meerkat crowdexample, the meerkat pups were announced and for a few days, Nicky (Marketing/PR, Senior Manager) and I were busy responding to calls, emails, and visits for pictures and videos of the meerkats that media wanted to share with their network. In fact, The Huffington Post and Good Morning America even called about sharing Oakland Zoo’s baby meerkats. That is exciting and rare for us to get that kind of exposure. The power of media is amazing.

In addition, I have been handling Earth Day e-mails and other related tasks. The main focus right now has been securing outside participant groups to attend the event (happening on Saturday, April 13, 10:00am-3:00pm). It has been rewarding to have participants say ‘yes’ and sign up to table at Earth Day, whether they are returning participants or new comers. I have also been updating the spreadsheet as responses come through.

I was able to attend the weekly marketing department meeting that I haven’t been to in a few weeks and found it very beneficial on many levels. It is great to discuss projects, set goals, and overall catch up on pertinent things that are going on within the organization and with my surrounding department/team.

Other daily agenda items have consisted of calendar listings on the website, other website concerns, follow up with media contracts and agreements, and of course, social media activity. A new social media platform for Oakland Zoo is being explored and is in the process of being created by yours truly, so stay tuned for that.

All that aside, probably one of the most valuable parts of the past two weeks as an intern, were the lessons I learned, on a work level, as well as on a personal level. A situation happened at work that caught me off guard. It challenged my view and made me take a step back to think through some things, but served as an excellent eye opening moment. I handled everything the best I could with what knowledge and experience I had, but I also used the opportunity to seek guidance from those around me. I am in a very lucky position to have many experienced professionals working around me that I feel comfortable going to for advice. I heard some of the same key points from all of them, but also different suggestions, all of which I found reassuring and uplifting. It was a tough lesson to grasp, but one that needed to be learned as a young professional new to the career world.

In addition to expanding a skill set in an internship, learning life and work related lessons are substantial to the growth of any individual. Skills and knowledge can take me far in life, but lessons and experience is what will prepare me for the next challenge that arises, which will aid in my overall success as a professional and individual.

Week Eight – A Lot on the Plate

by | March 8th, 2013

I had some issues on my return flight to California, so I had to take Monday off to recuperate. Once Tuesday came, it was nonstop catch up. I was having difficulty prioritizing everything that needed to be done, but Nicky and Amber were there to help when needed and that was a huge relief.

I was given the task of writing a press release on the new kids (baby goats) that were born last week and after just one draft, it was approved and ready to be sent out to the media. This was a very fast press release, but it has been one of the most popular thus far. Check the kids out on ZooBorns and Perez Hilton’s website. This has been special to me since I was able to be so involved with the kids from the beginning.

The rest of the week consisted of following up with marketing contracts, creating a plan for updating the Zoo’s online calendar, and assisting one more media outlet onsite for the new goat kids. I can tell it’s the time of year that business starts to pick up and everything is on hyper speed to get done.

With that being said, it was a different level of work this week, but I was able to power through thanks to my supervisors and co-workers. This week also marked two months as an intern at Oakland Zoo. I think I’ve gotten the hang of it, enjoy the people I get to work with, and of course, love the mission I am serving. Thanks for following my journey thus far. Two months down and two to go; let’s see what else is in store.

Tadpoles to Frogs and Much More in this Blog

by | March 5th, 2013

Week seven was a short and fun week, but with plenty to do. Monday was President’s Day, so Administration was closed, meaning I enjoyed a lovely day off. Tuesday was a change of pace for this new office gal as I got to spend much of the day shadowing Adam Fink, Children’s Zoo Herp and Invert Keeper, and new keeper Carrie. I met the oldest resident at the Zoo, OJ, an Aldabra tortoise, watched him and his cohorts roam their night house since it was a wet and rainy day out, and learned about the tortoises’ morning routine, including giving medication, feeding, and cleaning from Adam and Carrie.

Next, I helped clean and count milky tree frogs as many of them are being sent off to other zoos. I was even lucky enough to be able to collect frog fecal samples to send over to our vets to make sure all are in good health before they head out to their new homes.

After my lunch break, Adam, Carrie, and myself, spent some time in the bug house, tidying up the exhibits and providing fresh food for all sorts of creatures. Next, I helped change out tadpole water as well as sort the tadpoles, based on what stage of development they were in. I remember learning about tadpoles and how they become frogs in elementary school, but this was the first time I was actually able to see the process in person and it was pretty cool. By the time we were wrapping up, a call came over the radio about Annie, one of our goat residents. She was going into labor. So, I headed on over to the goat barn.

To my surprise, I got there just in time and was able to watch Annie give birth to four, super adorable, kids. However, Annie needed some help with the first one. Now known as Jeffrey, was breached, meaning he was tail first during birth. This is not what you want to happen, so Keeper Liz had to step in. She put on some gloves and began to assist in pulling out baby Jeffrey. Once out, Annie immediately tended to her kid and before we knew it, three more kids were born. It was totally unexpected that there would be so many, but the Zoo family is ready for them and they have been all over the media already. This was a really cool experience and I am glad I was able to be a part of it. Who else can say they met the oldest Zoo resident and the newest/youngest all in the same day?

 

You may think that Tuesday is unbeatable, but Wednesday was great as well. We had an onsite Eye on the Bay shoot with CBS 5’s Liam Mayclem and this time it was at the new Veterinary Hospital, which I had yet to see. Once the crew arrived, I tagged along and received a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Vet Hospital, and I was really impressed.

This new hospital is 17,000 square feet, is LEED certified, and implements modern day technology, design, and functionality. The facility is beautiful and is located on a hill, overlooking the Zoo; it even has views of the San Francisco skyline. If you ever have a chance to visit, please watch out for a giant silver rectangle on the floor because that is the large mammal scale and if you step on it, it will expose your weight to all who are with you. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I want to be classified as a large mammal.

Yet again, Thursday offered something new and different. We had Skywalker Sounds onsite recording animal sounds for an upcoming project. Thanks to them, I was able to watch and be a part of the elephants’ morning routine, which included a pedicure on all four feet, treats, and enrichment. I met Jeff and Gina, the main elephant keepers, and they allowed me to feed Osh, our male African elephant. I can now check that off the bucket list. I also visited the camels and learned a lot about them.

The rest of the day included an Earth Day meeting and other office related to-dos, followed by a trip to the airport as I was headed home to Arizona, for the Tough Mudder race.