Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

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.

Week Six in a Fix

by | February 20th, 2013

The week began with finishing Earth Day tasks such as re-formatting just under 200 contacts in Excel and then mail merging them to print address labels. This was the first time I have ever used mail merge and Amber (Manager, Special Events), was able to walk me through it and teach me the process. Envelopes were stuffed, addressed, stamped, and ready to be sent out.

Part of my internship duties include managing the sun bear web cam, so when I noticed the cam was spotted with water drops, I contacted the proper authorities to get that taken care of. The sun bear cam allows animal lovers to watch the bears at home or in the office for when they can’t be at the Oakland Zoo in person. Check out the sun bear cam here. I love watching them mid-morning and usually find Ting Ting sleeping in the hammock throughout the day. I also mailed a Fed-Ex package, without help this time (thanks to Sue walking me through it the first time) and mailed out tickets for a marketing agreement with Oakland Magazine and Parent’s Press.

Wednesday was fun, since it was the Valentine’s Day Potluck in the Administration building. This was something I was involved in from the initial invite to the decorating day of and I really enjoyed how it turned out. It was great to get Oakland Zoo staffers together to enjoy goodies such as biscotti, fresh fruit, tiramisu, and cookies mid-afternoon. It was also fun exchanging gifts as “secret valentines.” I might even propose this to become a weekly occurrence. I will let you know when that gets approved.

Around lunch time on Thursday, as I was in the kitchen, I watched three wild deer sneaking around in the back of the buildings. This is something I don’t get to witness at home in the desert, so I really enjoyed it. I also met up with the Director of Conservation to get a rundown of how Earth Day works. This was extremely helpful and allowed me to form a visual of the event, which of course will greatly aid in my future planning and involvement with Earth Day. The first edition of PAW Prints was released via e-mail and it looked great. (Make sure you sign up for our e-blast if you haven’t already).  I wrote a blog on Nikko and Gladys and then received a few special Valentine’s Day animal enrichment photos for social media that were a big hit. Much thanks to the Zoo staff that shared those pictures.


On Friday, I received a few hours of training from our web specialist, Jamie, about the CMS (Content Management System) used for our website and went over Flickr uploads. Jamie taught me a lot and I can’t wait to put my new skills to use. I took some time to check out the Sky Ride as well and used it as an opportunity to take photos and then promote on social media. It was a great experience to add to the list. Last, but not least, I scheduled some weekend social media updates, via HootSuite, to emphasize the great weather conditions over the holiday weekend. Hopefully the animals saw a good crowd over the weekend.

Diving into Week Five

by | February 11th, 2013

I began this week meeting up with the Director of Conservation at the Oakland Zoo and going over the Earth Day event, “Party for the Planet,” and discussing where we need to start in the prepping process. Before we can mail out invites for the event, the vendor list needed to be updated, so I worked on updating throughout the week. This took some time, considering there were well over 100 organizations on the list, but addresses and contact information were updated and many new organizations were added. I also created the same document in Excel format for future use. During this whole process, I was able to familiarize myself with a variety of local conservation, environmental friendly, organizations in the Bay Area, which was pretty neat.

Next, I spent time submitting our latest press releases to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums through their online newsroom. The AZA actually picked up our story about Nikko and Gladys and shared it with their database, which includes over 200 accredited Zoos and Aquariums across the country. Not too shabby. I was invited and attended lunch with the Marketing Department again and continued to learn about various business items. This lunch was specifically about sponsorships and how they work. Following lunch, I sat in on a sponsorship meeting, watched how an outside agency presented a proposal, what our staff look for, and even added some input/ideas of my own.

It was a quiet and calm week when it came to media on-site. Instead of being out and about, I realized how much preparation actually goes into setting up a lot of these video/media shoots and projects. There is much coordination involved between several parties. For example, a day must be found that fits the specific media outlet, the Marketing Department, the animal schedules, and a number of other Animal Care staff schedules. All the details of the shoot schedule must also be prepared and ready to go prior to the actual day of shooting.

As a side note, a few of the segments from our training video ‘aired’ at the all staff meeting Thursday morning, and I was a pretty popular individual that day with everyone telling me what a ‘superstar’ I was acting out skits in those videos. Looks like I’ll be seen at the Oakland Zoo for years to come.

A few other contracts with local organizations came through this week and I was walked through our partnership with the Oakland A’s specifically. Nicky explained to me what each little part of the agreement meant and gave me examples from the past, so that I can assist in creating and delivering the 2013 points of action. This includes items such as creating PSA’s or short slogans that will market the Zoo and its wonderful programs at the A’s home games in the upcoming season.  Besides talking baseball, I then attended the Operations Lead meeting conducted by Deb Menduno (Director of Operations) and really enjoyed sitting in and observing how other departments operate, what they focus on, and how they communicate overall.

In addition to the above, I of course spent much time keeping Facebook, Twitter, and the blog updated, exciting, and engaging (that was the attempt anyway). There was also a goal set to reach 11,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook by Friday, and looks like we made it! We had so many shares on Friday and it is really awesome how an online community can come together when you ask for such a small favor. This is why I am such a fan of the power of social media, especially for nonprofits.