Sometimes working late is awful, sometimes it’s awesome!
On May 5, as most zoo keepers and admin staff were packing up and heading home, the Conservation and Education team were packing up animals and headed to the Snow Building. We were helping host “Dinner with a Scientist,” an annual event sponsored by Oakland Unified School District.
The goal is simple: inspire bright students to remain interested in science by exposing them to a variety of scientific careers. Middle and High School students were selected by their teachers to attend a very special catered dinner, where a different scientist arrives at the table with each course!
From the nametags I saw, there were chemical engineers from CAL Trans, physicists from Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and of course our own Conservation Manager from the Oakland Zoo. During the meal, scientists give an overview of their job, their educational background, and answer questions from the students. Dr. Parrott, Executive Director of the Oakland Zoo (and veterinarian) gave the key note address. Since most young people have limited knowledge of the career options available if you enjoy math or science, an event like this can be really eye opening!
This is the first year the Oakland Zoo served as the venue for this event and our goal was to give the students, scientists, and teachers a warm welcome–which means animals! After registration, guests were invited meet a Yellow-Naped Amazon, a Common Chuckwalla, a California Desert Tortoise, an Indigo Snake, and a Ferret. It was very fun for us to meet the guests and share a information about our animals and the zoo. Both the students and the scientists asked very good questions about our animal ambassadors.
The good news for us it that we get to do it all again for elementary school students on June 2nd!