What will you be when you grow up?

Sixth graders from Rochester School #23 recently came for a visit to explore Zoo careers. After a video conference with Zoo professionals, students chose a career to shadow during three visits to the Zoo.

Some students followed our Assistant Curator and learned how to order and maintain animal food supplies as well as designing and creating animal exhibits. Others followed our Veterinary Technician and participated in animal husbandry and medical care activities. Zoo Education staff led groups that explored animal training, writing interpretive labels and designing and presenting education programs. A final group of students worked with our Communications Director and created social media posts and advertising material.

In a final trip to the Zoo, students used recording equipment to document their visits during the program. They will share their career explorations with a second group of School #23 sixth graders who will join the program in February 2015. This program is a pilot made possible through a partnership with Monroe #1 BOCES and the Zoo plans to make it available to other schools and groups in the fall of 2015.

- Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

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A conservation-minded holiday

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

It’s a season of excess, with lots of giving, lots of eating and ideally, lots of celebrating. It’s also a time of excess waste – materials for wrapping, fuel for transportation, electricity for holiday lights, the list goes on. Here are some helpful tips to help make your holiday an environmentally-friendly one:

  1. Buy locally. You’ll not only be supporting jobs within the community, you’ll also cut down on fossil fuels that are required for shipping items that may be halfway around the globe. Idea: Membership gift certificates give the gift of experience and ZooParent Adoption provides fun, enriching toys that our animals will use again and again. Click here and watch results of our ZooParent Program in action.
  1. Photo by Jackie Kolb

    Photo by Jackie Kolb

    Support butterfly habitat. Give the gift of increasing butterfly habitat. Invest in a Butterfly Beltway garden to have planted in a location of your choosing. The best part: The Zoo will do most of the work for you.

  1. Choose gifts from recycled sources. You can find many items at the ZooShop that are fair trade and handmade from recycled materials, including soda cans, telephone wire, and flip flops.
  1. Photo by Dr. Louis DiVincenti

    Photo by Dr. Louis DiVincenti

    Feed the local birds. Hang pine cone feeders in nearby trees for native bird species. These feeders are an easy and sustainable craft to make, using pine cones, string and a binding agent (palm oil-free nut butter or a sustainable palm oil peanut butter work great) and bird seed are all you need. What’s so important about palm oil? Unsustainable palm oil practices cause deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra, which in turn affects that animals that live there, like orangutans.

  1. Reduce your environmental impact further. Opt for battery-free toys – you decrease the chance for toxic chemicals to be leaked into the environment. Instead of turning the TV on, suggest a winter hike in your favorite park (we suggest Seneca Park). Another great way to reduce your impact – carpool with family and friends when you head out for holiday shopping.
  1. Use energy-efficient LED lights with a light timer for green power use. Cutting down on electricity helps polar bears, who rely heavily on sea ice to hunt for their food. The U.S. Geological Survey predicts that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050, if high energy use continues.
  1. Re-gifting is OK. If you receive something you don’t need, look for ways to pass it on. It may be a great fit for a White Elephant Party.
  1. Be thrifty with wrapping. Old paper bags, newspapers (like the comic section), reusable gift bags and more make great alternatives to traditional store-bought wrapping paper. Opt for ribbon or string instead of tape. Click here for information on paper recycling with Monroe County.

Need more gift ideas this season? Donate to a local conservation organization like the Seneca Park Zoo Society. By doing so, you ensure continuous improvements and support our important education outreach programs as well as local, regional and global conservation efforts.

- Kelli O’Brien, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator

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What is a watershed?

….and how does water travel from here to there?

Mapping out the waterways, landforms, animals and plants in our watershed. (Photo by Anneke Nordmark)

Mapping out the waterways, landforms, animals and plants in our watershed. (Photo by Anneke Nordmark)

What challenges face our freshwater systems today and what solutions could there be? The 2014-15 ZooTeen Leader program, a group of 23 ninth- through twelfth-graders dedicated to the Zoo, is off to an exciting start. We’ll learn about how issues affecting the environment affect the animals we love, as well as ways to take action to promote conservation issues.

Investigating the boundaries of our watershed. (Photo by Anneke Nordmark)

Investigating the boundaries of our watershed. (Photo by Anneke Nordmark)

This year the ZooTeen Leaders will study our local watershed, ranging from the basics of how watersheds work to details about the animals who call our watershed home. We’ll expand our investigations to the Great Lakes and our connection to the largest freshwater system in the world.

If being involved with teen programs at the Zoo sounds like fun, keep an eye on our Web site. In January, the summer ZooTeen program application will be posted. Also, save the date for our Teen Night event, on April 19.

Questions? Contact me at anordmark@senecazoo.org.

- Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Programs Coordinator

 

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Wintertime = fun time

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Wintertime in Rochester is setting in and this means many of us prepare to stay indoors for the season. It does not mean there isn’t anything exciting, entertaining or educational to do.

The Seneca Park Zoo Wegmans ZooMobile is here to show you how! While you and your organizations might not want to go outside, the ZooMobile is ready to come and present at your location. The ZooMobile runs all year long, bringing the Zoo to your group or organization.

Whether you’re looking for a fun, easy-to-follow program for your school, preschool or scout group, or for an entertaining, conservation-minded program for your business’ holiday party, the Wegmans ZooMobile is a great option. By bringing animals to you in these fun, interactive programs, we can help you beat the winter blahs.

Learn more of what the Zoo can do for you by clicking here, or e-mail me at tfowler@senecazoo.org.

- Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

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Learning from a distance

CAM01414For the past three weeks, the Seneca Park Zoo, B.O.C.E.S. I, and Rochester City School #23 have partnered to pilot a distance learning program about zoo careers. The first week, five Zoo staff spoke during a live broadcast, telling the students a little about their jobs. Based on that experience, the students have been traveling to the Zoo to shadow the staff person of their choice for the past two weeks.

Four of these students have been shadowing our Communications Director, Pam Cowan, and learning about how we promote our events at the Zoo. Last week, this included taking photos to promote our elephant birthday party on Facebook. The students did a great job snapping photos and thinking about how to caption each photo.

This week, they created a radio commercial to promote the event as well. They did a great job putting together a script and recording. Listen to it below:

- Emily Coon-Frisch, Manager of Program Development

 

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You work at a Zoo? Cool!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

People are always asking me about my job at the Zoo. Working in the Education Department, I tell people I have the best of both worlds. I get to work with people AND animals!

Best of all, I get to share our amazing animals with our visitors and teach them about the value of the natural world – every day is a rewarding adventure. People often ask what type of background you need to work in a Zoo. For the Education Department, it is best to have a degree in education or natural sciences, and experience working with children is a must. You also need to be comfortable around animals, but even more importantly, comfortable with people. So if you love animals and communicating with people, consider a job with the Education Department at the Zoo – we would love to have you on our team.

Right now we are hiring for our Educator 1 positions. These individuals host birthday parties, overnights, and even ZooMobile programs. It really is a wild job, and there is never a dull moment. Applications are due November 1, 2014. Click here for more information.

- Emily Coon-Frisch, Manager of Program Development

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Clean out that fall clutter

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Our final Go Green! Recycle Rally of 2014 will take place in the Zoo’s parking lot from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 2.

This is a great opportunity to clear your home of unwanted items before the holiday season begins. Help keep our landfills free of electronic waste by bringing old televisions, computers, monitors, DVD players, microwaves, video game systems and more to be recycled by Sunnking.

Volunteers of America will be on site to take all home goods, books, clothing and furniture. We’ll also have locked totes to collect paper for shredding, a service donated by Shred-Text. We accept batteries and fluorescent light bulbs with a donation of $2 per pound to offset the cost of recycling.

For a list of what the Zoo can NOT accept, click here.

Many thanks to Diamond Packaging for sponsoring our Nov. 2 event!

- Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

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