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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Let’s go on a road trip!

I want you to imagine that you and I are driving to Mexico to spend the winter.

After a few hours on the road, we need to fill up the gas tank and we pull into a rest station for gas and a snack. Upon arrival we discover no gas at that station. Thinking we can make it a little further we continue on, only to find the next few gas stations do not have gas or have very little. The further south we go, the harder our trip gets as our tank gets closer to empty. The big question is, will we make it?

This is a question that we are asking about the monarch butterfly: Will they make it to Mexico to overwinter? Back in mid-September, we wrapped up our Daisy Marquis Jones Butterfly Beltway Project for the year with a series of monarch butterfly releases at gardens statewide, as well as here on Zoo grounds. The monarchs we released were just starting their impressive journey all the way to Mexico. Lasting more than two months, this journey requires a lot of energy, gained by drinking the nectar from flowers. Every garden along their migration route is like a gas station, where they rest and refuel on their journey. Essential butterfly habitat has been disappearing all over the country, including here in western New York, making it harder for the monarchs to migrate. This is one of the main reasons the Butterfly Beltway Project is so important. We restore habitat through the planting of butterfly gardens, or rest stops, for monarchs.

How can you help? You can reestablish butterfly habitat by planting a butterfly garden, or have the Zoo do it for you, every little bit helps! This program will plant gardens at a private residences, places of worship, businesses, senior centers and schools. Our area is a prime migratory route of the monarchs and even as recently as this week, Zoo staff have seen monarchs migrating through this area.

By making sure your garden has plenty of flowers that still blossom in October (such as aster, golden rod, joe pye weed, sedum and zinnias), you can easily help monarchs on the move.

Questions about butterflies or how to make a garden? Please feel free to contact me at tfowler@senecazoo.org.

- Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

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Learn all about penguins on Columbus Day

Photo by Walter Brooks

Photo by Walter Brooks

This Monday (October 13) is Penguin Awareness Day at the Zoo.

This event is a great opportunity to learn all about our African penguins, why their wild counterparts are in trouble and what your Zoo is doing to help. Learn ways you can help, too!

Come see a Penguin Feeding Demonstration, ask educators and keepers questions, and enter our silent auction to bid for your chance to win a behind-the-scenes tour of our Penguin Building, a penguin painting or a Household Basic Zoo membership. All funds raised during this event will go to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), an organization working to protect African penguins in their natural range. It is sure to be a fun-filled day, and we hope to see you there.

Event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with Zoo admission.

- Kenny Nelson, Interpretation Coordinator

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Scout programs at the Zoo!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photos by Kelli O’Brien

With the change in the season, we also see a change at the Zoo. At least for me that is! Instead of running our summer interpretive programs, I am in full Scout mode.

October through May is the time when we offer many programs for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Daisy Scouts and Brownie Scouts. We offer both daytime and overnight workshops. Daytime workshops are prescheduled and so are many of our overnights. At every workshop, participants experience an animal presentation, a Zoo tour, and get engaged in hands-on educational projects. Some of these Big Nights have specific badge work and others are just for the fun of learning.

DSC_1226Scheduled overnights, or Big Nights, are for troops or packs that do not have enough people on their own to book an overnight, so you share with scouts from other troops. All of our Big Nights take place in the Rocky Coast Gallery, where our polar bears and sea lions reside.

You can have an overnight for your troop or pack by booking a Group Overnight. All our daytime workshops run two and a half hours, either in the morning or afternoon on Saturdays or Sundays, and fulfill a specific badge requirement.

There are minimum and maximum participant numbers for both daytime workshops and overnight programs, so be sure to check out the links above for details, or feel free to give me a call at (585) 295-7398.

The Zoo loves to help the scouting community, and I hope to see you here over the next few months.

- Kenny Nelson, Interpretation Coordinator

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Opportunities abound for ZooTeens

The ZooTeen program, which began in 1993, gives young adults the opportunity to explore their interests in ecology and conservation. ZooTeens spend the summer educating our visitors about Zoo animals and important environmental concepts.

This summer ZooTeens returning to the program had many additional opportunities including presenting ZooTeen stations at a Red Wings game, participating in our traveling ZooMobile program and shadowing our interpretive staff.

They also participated in a citizen science project as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program. The ZooTeen Leaders attended a training held by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) where they learned how to assess the quality of a stream including macro invertebrate collection. ZooTeen Leaders used this information to create a training session for summer ZooTeens. After training other teens, they joined forces and went to Shipbuilder’s Creek at Vosburg Hollow Park in Webster to assess the stream’s health.

Their data will be used by the DEC to decide how the health of the stream should be categorized and if they should send professionals out for further data collection. We are helping the DEC in their efforts to assess every stream in New York State!

- Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

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Sept. 20 is going to be elephantastic

Photo by Christine Quinn

Photo by Christine Quinn

This Saturday is an exciting day! It is Elephant Awareness Day at the Zoo. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn why elephants are important, what the Zoo is doing to help elephants and what you can to help elephants. Check out a short video to see what’s in store.

There are a number of different programs and activities happening all day long. ZooTeens will offer face painting, watch a variety of demonstrations with our elephants, bid in a Silent Auction for an original elephant painting created that day, an Elephant Painting Experience at a date to be determined or a morning spent with an elephant keeper.

Some lucky young visitors may even get a chance to participate in a watermelon eating contest with our elephants.

So what is the Seneca Park Zoo doing to help? The first is supporting the International Elephant Foundation, an organization that works to protect elephants in their natural ranges. The Zoo is also a member of the Elephant Managers Association. This organization works to champion the care of elephants in zoos and move forward the conservation of elephants in their natural ranges.

Come out on this Saturday. Hope to see you here!

- Kenny Nelson, Interpretation Coordinator

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