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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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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