I have been working full-time as the Conservation Education Coordinator here at the Zoo for the last four years. In this time I have managed many programs, including the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation Butterfly Beltway Program, Scout and Bunk with Beasts Overnights programs, Your Green Backyard Exhibit and workshops and several other tasks.
This year, we’ve mixed things up in the Education Department a bit, which offered me the opportunity to take on a new role, which I’m very excited about. My new position is Youth and School Groups Programs Coordinator. In this new role, I will be overseeing our teen programs as well as tours, career programming, expeditions and animal presentations. I also have the unique opportunity to develop some new programming aimed at teachers; I will be developing some professional development programs for teachers and a distance learning program for classrooms that cannot otherwise come to the Zoo.
I am really looking forward to working with teens in the venue of the Zoo. I have worked with this age group in other capacities and have always found it invigorating. Teens have so much energy and passion for the topics they are most excited about. Working with teens who have chosen the Zoo is an exciting opportunity to develop deeper connections to conservation topics. I am looking forward to seeing their creativity in action as they develop new ways to help the public understand how important it is to help our planet and the animals we share it with.
I am happy to report that you will still see me in a few of my old roles as well. I am still in charge of our on-site recycling efforts, managing our bottle program, Green Gazebo and Go Green! Recycle Rallies. Additionally, I will still be able to hang out in the Dig Zone in our A Step Into Africa Exhibit, my favorite place in the whole Zoo (see my previous blogs)! I also look forward to continuing sharing my love of the Bornean orangutans and the turtles/tortoises in our upcoming Animal Conservation Days on May 11 and May 18, respectively. And from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday is Party for the Planet, a conservation awareness event which melds some of our previous events into one big celebration for Earth Day weekend.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Zoo this Saturday for Party for the Planet!
– Tina Crandall-Gommel, Youth and Schools Groups Program Coordinator