Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update from Jessica Curtis at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX

This summer is flying by faster than I imagined..
I'm a "Zoo Teacher" at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler Texas, and I work with kids ranging in age from 4 to 16 years old. In addition to that I get to do Discovery Carts through out the entire zoo. I get to teach people about all different kinds of animals such as cats, giraffe, rhinos, elephants, birds, reptiles, etc.. I love doing these because I get to show people a real elephant tooth, a rhino horn or a piece of ribbon that shows how long a giraffes tongue really is; Or even how far a puma/mountain lion can jump with a running start (40 feet!). And people of all ages absolutely seem to love it. I also get to go out and do outreaches to local parks, libraries, and elderly homes.

Today we started our Zoo-niversity camp. It's for highschool students (9th -12th grade) who want to see what its like to be a zoo keeper. They get to work side by side the keepers cleaning exhibits, spend some time with the vet, our registrar, the commisary, and all other aspects of the zoo. This is the first time the zoo has done it and it seems to be going very well so far.

I've also been able to shadow different departments in the zoo, like the birds and reptile department, mammals 2 and mammals 1. The mammals 1 department is by far my favorite department. Shadowing this department and having my experience in the education department has really showed me that I do not want a career in education. There's just way too much down time. I can't sit around and do nothing for days at a time. Yes we create lesson plans and cut out tons of paper and foam crafts ( I might have carpel tunnel by the time this internship is over, hahaha), but that doesn't take much time at all. I would love to work in a zoo setting with hoofstock (especially giraffe, kudu, and zebra) as well as rhino and elephants. Here at the Caldwell Zoo we have training shows and meet the keepers, and that is the perfect amount of education for me. I can't see myself as a Zoo Teacher.. the kids are absolutely amazing and very suprising, but not for me.

But that's the point of an internship, it helps you realize what you truly want to do..

*~Jess Curtis~*

Wildlife Care&Education Club-Vice President
Sugar Makers-Treasurer

"I've always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don't fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth. And somehow we humans think we're smarter—what a joke."- Pink

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