Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 3 at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Name: Emily Burland
Class Year: 2018
Hometown: Olmsted Falls, OH
Internship: Conservation Education
Location: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

I’m just starting my third week as an intern here at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and it’s been a great two weeks! I work in the Reinberger Education Center, which is where most of the education staff is headquartered. There are four general areas of Conservation Education here at the zoo and I’m basically the catch-all intern for the whole department: I’m here if anyone needs my help. My supervisor works with the fee-based and school programs, so I help out the majority of the time with what she’s doing. However, there are a few projects that are dedicated to me. One of them is data entry for the department’s evaluation records. The department is giving pre and post experience surveys to various program participants for their records, and I work with all of those. For me, that means inputting data in a huge spread sheet and then uploading the information into a computer program that presents the data. I am also researching some other methods to measure guest conservation action (which means reading tons of journal articles). Another crucial part of the internship is eventually giving out guest surveys before and after certain programs, like giraffe feeding and the animal shows. I went to those locations and scouted out potential areas to collect data and saw some cute animals on the way. So far, I’ve entered lots of data, did some research, observed around the zoo, and helped out with a few educational programs. The first week, there was a school group here to learn about genetic diversity in captive animal populations, so I brought a few biofacts, specifically a rhino horn and elephant tusk, to the room for the kids to pass around. This past week, I observed a program for Cleveland Municipal School District teachers who are learning about various careers in zoos to teach their kids. I actually learned a lot about the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo right along with them. We talked about their sustainability practices, including their storm water use and ZooPoo compost (if you need high quality compost, we sell it!). We also talked about a few different career opportunities in the zoo, including horticulture, animal care, and conservation work. I also fed Crikey, a Bennett’s Wallaby, which was probably the highlight of my week. This week, the kids’ summer camps started, so I’ll be helping out with whatever they need me to do and then I’ll be meeting with Kyle, the other Otterbein student who’s interning in the Conservation and Science department. I’m looking forward to helping with all of the programs and working with Kyle this summer! 

Crikey, the Bennett's Wallaby in the Ambassador Animal program

I was observing guest movement on the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Deck, so of course I had to get a picture. The zoo sells lettuce leaves that guests can feed the giraffes.

The education building faces the elephant yard – it’s easy to be distracted by the herd outside! There are four females and one male elephant.

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