People Posts

by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

What’s behind the closet door…

March 6th, 2014

We have a couple of closets in the animal department. One of them we refer to as our “cleaning closet” and this is where scrub brushes, mops, disinfectants, and the like are kept. The other one is called our “tool closet”.  This closet is in our office area and our work scheduling calendars are on the door. Inside, as I am sure you can imagine, we keep tools (and more: tape, extension cords, locks, tarps, bungees, cable ties… this list goes on and on).

Tool Closet

I walked into the office last week and found this. Katie is sitting in the closet eating her lunch. Evidently this is the best place to get WiFi reception!

Intern Katie in the closet eating lunch!

I have never before known someone who purchased and ate Uncrustables!

Katie’s lunch the second day I found her in the closet (along with ravioli)

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

The Interns Make Friends With Max

February 25th, 2014

Our Spring 2014 interns, Katie and Jill, got to spend some time in the farmyard with Max and the “Max Scratcher”

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. what’s the “max scratcher” made of?

    Posted by sherry
  2. Keeper Comment :

    It’s an old PVC perch core that has a metal comb attached to one end.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.
Tags: , ,

Interns Learn A Lesson

February 16th, 2014

Being an Animal Keeper requires you to carry certain items with you throughout the day. One of these is a large key ring full of keys. Every once in awhile you will stumble upon a set of keys that have lost their owner. When this happens usually the Keeper who found the keys will relocate them to make it even more difficult for the owner of the keys to find them. This is exactly what happened when a certain Keeper (who shall remain nameless) found a set of unattended intern keys.

Found Keys

Join the conversation:

  1. Great to see the dedication and awareness the keeper who found the keys used to ensure none of the Museum’s animals could be harmed by the loose keys after they were so diligently placed out of harms way.

    :)

    Posted by HRvdb
  2. Yes, exactly

    Posted by Jill

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.
Tags: , ,

Limerick + Quiz = Quizerick?

January 27th, 2014

Sherry’s Christmas 2013 post got me thinking (or rhyming?). It’s been a while since I wrote a poem!

On that note, a limerick quiz to get you thinking:

 

Our tools are eclectic and many

but one keepers love more than any.

A little different are all;

some large and some small.

This is one tool we have in plenty.

 

It’s a bit of a tough guess, but give it a try!

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. What about shovels to pick up plenty of stuff?

    Posted by dj
  2. What about your hands, useful “tool” for all sorts of things.

    Posted by HvdB
  3. If hands isn’t the answer, Auggie, Miss Piggy, the lemurs and the bears think food is a wonderful and yummy tool for enrichment and training.

    Posted by dj
  4. Keeper Comment :

    Hands and Shovels are both really good guesses, but what I had in mind was a little different. It’s an actual tool that most of us keepers carry with us for both routine and unexpected reasons. It’s a bit hard to carry a shovel with you all the time.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  5. A pocket knife (since you usually carry one in your pocket wherever you go)

    Posted by Carrie
  6. A knife (since you usually carry one in your pocket wherever you go)

    Posted by Carrie
  7. a multi-tool.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  8. a communication device like a cell phone, pager or walkie talkie??

    Posted by dj
  9. Keeper Comment :

    Now we’re getting somewhere! The answer will post in a few days…just to keep you all waiting.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  10. Hi Sarah,

    A bit of the past but still enjoy your poems..:)

  11. Keeper Comment :

    I’m glad you enjoy them!

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

New Interns are here

January 18th, 2014

Our interns for the semester arrived on Wednesday. Welcome Jillian and Katherine. They go by Jill and Katie which is very confusing since we already have a Jill and Katy in the department. Nickname suggestions are welcomed!

Jillian and Katherine join our team for the semester

We get first year students from the Zoo and Aquarium Science program at Davidson County Community College and we love having the work with us.

Jillian and Katherine and Katherine learn how to fill out the logbooks on day 1.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Since Aaron calls Jill Sunshine, Mike suggested I be Moonshine! My brother calls me Blondie and I’m not sure I can say on here what my Grandma used to call me. Or Dr. V calls me Katy Lou. Aaron likes to call me Katya or Radar. Any of those work???

    Posted by Katy

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.
Tags: , ,

2013 Animal Department Holiday Potluck Highlights

January 12th, 2014

Every year the Animal Department gets together with our volunteers and has a holiday potluck. There is always good food and good conversations as well as gifts for everyone to enjoy.  Here are some of the highlights of our potluck we had in December.

Kent.

Kent with his beads!

 

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Twas the night before Christmas

January 9th, 2014

As I said, Sarah would soooooooooooooo be able to write my Christmas post to “Twas the Night before Christmas“. Enjoy:

 

Twas the morning of Christmas, and left on her porch, a bag of potatoes from Donna next door!

The bears won’t be hungry this Christmas day; not that they’ll eat them again until May.

The day started rough with glasses amiss, pillows were tossed, the room searched forthwith!

Resigning their fate to the bedroom elves, spare glasses were acquired and some coffee was quelled.

The morning began a mile away in the dark and quiet of the museum’s early day.

Logbooks were stacked to be ordered and checked as the morning went on, there’s no going back to bed!

Treatments were finished, notes were read. “Don’t let the pigs find the pumpkins!” Jill’s note to Donald said.

In Explore the Wild, a present was left. “A gift from the wolves” the unwanted tag read. A gasket was shredded, the pumps’ plug was chewed off. “We’re saving you energy! A gift you didn’t think of!”

As the morning wound down, all the animals were checked. Nothing went horribly wrong this year, how ’bout that?

So thankful we are for this day of the year, when our boss comes in so we can stay here.

“Here” might be close or miles away, but it matters greatly to us to be home Christmas Day.

This year went well, and with a new one in sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Join the conversation:

  1. Hi there,
    My name is Tiffany Pham and I’m the community manager for Dropcam (www.dropcam.com). I wanted to reach out to you in hopes that you will participate in a fun blog challenge. Many of our customers have caught their pets doing some crazy things on their Dropcams, which gave us this idea. We’re asking great bloggers with pets to share some of their funniest quirks and best stories with us. Did your dog steal your food while you weren’t looking? Did your cat ever sing to you? Tell us about it!
    We’d love to get your participation and hear all about your pet if you’re interested in taking part! All you have to do is write a post on your blog about your fur baby and the funny, surprising or heartwarming thing they did. You can include pictures or videos if you would like to jazz it up and presto you’re done! We love sharing some of the great stories that we receive on our social media, so email me the link to your blog post once you’re finished so we can take a look at it and maybe we’ll share yours! We can’t wait to read all about your pet!
    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Tiffany

    Posted by Tiffany Pham
  2. This is awesome! Way to go Sarah!

    Posted by Shawntel

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Christmas 2013

December 25th, 2013

thanks for the sweet potatoes Donna

Twas the night before Christmas and left at my house, a bag of sweet potatoes for the Museum Bears.  (If I were Sarah, I am sure I could have come up with some great rhyme… in fact she probably could write my entire Christmas post to the Poem Twas the night before Christmas- check out her previous poems here and here).

The day started with me very very tired, and unable to find my glasses. I’ve got about 10-15 pillows on my bed and even removing all of them still no glasses. I gave up, found my spare glasses, made a cup of coffee, and made my way to the Museum around 5:15

Here’s the rundown for the day so far:

I move all the logbooks in one space and check out my “to do” lists, and in a room that has light not on a timer so I can see easier.

 

 

Katy has set up the supplies I need for treatments, and Jill has left a note for Donald (click on the note to enlarge it if you want to read it).

all the syringes and bowls and medicines lined up so I can work more efficiently. (Thanks Katy)

Jill’s note to Donald. The last part is my favorite as I have lived through this happening and it is not a pretty sight.

the muskrat had gathered all this food in the 5-10 minutes or so it took me to get my camera and come back

Yesterday, we solved the mystery as to why the waterfall at wolves was not running, so I was able to cross that off my list. (The wolves- I assume the male wolf – ate the electrical wires. That will have to be a separate post at a later date). Concerns about the muskrat were top priority so I donned my headlamp to go check him out. I couldn’t really see him, but did see that he had eaten overnight so I sigh of relief for now.

I fumble around- not getting into any sort of groove.  I put all the diets on the kitchen counter to help me make a plan of attack. My plan of attack is quite chaotic. I start something, realize I can’t see too well in the dark, re group, start something else…things go on like this for a while and before I know it I’ve been here 90 minutes.

Katy warned me that the ferrets would be difficult to keep in their exhibit and would rush the door upon closing. I felt confident in my plan however: I knocked on their door to wake them up (wanting them to use the litter pans before cleaning). Came back in five minutes with a CRATE and put all four inside:

Katy said to put them all in the yellow ring (below) upon leaving and that gives you enough time to close the door.  However, what really gives you enough time to close the door is spilling furotone (oil supplement) on each ferret so that everyone is licking everyone else and not even concerned about the door!

 

It’s light enough so I go make sure I can see the remaining animals. Franklin is busy eating his food and everyone else seems fine.

Franklin eating his lettuce

Donald and his granddaughter Caroline arrive a few minutes before 8AM. Caroline looks tired (I feel her pain), but Donald gets her to pose for the camera. I’ve never seen Donald not smile. It’s really amazing if you think about it. We review the plan for the Farmyard, get Caroline some gloves, and head outside.

Donald reading the note from Jill.

 

 

It takes a little effort to get our vehicles started, but we prevail. I was so hot working inside that I forgot it was just over 30 degrees outside and my drive is more than quite chilly.

I drive through the Farmyard to check on the critters, and then move on to the Explore the Wild Critters.

The alpacas seem fine on this chilly morning

male on the bottom and female towards the top of the den.

I take a bit of a skid through the icy patch at the MIST entrance in Catch the Wind. I hit wolves first. Both the wolves are waiting at the den area. No issues at all here. Everything is fine so move quickly to the bear exhibit.

Mimi, as expected, is sleeping in the house. I wake her, she huffs at me, I feel badly, she huffs at me again, I toss out food, she goes and eats. Gus is snoozing in the cave (sorry about the bad photo): he lifts his head and then puts it back down.

Gus in the den

Lemurs is the next stop. Absolutely no problems here- it’s actually a bit confusing. No one yelled at me, no one peed on me. I did not step in anything I didn’t want to. I did not dump my poop bucket. No lemur exited their stall. I think this is a first on Christmas to not have even one small problem occur. (Although as I type I realize I left the dustpan in the disinfectant can… I’ll have to remember to get that tonight.

The last stop is the bear cliff to check things out and give Yona her meds. I thought this would be a bit difficult, but Virginia has made her way down into the yard, so Yona just needs to stretch, stare at me for a minute or two, and then wander over to me at the fence.

I was even prepared: I had no yogurt cup but grabbed an extra bowl from lemurs to give Yona her meds in.

Yona was easy: “blueberry preserves” worked really well.

I head back to the Farmyard, deal with the raptors, and then head to the building. Dishes goes much better than last year (I just did not wear my glasses).

It’s possibly been one of the easiest Christmas’ I’ve worked – and I’ve worked every Christmas since 1993! I know the afternoon is still coming, but so far, so good. Merry Christmas everyone.

(Click here to read about some of my past Christmas’ at the Museum).

Join the conversation:

  1. Keeper Comment :

    ‘Twas the morning of Christmas, and left on her porch, a bag of potatoes from Donna next door!

    The bears won’t be hungry this Christmas day; not that they’ll eat them again until May.

    The day started rough with glasses amiss, pillows were tossed, the room searched forthwith!

    Resigning their fate to the bedroom elves, spare glasses were acquired and some coffee was quelled.

    The morning began a mile away in the dark and quiet of the museum’s early day.

    Logbooks were stacked to be ordered and checked as the morning went on, there’s no going back to bed!

    Treatments were finished, notes were read. “Don’t let the pigs find the pumpkins!” Jill’s note to Donald said.

    In Explore the Wild, a present was left. “A gift from the wolves” the unwanted tag read. A gasket was shredded, the pumps’ plug was chewed off. “We’re saving you energy! A gift you didn’t think of!”

    As the morning wound down, all the animals were checked. Nothing went horribly wrong this year, how ’bout that?

    So thankful we are for this day of the year, when our boss comes in so we can stay here.

    “Here” might be close or miles away, but it matters greatly to us to be home Christmas Day.

    This year went well, and with a new one in sight,
    “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  2. Sarah for the win!

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Nick and Aaron Seranade Katy

December 23rd, 2013

Recently I was sitting at my desk entering health records when Aaron and Nick appeared at my door!!!

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

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  1. Nice to see that some things never change. :-P

    Posted by Leslie

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Sam and Sam

December 18th, 2013

This is Sam, our newest snake. It is a baby black rat snake. S/he only weighs 11 grams. (Put two nickles in your hand and that’s about how much this snake weighs). Black rat snakes start life with this blotched pattern seen, but once they reach 18 inches or so they exhibit the more typical black-on-top, white-on-bottom pattern that people recognize for this species of snake.

This snake is named after a former volunteer of ours who passed away right before Thanksgiving. Volunteer Sam worked just about every Thursday morning for 15 years. He spent most of the first half of his time with us in the Farmyard, but by the last few years he was hanging out with the Education animals.  The amount of bending and squatting and scrubbing and raking and wiping he did for us is more than I can even count. There was a large black rat snake we used for education programs that Sam would take care of so we thought it would be fitting to name our newest arrival after him.

one of my favorite photos: Sam with opossum (I think this is Donut)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the photo below because it not only has Sam in it all dressed up for an awards luncheon, but also former “family” members: Thea was a keeper at the time of this photo, but you know here as one of the veterinarians we’ve worked with. Cassidy was a youth volunteer and then worked for us for a few years as a Keeper.

Sam Wheeler will be missed and remembered by me and many others.

Thea, Sam, Cassidy, and Karen

 

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  1. Sam was a great volunteer and he will be greatly missed. He was always so quiet, but once you got him talking he had some amazing stories to tell!

    Posted by Katy

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