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 on Aaron’s leg?

June 14th, 2013

It’s been a busy week in the bear yard. Last Friday we were dealing with fence damage from the storm. On Wednesday bear pools were cleaned, the yard was scooped, mowing and weed-eating occurred, and trees were pruned from around fences.

Aaron showed me his leg first thing Thursday morning, and of course I decided to show you. Thougths?

What did Aaron walk into in the bear yard?

 

Even the Duck wants to know

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Chiggars. Ooo.

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Razor burn

    Posted by Jill
  3. Poison Ivy

    Posted by Sarah

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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.

Spotlight: CFO Debbie May

May 28th, 2013

This is Debbie, the Museum’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. She would say I must be desperate to write a post and have nothing to say because she is so uninteresting. (Untrue, however I am desperate to get a good photo of her).

Debbie with wolf 1369 during his transfer physical

Anyone who spends time with Debbie would say she is thoughtful, caring, smart, detail-oriented, well-rounded, and incredibly helpful just to name a few of her traits. Please note, as a disclaimer to my words above, I am not sucking-up: Debbie is not my supervisor.

As a Vice President and CFO of the Museum, she’s responsible for so much- money, the facilities, all the staff, guest relations, reporting to the board of directors… However, she still makes the time to help out with the little, everyday things that make the Museum function. She picks up trash from the ground. She spreads mulch when we’re scrambling to open a new exhibit. She’s epoxied cracks in floors so wheelchairs and strollers roll smoothly. She’s even, as seen below, prepared a wolf crate so we could safely transport wolves across the country.

Debbie getting the wolf carrier ready for transport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She gives of her valuable time- understanding that your time, anyone’s time, is valuable and necessary. It’s critical to our work that we have executives who understand and honor all that it takes to care for the animals (and all the other stuff that makes the Museum run). Debbie is truly one of the good people.

Debbie, and others, attending a lunch discussion about “animal stuff”

Join the conversation:

  1. Yay Debbie! She’s the best!

    Posted by Kristen

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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.

Intern Bethany

May 22nd, 2013

Our summer intern started this week. Meet Bethany. She goes to school with Jamie and Jessica.

 

Awesome boots for working outside!

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Emergency Training: Making Darts

May 20th, 2013

Do you ever wonder what we do on closed Mondays?  (Today, we’re cleaning the bear pool).

We do several Emergency Training Drills a year and a closed Monday is the perfect opportunity. I recently wrote about lemur tracking, we also do full on drills that include fake animal escapes and or damage due to storms or trees down, you might recall when Leslie played a bear. Today’s post is about making darts.

We would potentially use a dart to sedate an escaped bear and maybe even a wolf. Our dart bags are labeled well but without practice it’s a very nerve raking experience. Here you can see several people in different stages of making darts. We of course use water as our “drug” during drills and depending on the size of the animal we would be darting, the amount of “drugs” vary. So we practice making lots and lots of darts, for all the potential animal sizes. Afterwards we go outside and practice shooting them into a target- no not one of Sherry’s stuffed animals. In the event of a real emergency there always has to be two people making darts together. So during practice we pair up in teams.

Several of us making darts, can you pick out the non-keepers in the picture?

Sarah and Maya making darts

Marilyn focusing on her darts

Annie, Katy, and Jessi

You can see the back of Mike in this picture practicing with us

 

Next, we went outside and practiced shooting our darts into two targets.

We make a radio call alerting all staff of our plans so no one accidentally walks out or wonders what in the world we are doing.

Oops Jessi missed the target

 

 

 

 

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Lemur Tracking Drill

May 15th, 2013

We recently had a Lemur Tracking Drill. Sherry informed us that two “lemurs” were hidden around campus and we had an hour to find them. Off we went…

Me, Sarah, Kent, and Aaron begin Lemur tracking

Sarah picking up a strong signal behind the Donkey/Goat yard

Aaron went into the woods between alpaca and pigs to see what he could pick up on his tracker

Duck was curious about Aaron in the woods

As was Max

We then decided to go out to the parking lot since our signal was pointing us in that direction.

Quickly there after,  we found the first lemur in a tree.

The first lemur was found in a tree

After feeling successful about finding the first lemur so quickly we decided to split up at the boardwalk. Sarah and I headed to Explore the Wild and Aaron and Kent headed to Catch the Wind. Shortly there after,  the guys radioed us to meet them at the Into the Mist exhibit. Kent had spotted the second lemur on top of an umbrella!

With both lemurs found we headed back to the building

Successful Tracking

Join the conversation:

  1. Kent looks thrilled about getting cuddled by Aaron.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Rummage Sale is tomorrow!!

May 3rd, 2013

Come join Zookeepers and Volunteers from The Museum of Life and Science, Carolina Tiger Rescue, and Duke lemur Center for their annual Rummage Sale.

From 7 a.m. to noon under the picnic dome at the Museum of Life and Science

Great prices on a huge variety of stuff! And all proceeds benefit our local Piedmont AAZK.

Join the conversation:

  1. hope it was successful!

    Posted by sherry

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Silly Times

April 29th, 2013

The beginning of Spring brings all kinds of changes to the Animal Department. The bears are up and playing, the Ring-Tailed Lemurs get to stay outside in the yard, and the Wetlands explode with activity. One of our tasks for Spring includes removing the hay in the bear house. We put a good amount of hay on both sides of the bear house for the winter. It gets changed during supercleans and then removed completely once Spring arrives. There are 3 of us on the Explore the Wild team, Marilyn, Jessi and myself. We always try to work hard and have fun. But sometimes we butt heads. Below will be photo evidence of one of those times.

Marilyn was determined to get all of the bags of old hay to the compost in one load. Jessi and I were totally fine with making more than one trip. So we let her do what she wanted and I took lots of pictures.

 

First she tries to sit on the bags and immediately slides off the Mule

After several minutes she decides to hold one of the bags while riding in the back of the Mule

We drove from bears to lemurs before two bags fell off the vehicle, at this point Jessi and I are cracking up laughing!

We finally arrive at compost and Marilyn was successful at getting all the hay there in one load as well as making Jessi and I laugh for at least 15 minutes straight

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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.

A Goodbye Present!

April 25th, 2013

Interns Jamie and Jessica finished their work with us last week and gave us a goodbye present.

Jamie, on the left crying, painted the picture for us that Jessica is holding.

 

We were happy and impressed with our present:

Sarah, Kimberly, and Jessi (L-R)

We’ll miss Jamie and Jessica and wish them well at their summer internship sites (Jessica is heading to the Western NC Nature Center in Asheville and Jamie is heading to the Knoxville Zoo).

Join the conversation:

  1. So sweet! I’m going to miss those ladies.

    Posted by Leslie
  2. Miss you all bunches, I cant wait to come back and visit!!

    Posted by Jamie Gray

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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.

Career Day

April 21st, 2013

Most of the education work we animal keepers are asked to do happens on museum grounds in the form of programs, events and blog posts. Every once in a while something fun pops up and one of us gets to go out into the world to spread our knowledge to the sponge-like minds of eager children and adults alike.

 

Well, maybe that’s pushing things a bit. This event wasn’t as much about “spreading knowledge” and “eager children” as much as it was about a 4 hour, 200+ person career fair for 8th graders. Think of speed dating but with potential career paths rather than potential dates.

 

First things first, I needed to collect a bunch of things from around the office to bring with me that showcase what animal keepers do.

stuff

Next I asked my fellow keepers what tools or objects represent their jobs best.

My favorite responses: “fecal cups!!!” “keys” and “my clicker.”

The day of the fair arrived and I set up my table. This was all happening at Neal Middle School, a local magnet school that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.

table

The kids came in groups of 2 -3 classes at a time. I was surprised and really happy to see how many of these students were dressed in suits and ties or conservative business attire and even more so by the number that, without any trepidation, approached me, shook my hand and introduced themselves.

These two boys stuck around for a while and asked so many great questions about the job that I asked for a photo for the blog!

students

I was one of ten careers being represented that morning. The others were the Boy Scouts of America, the Mayor’s Office, a pilot for US Airways, Habitat for Humanity, a Duke University pediatric social worker, the headmistress of a Montessori School, Durham Technical Community College, “Work Smart” a local IT outsourcing company, and the owner of a small business named, “The Art of Style.”

Overall, it was far more tiring than my typical Farmyard morning, but totally worth it. The kids were awesome, the teachers appreciative and the other careers present had some amazing stories to share. I’m very glad I got to spend a morning with them all!

Join the conversation:

  1. If a Zookeeper would have come to my Middle School it wouldn’t have taken me so long to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    Posted by kimberly

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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.

The Produce Bomber Strikes Again.

April 17th, 2013

If I only had a video camera to show you how the following played out you would laugh so hard.

my gift bags from Donna

Last week, I approached my driveway at 9 PM, I stop the car because someone is at the foot of the driveway. I assume it’s a dog walker, but my neighbor turns around says something like “oh…I’ve been caught” and starts to run back to her house with a large grocery bag in her arms.

I yell for her to come on back. I’m laughing as I do this (and I hope Donna is too). I then yell “Does it need to be refrigerated?” The conversation continues back and forth somewhat. I park the car and come out to greet her. We chat for a minute or so - she is embarrassed. (Me, I’m thankful for the gifts).  She places the bag into my truck (which has been parked in the driveway). She leaves walking away talking about making “Popsicles” for the critters since it’s been so hot.

I thank her and head to the truck to not only find the large grocery bag she just placed there (watermelon inside), but three other grocery bags. I evidently caught her on her last drop off rather than her first one!

 

this week’s gifts from the “produce bomber”

People like Donna and all that she does for us and the animals make days like Monday a little bit easier.  THANKS DONNA!!!!!

Join the conversation:

  1. What do you do with the marshmellow creme?

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Tell Donna I made “Pina Colada” popsicles/ice cubes for the critters out of the pineapple and coconut! We haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure they’ll be a hit.

    Wendy- I don’t know what other keepers use Fluff for (bears maybe?), but Jill and I used a small amount last fall to make popcorn balls for pig enrichment.

    Posted by Sarah
  3. Director Comment :

    fluff is a good thing to mix bear medicine in for sure. (Katy likes it too).

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  4. Usually Jill eats all the fluff before the animals can get any!!!

    Posted by Katy

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