Posts Tagged ‘Cassidy’

by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Kiwi and Craisins

November 15th, 2010

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since Keeper Cassidy has left, and I’ve taken over training (for the time being) the red ruffed lemurs.  They are really neat to work closely with– such different personalities from the more hyper ringtails!

It took a few weeks for Cassidy to transfer the lemurs over to me.  First, I just stood there while she trained and watched her hand cues, listened to her verbals cues, and made sure I was noting exactly when she was bridging the behavior  (using her clicker to let the animal know “That right there is the exact behavior I’m asking you to do!”).  Then, Cassidy would ask for a behavior and click it, and I got to hand out all the treats ( kiwi and craisins).  Once they were comfortable with that, she’d ask, I’d click  (getting politely corrected when I did it wrong)  and give the treat.  Finally, I got to do all three steps with Cassidy around, and then alone.  The ruffed did a great job transferring over; they really didn’t seem to have any issues with a new person.  This is good, because eventually I will transfer them again to a new keeper!

Here’s a video of Cassidy working with Cynthia. You can see her calling her to come, touching her tail,  feet,  rib cage and neck, and lifting up her hand.  “Hand” is in it’s earliest stages… eventually we’d like to be able to manipulate and get a good look at their hands without them pulling away.

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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.

QuikPost: cutest picture ever?!?

October 17th, 2010

This is Henry, our woodchuck. Cassidy took this photo on Henry’s first day here.

Henry, our Woodchuck

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  1. Has he chucked any wood yet???

    Hi Henry.

    Posted by Mike
  2. Director Comment :

    He is chewing on all sorts of things we’d rather him not chew on…

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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by , Keeper
I started volunteering at the museum when I was 13 (I'm 22, and they pay me now, which is nice). Favorite work activities include, but are not limited to: bathing our steer, talking about bears, playing guitar (sometimes for the animals) and riding my bike around grounds. And blogging, of course.
I work Tues-Sat and can be tweeched @ernbrn.

Winter Wonderland

February 2nd, 2010

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve all had great snow days. There’s still a good bit of snow outside here that you can come see (we’re open even though schools aren’t–although some of the outside is still closed because of ice), but I have more pictures of the fresh snow that Cassidy took on Saturday.

Here’s a video of the drive from the building up to the top of the boardwalk in the fresh and falling snow:

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That’s Larry and Sherry driving in the other vehicle. The video stops there because Cassidy had to get out to check on Virginia up on the cliff (her boyfriend, Trace, was taking the video, and I was working inside). Up on the cliff of the bear exhibit is a place called The Pit. It’s basically a pit that the bears like to sleep in. It’s Virginia’s favorite hangout. Here she is all snow covered:

You can tell that her coat is effective at keeping her body heat in because her body heat is not escaping and melting the snow on the outside of her coat. Here’s Ursula bear enjoying some snow digging. You’ll see her digging a little bit, pausing because she hears something, or perhaps to craft a snow inspired poem like Robert Frost, and then continue digging.

YouTube Preview Image

And here’s a good shot of the snow covered boardwalk and icy wetlands:

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by , Keeper
I started volunteering at the museum when I was 13 (I'm 22, and they pay me now, which is nice). Favorite work activities include, but are not limited to: bathing our steer, talking about bears, playing guitar (sometimes for the animals) and riding my bike around grounds. And blogging, of course.
I work Tues-Sat and can be tweeched @ernbrn.

Buildin’ Stuff

February 23rd, 2009
If it looks like it’s going to be a fairly normal week (which rarely happens, mind you), then there’s usually time for some unplanned project time. A “fairly normal” week would include: normal staffing (no one out sick, out on vacation, or otherwise unable to perform as usual), no holidays, no hurricanes/tornadoes/snowstorms/torrential downpours, no huge planned projects or deliveries or special cleans requiring a lot of the keepers, no special events at the Museum (such as Birdapalooza or Wild About Animals Day), no training sessions or exercises, no extra meetings, no veterinary emergencies or veterinary specialists coming out, no parties or special potlucks, and normal volunteer help. In fact, now that I think about it: If it looks like it’s going to be a fairly abnormal week (which rarely happens, mind you), then there’s usually time for some unplanned projects!

Last week, Kristen asked me if I could make some holey logs for the lemurs and bears. This was a perfect project to assign me, as the weather has been gorgeous and I look for any opportunity to A) go outside in gorgeous weather and B) use power tools. I worked on that out in the sunshine while Cassidy worked outside with me on some projects using fire hose. After we were done, we both worked on making some CD mobiles for various animals (thanks to Cassidy’s cool idea, and my large pile of old scratched up CDs) Here are some pictures of our afternoon of buldin‘ stuff.


Sawing logs for bears and lemurs. We drill holes in the logs and put raisins in the holes for them to find and dig out.

Cassidy is making a lemur hammock out of fire hose. It’s the same fire hose that was donated to us by the Durham Fire Department that we used to make a bear hammock. Cassidy thinks about safety 1st, and where she puts the drill 2nd!

Suggested lemur hammock use


Cassidy also made a fire hose Frisbee for Lightning the donkey.

We gave it a test-run. It works!

And a finished CD mobile. A fun day of making things!

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  1. Could you provide instructions on how you made the firehose frisbee?I think the primates I work with would love that.Thanks

    Posted by Anonymous
  2. Anonymous,The firehose frisbee is a modified version Cassidy made of these directions from the Honolulu Zoo: http://www.honoluluzoo.org/Zookeepers_Journal/Firehose_Browse_hanger.pdf. Cassidy says it's the same weaving pattern using short firehose pieces that get closed off after the first weaving. Use bolts to secure the loose ends. They also have instructions for a firehose ball that we've made (and I've used smaller material such as cloth belts to make a smaller/lighter version of this also): http://www.honoluluzoo.org/enrichment_firehose_ball.htmGood luck!

    Posted by Erin Brown
  3. I would also like to know how to make the firehose frisbee for primates I work with but the link you posted for the directions isn’t working for me. If you could send me the directions or post them on here I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

    Posted by Christy
  4. Keeper Comment :

    It looks like the Honolulu Zoo no longer has that link on their website. Here’s a similar idea to the browse holder frisbee:

    http://zookeepersjournal.com/wiki/index.php?title=Browse_Hanger

    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.

Spotlight: Cassidy Walpole

June 26th, 2008

A few weeks ago Kristen wrote a post about our new keeper, Cassidy. I first met Cassidy about 13 years ago when she started volunteering in the animal department. She was a great “youth partner”. So great, that in 1998 she was the Durham Volunteer Center’s Youth Volunteer of the Year and won the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service that same year.

She went off to college, and my interaction with Cassidy was limited to providing references for her, for school and her two previous jobs at Grandfather Mountain and The Duke Lemur Center. So, I was very excited when a job opened up here at the beginning of the year and she applied. Like Cassidy, several of the current animal keepers started as volunteers. I like to think that it was her initial time with us at the Museum that got her excited about working with animals as an adult.

As with all the other great people who work with us, Cassidy brings unique interests and skills. Her experience working with lemurs is one of her unique contributions to our crew, and with the exception of Keeper Kent, Dr. Staab-Carter and myself, has the most years of experience in the animal department. We’ll try and get Cassidy to write a “guest blogger” post to the blog so you can hear from her directly, but for now since she’s only been a keeper for 4 months, she’s still learning the ropes.

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Update on our new keeper

June 3rd, 2008

A while ago, I wrote about all our keepers and how each of their strengths make our animal department team better. We were in the process of hiring a new keeper then, so I thought I’d give an update. New keeper Cassidy has worked in the past with lemurs and also with black bears and other native NC wildlife. She was actually a volunteer here at the museum when she was a teenager!
One of the great things about having a new person around is having a new set of eyes to see areas in which we can improve. Cassidy thought it would be great to have some climbing sticks in our snake exhibits and voila, a few days later, our yellow rat snake (who is often buried under mulch and not visible) was climbing and using his new sticks!

I also have to give a shout out to parttime keeper Erin, who got no credit in my last post, but whose humor and affable nature add so much to our team!

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