Posts Tagged ‘Education’

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.


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.


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!


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 , Volunteer
I like volunteering to work with the animals and the Keepers (both are quite exciting and entertaining). I speak several languages including chicken. In another life I teach physics, but mostly I just love to learn (anything!) and be outdoors. When not volunteering I like to watch the bears and photograph around Explore the Wild. Follow me on Twitter @ktraphagen

Christopher goes to School

February 25th, 2011

Christopher, our barred owl that lives outside next to Max the Steer and Chummix the Goat in the Farmyard, recently took a field trip to a local school to visit some second graders. He had a great time. Sherry (the Animal Department Director) gave the students all kinds of interesting information about him (you can read more about barred owls here and here). The students were able to meet several of our eduction animals during a special animal program (I went along with Sherry and it was a great deal of fun!)

Afterward, the students drew some amazing pictures of their favorite animal to visit their classroom. We love this particular one (see below) because it actually tells a story of what happened during the visit. Christopher was being held by Sherry, but he got a little nervous when the students made some noise as they moved from sitting on the floor to their desks. So, instead of sitting quietly on her arm, he spread his wings and tried to fly away. Of course he couldn’t really fly away because Sherry was holding the leash and the little leather jesses that he wears around his legs.

Here is the picture showing Sherry holding Christopher as he tries to fly (note Sherry’s purple Museum of Life & Science shirt, her long hair, and smiling face). I’ve also included a video clip (in slow motion) that shows what it really looked like!

Christopher the Barred Owl visits Second Grade

YouTube Preview Image

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