Posts Tagged ‘keepers’

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.

Kent Steps in to Help

November 10th, 2013

Compared to a “normal” 8AM – 5PM, Monday-Friday job, we have rather weird working schedules here in the animal department. For example, in the 5 days a week I work, I have 4 different sets of hours. Keepers show up between 7 and 8AM (sometimes even earlier on crazy days) and stay between 3PM and 5:30PM depending on their scheduled work week. Some keepers work Sunday – Thursday, some work Tuesday – Saturday, some work Monday – Friday and one keeper is currently working Thursday – Monday. It doesn’t take all that long to get used to, but I’ve gotten many comments from people in the outside world similar to, “how do you remember when you work?” After a while, it just becomes routine and I, for one, appreciate the daily change up; it makes my day go by faster.

 

When keepers stay until 5:30PM, they’re called “closers.” Closers always work in teams of 2 and are in charge of doing the final animal checks, feeding the critters dinner, and locking everything up for the evening. This past week, Sherry stepped in to close because we’ve been a bit short-handed in the department. There’s a running joke in the department that when Sherry closes with you, you’ll have to do all the work and she’ll sit in her office with her feet up. For the record, I’ve closed with Sherry many times and never once has she sat around with her feet up. However, the joke continues on and she’s a really good sport about it.

 

At 5:03, Kent had clocked out for the night to go home but he and I were hanging around in the office chatting when Sherry walks in and asks him to stay and close for her because she had other boss things to be doing –that’s not really what she said. I don’t actually remember the reason so I mentally filed it into the “boss things” category–. Kent agrees, Sherry heads off to do her boss things, and Kent walks into Sherry’s office to help close.

Kent closing, like a boss.

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    Thanks for the shout-out. So, the real reasons why I don’t put my feet up on my desk:
    1. my desk is typically too messy to find a space.
    2. you know where our shoes have been… I don’t want that on my desk…
    I’ll have to disinfect that section of desk where Kent’s feet were!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. Kent looks good as a supervisor!

    Posted by Katy

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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.

Bug Bites

September 6th, 2013

Kimberly has probably had the worst summer of all the keepers in regards to be attacked, eaten, rashed, and down right knocked out for the count from all the bug bites she’s gotten. I missed the photo op to get good photos of her bites (also probably insensitive of me to say “hold still, I need to get a photo for the blog” as her legs were swelling). I was tempted to set this up as a quiz and have you ID the keeper’s thumb and arm/leg, however since I don’t remember exactly who had which bite it seems unfair.

Okay, this last one is a scratch, but Kent had no bug bites to show me.

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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.

Goodbye and Good-riddance to Andrea

June 9th, 2013

Friday was a doozie of a day. Tropical Storm Andrea made for quite the adventure. Jessi and Aaron started checking on all the animals and fences at 7:00. I received a call from them at 7:15 saying trees were down on the bear fence on the cliff- so much so that the bears could climb out.

I came in. Jessi and Aaron had confirmed all the bears, and all the animals at the museum were where they were supposed to be and the only damage was to the bear fence. It took us until about 9 AM to get all the bears secure in the house, and then the work began to get the big tree(s) off the fence. The rain held off for the first couple of hours, but the rest of the work took place in anywhere from drizzling to more-often-than-not torrential rain. Daniel and Dale from the Facilities staff worked hard for almost an hour and a half to get the tree cut off the fence.

Dale, one of our Facilities Staff members, works on clearing the trees.

We cleared large sections of the top of the tree by tossing them, pushing them, pulling them with ropes, down into the bear yard. Dickerson fence arrived at 2 PM to repair the fence and Daniel got the electric lines and insulators rehung. Much of the bear yard was covered in water, including electric fence lines, so the bears spent the night in the house. (The Farmyard rabbits spent the night in the main building because there home was flooded out too). At 7 PM it was bright and sunny- it was very weird being in Explore the Wild in the bright sun given how the rest of my time was spent earlier in the day.

By 8:30 AM Saturday morning, the water had subsided enough and the electric fence was confirmed to be operational so the bears were let out.

This is such an abbreviated tale of what occurred Friday. I could share with you about scrapes and bruises and other tweaks and injuries that staff received; radios missing in sections of trees that fortunately, were eventually found and will maybe work again after drying out;  puddles that you thought were only a couple of inches deep but all of a sudden your knee was wet;  flooding and leaking…flooding and leaking just about everywhere.

Another storm is behind us. Let’s hope the next storm is far off in the future… well after my retirement.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Great Job Everyone, sounds like quite a day!

    Posted by kimberly
  2. What a dedicated (and amazing) group of people to keep all the animals safe and dry even at their own personal discomfort!!! Thank you!!!!

    Posted by dj
  3. PS amendment “own personal discomfort and safety”!!!!! Thank you again!!!!

    Posted by dj
  4. Director Comment :

    Thanks DJ.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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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.

Giving me Grief

March 16th, 2013

After our department meeting on Thursday I got a lot of lip from the keepers about the crappy pictures I take of them and then post on the blog. Forever, they now live with ruined lives because the only photos out there of them are poor and ugly. Obviously, I disagree, but we took some new photos right after the meeting. Here you go:

Kimberly approved this photo.

 

I hope Sarah approves of this photo!

 A close up of Bugsy sleeping (he did not approve of this photo).

 

There was a much better one of Jill, but she didn’t want me to post it. I assume she is fine with this photo!

 

 

And Finally, there is nothing better than an “Aaron hugging Kent” photo:

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Kent’s expression in the hugging photos are priceless.

    Posted by Leslie
  2. I’ll approve of Bugsy’s photo for him. He looks like a gummy bear with long ears. Anything that adorable deserves to be shared with the rest of the world.

    My photo’s not so bad, either.

    Posted by Sarah
  3. I want you to post the other one of Jill :)

    Posted by kimberly
  4. Am I the only one that noticed the stellar picture of Marilyn in the background or Kimberly’s photo? That one deserves and award!

    Posted by Sarah
  5. Director Comment :

    Shhh…
    (next time I will crop the photo so we don’t see Marilyn’s tongue sticking out!)

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Happy Holidays

December 3rd, 2012

Every year the museum has put on Santa train. This year we were give the opportunity to decorate a tree, so the animal department got some stuff together and decided to give it a try.

 

We found various stuffed animals , an owl tree topper, some pre-made ornaments and some that the keepers painted themselves. The garland that hangs on the tree is made from the twine that is from our hay bales. We made popcorn and craisin rope so the birds and squirrels could get a snack. We also made peanut butter pine cones dipped in bird seed.

An afterthought we added to the tree were snake skins which arent in the picture.

Join the conversation:

  1. It looks beautiful at night too!

    Posted by Leslie
  2. The snake skins have been a real crowd pleaser with the human animals and the popcorn has been very popular with the squirrels. Awesome tree animal department!

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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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.

Farewell Mikey

April 13th, 2012

Blog readers all over the world are in mourning because Mikey will be leaving the Museum. Maybe with enough comments we can convince him to stay on board as a guest blogger. :)

Mikey is heading to Greensboro to more intensely pursue his Master’s degree. He’s been taking one class each semester, which would put him on track for completion somewhere around 2020- a bit longer than desired.  We’ll miss his sense of humor, his big smile, his passion for reptiles, and his BLOG POSTS more than anything else. Below are some of my favorite posts he’s written.

Please wish him well in his future endeavors!

 

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/05/29/every-day-is-a-walk-in-the-park/.  (THIS ONE IS MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE)

 

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/02/13/no-such-thing-as-a-poisonous-snake-part-2/

 

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/03/15/so-you-like-the-lemurs/

 

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/08/19/come-to-the-dark-side-we-have-cookies/

 

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/10/05/dont-let-them-go-part-3/

Join the conversation:

  1. Bye, Mikey! Keep in touch!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Noooo! So sad! But best wishes!

    Posted by Libby
  3. Good luck Mikey! I’ll miss you!

    Posted by Natalie
  4. It is indeed a sad day, Mikey’s last day here at the Museum.
    We will miss you, but I get the feeling that we’ll be hearing from you again.
    Good luck!!

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  5. Thanks for the tour you gave us (ScienceOnline) back in January – it was a great tour! I’m sad I won’t get to see you ’round the Museum (and the bears!!). Good luck!

    Posted by Stephanie Brown
  6. Thanks for all the well wishes everyone! Sorry for the delayed reply- moving is always stinky, but I finally got my internet hooked up again! :)

    I’ll definitely miss all the fun I had everyday, playing with the animals and other staff. And I’ll REALLY miss writing on the blog- I enjoyed thinking up fun topics and always reading your great comments!

    Thank you everyone who made my time at the museum such a worthwhile and memorable event, I’ll miss it and you guys tons. But have no fear, I’ll be around – us Superheros are good like that! :)

    See you soon!

    Posted by Mikey

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Trash anyone?

February 10th, 2012

From left to right: wolf exhibit, bear exhibit, farmyard exhibits, lemur exhibit.

Anyone who has been in the animal keeping profession knows that part of the job includes the unfortunate task of pulling trash out of the animal exhibits. On some level it is expected that a random object will occasionally be found in an animal’s enclosure, due to a visitor accidentally dropping something and not being able to recover it (please don’t try to retrieve the item yourself!). However, we have noticed the amount of trash in the exhibits increase significantly over the last couple of years.

By far, we find the most trash in the farmyard exhibits.

Keeper Katy focuses in the vet area of the animal department, so she is notified whenever anything is found in an exhibit so that we can put a “watch” on the animal for behavioral changes in case it ingested part of the item/food/trash. Since the keepers started finding items more frequently, Katy decided to start saving all the trash to see just how much was collected over the course of 2011.

The amount of trash in these pictures might astonish you, but what’s even more astonishing is that Katy didn’t start saving the items until the Spring of 2011.  So there’s a good four months worth of trash not included in these pictures. On top of that, there were times that the keepers forgot to keep the items for Katy, so those weren’t added to the bags either. I know there were at least three occasions where I forgot to save the trash for Katy, and I threw it away after pulling it from the enclosure.

The contents in this picture are a prime example of why we don't allow balloons on grounds. The outcome could have been very bad if one of our bears had ingested the helium balloon you see in the bag on the right.

There are times when a visitor accidentally drops something in an exhibit and they find a museum staff member to let them know. This is the best thing to do because the staff member will radio the keepers, and it allows us to remove the article from the exhibit as soon as possible.

Above: Here’s a closer look at some of the items we found in the farmyard. The mangled Mountain Dew can you see to the right came from the donkey and goat yard, and clearly it had been chewed on and ripped up by one or all of them. Worrisome for the keepers!

Here’s my personal favorite, and it was found in Lightning the donkey’s stall one morning. Unfortunately it was mixed in with some of his hay and could have been ingested fairly easily. It’s a hair attachment with feathers, and Kent saved this one and has it hanging up above his desk.

It’s nice to see that when our visitors are eating chips and drinking soda, they are trying to be healthy about it. However, these items are not healthy for our animals, even if they are “baked” or “diet”!

Katy has already started collecting exhibit trash for 2012, so watch for the blog post in early 2013 to see what we collected over the course of this year.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. It’s not just things being dropped in that are worrisome. Some of our animals will steal things from guests right off the railings or even from their hands! I rescued many applesauce coated toddler spoons from the donkey and goats last summer and the pigs have stolen plastic snack baggies right through the fencing. I like to ask guests to stand an arms’ length away from the fences if they have food or drinks, just to be safe.

    Posted by Sarah

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

QuikPost: Pranksters

January 31st, 2012

Once again, this is what happens when you leave your locker open and then leave for the day…

It looks like pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down was stuffed into Aaron's locker.

 

We are definitely a group of pranksters around here. Check out some other posts about the pranks we’ve pulled.

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/08/19/come-to-the-dark-side-we-have-cookies/

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2011/01/12/fun-with-a-fake-sheep/

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2010/08/22/quik-postphone-messages/

http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2009/06/26/why-you-should-never-go-on-vacation/

OK, this one isn’t a prank, but it’s a darn good post!  http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2008/08/28/summer-breeze-makes-me-feel-fine/

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I’ve started collecting stuff for the next open locker!!!

    Posted by Katy
  2. Keeper Comment :

    This was by far the most bonding experience between keepers and so much fun!

    Posted by Kimberly Lawson

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

QuikPost: Mikey’s desk is clean!!

November 7th, 2011

Being that we are animal keepers, you can probably imagine we spend far more time cleaning our animals’ spaces than we do cleaning our own. At work our space is the Animal Department office, and you can see from the picture below that it is a bit disheveled! However, you also have to keep in mind that there are six of us who share a space that is approximately 10 feet by 18 feet in size!

Believe it or not, there is actually order to this chaos...

Some of the keepers’ desks tend to stay a bit tidier than others, and since all of our desks are really just one long desk split six ways, it’s a fact of life that we just have to accept how tidy (or untidy) our neighbors decide to be.

Today I walked into the office, and Mikey proudly pointed out that he had actually cleaned his desk! I was astonished and told him it was worthy of a blog post. :) (That smiley is for you Mikey…)  Now, if we can only convince his NEIGHBOR to clean HER desk (ahem, Jill) that will be the blog post of the year!!

Mikey's desk nice and clean! (He rewarded himself with a piece of candy!)

 

Aaaand Jill's desk next to Mikey's. But as long as it makes sense to Jill, that's all that matters!

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Jill’s desk looked tidier than normal today- I guess that’s clean for her

    Posted by Kimberly

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

The thrills of working around construction….

September 19th, 2011

You may have seen the previous post that Karyn wrote about new flooring being installed on our support hall. Well, this week has been difficult for the keepers because everything is out of place and out of whack. However, even in light of the craziness that we are currently enduring, people are working through it like champs. In fact, we are trying to find amusement in the chaos wherever we can. The fact that we have to crawl through the small viewing windows of our snake cage exhibits just to gain access to an entire hall of animal exhibits is probably one of the most humorous (if you’re watching someone else crawl through) and annoying (if you’re the one doing the crawling) things that we are having to deal with. Here’s some pictures of us having some fun this morning as we work!

Our amazing volunteer, Annie, attempts to climb through the snake window first thing in the morning to get fresh water for one of our education critters.

Ding ding! Order up at the service window!

I decided to see if I could fit through the top window. Annie figured this was the perfect opportunity to get back at me for the photo I took of her!;)

"Hmmmmm... how should I go about this?"

 

At this point, I thought I might actually be stuck... but that would be way too embarrassing to ever live down with my co-workers, so I squeezed through.

It was THIS position that finally made me realize what a bad idea this was, and that I should have gone back instead of forward. Ouch!

Whew! The worst is over!

I decided to demonstrate another way to go through the windows on my way back out.

So far, so good...

OK, a bit hard on the knees and shins right here. I'm too old for this!

But while I'm here, I might as well get my exercise in for the day and do some push-ups. Hey, no gym tonight!

 

Join the conversation:

  1. We told you it was construction but really, we just wanted to try some new keeper enrichment. :-)

    Posted by leslie
  2. I love that all of us have our unique ways of getting through those windows. I like going through feet first. It reminds me of how all of the bears go up/down the cliff differently.

    Posted by sarah
  3. Crack me up Marilyn, believe it or not you aren’t the only person to try the top window, however Intern Matt was a bit more graceful than you :)

    Posted by kimberly

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