Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn’

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: Department Update

October 5th, 2013

We’re probably going to be posting a little less for a while. As you know, Kimberly has moved on to work with Homo sapiens. Separately, Marilyn is out recovering from surgery and will not be back until sometime in December. So, the remaining staff here will be hustling and bustling to deal with all that needs to get dealt with.

We’ll still be blogging and sharing what is going on it just won’t be as frequent. Wolf Physicals are on the 14th so we’ll get some pictures up of that for sure.

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Bear Enrichment

July 8th, 2013

Here’s a few pictures of Keeper Marilyn making some fun bear enrichment.

Popcorn

and Raisins

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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

 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Pumpkin enrichment

January 16th, 2013

In the fall we receive A LOT of donated pumpkins that are used in the animal department. Some animals eat them, some animals play with them, and some animals don’t really do anything with them.

Our muskrats really like to eat pumpkin, so we give it to them sometimes as enrichment or as a substitute for another vegetable in their daily diet. In an effort to use some of the many pumpkins that we had, I decided to do both.

We usually only give the muskrats pieces of pumpkin at a time, so I had to substitute several of their vegetables for one day in order to give them an entire pumpkin. I decided to clean it out and put their daily food inside.

I thought it would be best to only put half their food inside the pumpkin so that they wouldn’t fight over the pumpkin once they realized their food was inside.

So I placed the pumpkin, lid on, in the exhibit and scattered the remaining food for them to find (we do that daily.)

I thought they would probably go directly to the pumpkin to check it out, but they actually seemed  a bit apprehensive about it.

After several minutes of keeping their distance from the pumpkin and eating the scattered food around the exhibit, they started to creep up to it to check it out but would then run away.

I finally decided to take the lid off the pumpkin in an effort to help them realize that this big round orange thing was something good and yummy. At that point I had to go clean the rest of the exhibits, so I left them to continue checking it out. When I came back about 30 minutes later, I found this…

Yep, that’s right, the muskrats had dragged the pumpkin into their pool. It was floating upside down, waterlogged but surprisingly with most of the original food still in it. I drained out the water and placed it back on the floor of the exhibit with the rest of their diet still in it.

When I came back later I found the pumpkin moved back to the water’s edge, but this time there was a big chunk eaten from it.

Then I looked over at their den area and saw that they had taken the top of the pumpkin and put it at the window for everyone to see, along with some of their other veggies. They do this with their diet a lot, and it makes it pretty convenient for the visitors to get a look at all their food. I enjoyed putting this enrichment togther for them, and it was neat to see what they did with it throughout the day!

 

Join the conversation:

  1. ….think this could be part of the 2013 New Year’s Resolution list….the Museum’s awesome keepers will help you overcome your fears of unusual veggies.

    Posted by dj

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Concurrent Accession

December 31st, 2012

“Accession” is a word the zoological world uses to mean, “adding to.” It’s the term applied to newly acquired individuals to a museum/zoo/aquarium’s collection. We don’t have a large turnover in our collection at the museum. Every year we lose some animals due to old age, health problems, or transfers to other institutions and we gain a couple, but our collection stays at about the same number.

Because we don’t take in new animals very often, I found it interesting to learn that the animal keepers here each have a sort of “buddy animal” that joined the animal department at roughly the same time they did.

Sherry Ursula

Sherry and Ursula (Fall 1991)

Kent American Robin

Kent (Summer 1996) and 2 American Robins (Winter 1997)

Marilyn Chummix

Marilyn and Chummix (Fall 2003)

Katy Virginia

Katy and Virginia (Spring 2005)

Jill Scout

Jill and Scout (Fall 2005)

Sarah Robin Owl

Me and Robin Owl (Summer 2010)

Kimberly Ladybelle

Kimberly and Ladybelle (Fall 2010)

Aaron Jaybird

Aaron and Jaybird (Spring 2011)

Jessi Pines

Jessi and the baby Pine Snakes (Summer 2012)

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    I love this post Sarah!
    FYI- Ursula and I arrived at the Museum in the Fall 1991.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. Great post, I love that Marilyn looks like she’s about to attack Chummix

    Posted by Kimberly
  3. Keeper Comment :

    All fixed, thanks!

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  4. 2013 for me is about enjoying the ‘moment’ whether that moment is truly a moment or a whole day long; “smell the roses” so-to-speak.

    Posted by Laura H
  5. Keeper Comment :

    Very cool Sarah! I’m really pleased that my buddy animal is Chummix because I really love that goat and I enjoyed being his trainer.

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Red Ruffed Lemur Training

December 21st, 2012

I recently mentioned we’re now working on crate training the red ruffed lemurs. It’s been quite awhile since they have worked on this behavior. The last couple days have been very successful. All three lemurs have gone all the way into their crates. :)

This is just the beginning so check back soon for updates.

Keeper Marilyn and I training the three red ruffed lemurs

 

Iris going into the crate

  

Iris is going into the top crate at the same time that Jethys is going into the bottom crate.

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Big Word of the Month: Symbiosis

August 21st, 2012

Many of the animals at the museum live with another animal of a different specie. They might live together because they seem to like each other or because they don’t bother one another and fit the exhibit well (large exhibits with 1 animal are pretty boring if that one animal doesn’t want to be in sight of guests). Some of the animals we have together are a donkey and dwarf goats, a steer and a boer goat, a pine snake and a greenish rat snake, a watersnake and a mud turtle, and a spotted turtle and a painted turtle. In the wild, different kinds of animals interact all the time. Those interactions are called symbiosis.

 

Symbiosis (pronounced: sym-BY-OH-sis or sym-BEE-OH-sis) can be defined as prolonged  interactions between different species of animals and/or plants which benefits or harms at least one of the individuals involved.

There are 4 different types of symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, Parasitism and Amensalism.

++ Mutualism- An interaction is mutualistic when both species involved are benefiting from the relationship. As an example, my dog and I have a mutualistic relationship. He gets food, water, shelter, exercise and companionship from me and I get companionship, a jogging buddy, and a personal foot warmer in the winter, from him.

Rudy and Me

My dog, Rudy, and me.

+0 Commensalism- A relationship where one species benefits while the other is unaffected. An example could be Lightning, the donkey, and the Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Rocky and Patches. While, Lightning may get some amount of companionship from the two little goats, he generally seems unaffected when he is separated from them. It feels to me as though he has a fairly neutral attitude towards them. The little goats, however, are highly affected when apart from Lightning (screaming and bleating and acting very anxious). They likely have a herd leader and a protector in Lightning and are positively affected when he’s around.

Lightning and the Little Goats

Lightning guards his new toy

+- Parasitism- Parasites come in all forms! The easy ones are ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, and any other blood/skin sucking bug. However, other plants and animals can be considered parasites as well (Cowbirds, Cukoos, Mistletoe). So long as one species in the relationship is negatively affected while the other is positively affected, a parasitic relationship is at hand. Because ticks are one of Marilyn’s favorite animals, I’ll add this picture just for her:

hungry bug

Photo Credit: NewNaturalist.com

 

0- Amensalism- If commensalism is a neutral/positive (0+) relationship, its opposite is amensalism, a neutral/negative (0-) relationship. Of the 4 types of symbiosis, this is by far the rarest. Amensalism requires that one species be negatively impacted while another is not being impacted at all. The text book examples of this are Penicillin mold growing on stale bread and the Black Walnut tree. Ranger Greg was kind enough to look for some of these trees for me (a more pleasant option than waiting for some bread to mold), which he found just off the Dinosaur Trail. Black Walnut trees secrete a toxin into the soil as a natural part of their growth that inhibits or kills off plants that would otherwise grow near the tree. The smaller plants are negatively impacted, while the Black Walnut tree just keeps on growing.

Black Walnut Tree

Note the lack of undergrowth below the Black Walnut tree (left of center)

Many of the animals and plants on grounds have symbiotic relationships with other plants and animals nearby. Stop by the butterfly house and gardens to find some really cool relationships or find Ranger Greg and ask him about some of his favorites!

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Excellent post! Lots of interesting information.

    Posted by Carrie
  2. Thanks so much for thinking of me with that disgusting picture, Sarah. I especially love that the tick is embedded in the skin. Yippy!

    Posted by Marilyn
  3. thanks so much for all the info! i’d love to use your website as a citation in my project but i cant find the publishers company, editors, or what city it was published in! can you help me?

    Posted by Athena
  4. do you possibly know of a mutualism pair that live in the taiga??? i cant find one anywhere… if you dont know of one off the top of your head then its fine but if you do can you plz tell me???

    Posted by Alex
  5. Keeper Comment :

    Athena and Alex, you can both e-mail me at SarahV@ncmls.org and I can try to answer any questions you have.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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: Ah, that refreshing watermelon

July 27th, 2012

Only 7 days away from National Watermelon Day! Personally, I’m glad there is a day for everyone to celebrate watermelon. I think it is one of the most refreshing foods you can eat on a hot summer day. Many of our animals seem to find it refreshing (or at least enjoyable), as well.

Check out the video below of some of our indoor animals (and maybe even a keeper) enjoying some yummy watermelon. And don’t worry, Sherry, I put the keeper up to these shenanigans. She doesn’t always steal the animals’ watermelon!;)

Make sure to visit the museum next Friday, August 3rd so that you can see our animals in action as they gobble down some juicy and delightful watermelons at many of the keeper programs that will be held that day.

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. Awesome video! Makes me want some yummy watermelon. Good job Marilyn!

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. Keeper Comment :

    Thanks Ro.;)

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson
  3. MJ- just sprinkle a little mealworm dust over that watermelon to keep the keepers from stealing it. :)

    Posted by Kristen
  4. Director Comment :

    How the heck to Jessi not get watermelon juice on her shirt?

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  5. hahahahah that was fantastic!

    Posted by Kimberly
  6. Keeper Comment :

    Very true, Kristen!;) And Sherry, Jessi said she actually did have the juice all over her face and clothes but the camera hid it well. Fortunately we shot the video at the end of the day so she didn’t have to go outside much after that.

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Forget the porridge, give me cotton candy!

July 1st, 2012

Every Thursday the animal department staff (along with any volunteers or museum staff that can tolerate the keepers) go to lunch together somewhere off campus. Occasionally we splurge and go to Golden Corral. A few weeks ago some of the keepers noticed there was blue cotton candy in the dessert section. We decided to take all the cotton candy they had (of course, we waited until we were on our way out to snag it all) so that we could see if our bears would like it!

Now, we wouldn’t just give our bears cotton candy for no good reason. There is, in fact, a method to our cotton candy madness. You see, often times when we give our animals medicine we have to disguise it in something yummy that they like to eat (you can read more about this in Jill’s post here.)

Mimi, currently our oldest bear, is especially hard to please when it comes to taking medicine. It seems no matter how much we try to disguise her meds with the yummiest of treats, she always knows when we’re up to no good and she refuses to take them.  Sherry thought that maybe cotton candy could be added to the list of things that our bears would love and would be willing to take their meds with.

This is not a treat that they would receive very often, but considering it’s just a little bit of sugar and a lot of air, it seems like a decent treat to try. So we grabbed the cotton candy and ran some taste tests with all the bears to see if they would like it. Watch the video and decide for yourself!

YouTube Preview Image

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Do the bears get their teeth brushed like the ferrets?

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Director Comment :

    It’s much harder to brush a bear’s teeth than the teeth of ferrets. The keepers will eventually work “teeth brushing” into the operant conditioning routine. We’ll definitely take video of that!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  3. there is so much about this post that i like, marilyn. everything from walking out of golden corral with all of the blue cotton candy…to watching the bears (oh i miss those bears) nosh on the goods…to the end credits. great post! thank you.

    Posted by Leiana
  4. Keeper Comment :

    Thanks Leiana! This was a fun post to do and watching the bears eat the cotton candy for the first time was quite enjoyable.:)

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.