Posts Tagged ‘spotlight’

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: Autumn Lindey

March 9th, 2014

When I started writing this post it was November. Back then my first thought was to say ” Meet Autumn, our newest Keeper”. We’ll, it’s now many months later and besides from not being true it’s not what I think of first anymore. She’s such an entrenched member of the team it seems like she has been here a loooong time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn started with us just about a year ago when she and her husband relocated to NC.  We were thrilled to have her as a skilled and interested volunteer a couple of days each week. She even taught summer camp at the Museum. Her previous experience at the Akron Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History make her a great addition to our team.

For awhile she was working weekends, but now she has moved to a Sunday-Thursday schedule. Her fellow Saturday keepers were very sad to see her leave, as she is well-respected and valued by the team. She’s  always willing and able to help with whatever the task.

Look for her out and about. Currently she spends most of her time in Explore the Wild, so the 2:00 Keeper Talk may be your best chance to chat with her.

Gordon and Autumn

 

 

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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”

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  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.

Spotlight: My Anonymous Neighbor

March 24th, 2013

 My neighbor prefers to remain anonymous, which is a bummer since she is so supportive of me, the animals at the Museum and the community as a whole.

Probably about once each week I open my front door and there is a bag of goodies waiting. Most recently, I’ve been finding 2-4 watermelons on my doorstep. Donna’s (whoops, now you know her name) first donation was a delivery of 10 watermelons loaded directly on the back of my truck! Watermelons show up on my door step, in my truck, and she even delivers them directly to the Museum. She asks store owners if they want to donate melons too. I’d say she has donated no less than 100 watermelons over the past 3 years!

 But it’s not just watermelons. She knows when the bears are eating a lot of sweet potatoes and I’ll have 40 pound cases of sweet potatoes left on my door step. I’ve received well over 120 pounds of sweet potatoes. If avocados or mangos are on sale, I’ll have  a few bags of those hanging on my screen door knob. A good 50 pounds of nuts have appeared as well.

The list is endless. Bags of canned pumpkin for Chummix goat, leafy greens for the rabbits. The purple potato was pretty cool. Unique squashes and pumpkins and other roots and veggies. One of my favorite times was her walking into my driveway with the produce drawer from her refrigerator. I took her oranges (she said she didn’t eat them and I should have them).

She’s appeared with a bag of money for me to give to the Red Wolf Coalition. And then there’s school supplies: crayons and pencils and paper and… She donates items for the kids at the neighborhood school which I deliver for her.

Her thoughtfulness and interest in the animals is constant. A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Donna for all she does for the Museum’s critters and the community. Thanks Donna!

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  1. Director Comment :

    UPDATE: right after I posted this I opened my front door to find a grocery bag full of walnuts!!!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. I second that, Thanks Donna!

    Posted by kimberly
  3. You know it is going to be a good day when Sherry starts off the morning saying “My neighbor Donna…” She helped the bears get a brand new bright red barrel to play on and one time she brought several containers of marshmallow creme!!! The bears and Keepers alike enjoyed the creme! Thanks Donna for all you do for us and the animals.

    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.

Spotlight: Jessica Culbertson

November 30th, 2012

Happy 6-month anniversary Jessi! She’s  made it through probation and working her first closed holiday. Jessi is the first Keeper at the Museum who went to school to specifically be a zoo keeper. She also interned with us in spring 2011- read about her from way back then, back when she was a tattoo-less student intern (or at least much-less-tattooed).

She’s quite, thoughtful, diligent, and quite tough. I think she carries three pocket knives on her belt (I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. Can Vegans carry three knives at a time?)
 
Here’s what her co-workers have to say about her (at least what I can share on the Blog):
 
She’s a super fast learner. Loyal and direct- she’s not about gossiping or bu##sh*t. She’s got a great sense of humor. A wine connoisseur.  She has a great memory, and cannot stand the color pink.
 

Jessi diligently writing notes

When I have done training with her she has never hesitated once to ask me to check a lock or question my actions (sometimes as part of training I purposefully forget to do something to see what my trainee will do). Never. Very few people have always spoken up. Speaking truth to power is a mighty respectable trait!
 
 

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  1. Hooray Jessi, way to be awesome!

    Posted by Leslie
  2. I am very proud of my little girl.

    Posted by Cherie

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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: Aaron Dye

September 3rd, 2012

Happy Labor Day. It’s somewhat fitting that today is the day you learn about Aaron. He’s such a hard worker and has dedicated his career to working with animals, senior citizens, and students. One could say being a public school science teacher to junior high kids prepared him most for his work at the Museum with the Keepers and animals. :) It’s been just over 1.5 years since Aaron started at the Museum. He came on board when Kristen decided to pursue other ventures (parenthood).

It’s rare that you’ll find Aaron without a smile on his face. He’s possibly the most cheery person around- even super early in the morning. He arrives loud, smiley and singing. Even when lugging in a car-full of fruits and veggies (really, a car full). Even when digging out the top 8 inches of stonedust in the pig yard. Even when working in the walk-in freezer moving 1,000 pounds of food around to make space for 250 pounds of nuts. It doesn’t stop. He just keeps smiling, singing, and even hugging- traits that make the keepers roll their eyes over and over again (while smiling back at him though). He puts in long days- starting early, staying late, or shortening lunch to help out.

Kent LOVES getting hugs- so Aaron hugs him daily.

I cannot describe him any better that what some keepers say below about him:

He’s a great motivator especially at 7am.  He listens to good music (most of the time).  He brings in really good fattening foods to share and always has creamer ready and waiting for the coffee drinkers!  He’s more than willing to take the blame, maybe too willing to take the blame!  He’s incredibly helpful, and always wants to learn and improve.  He likes to be a prankster (he cracks himself up all the time) and is able to laugh at himself - there’s no one who takes a joke better than him.  He has the patience to put up with all of us and still keep a smile on his face.  He shows concern for his co-workers even in their personal lives.   He’s very kind and easy to talk to and more than willing to sit down and help resolve a problem.   

He’s a great gift to the department and the Museum. I hope you get a chance to see him around grounds and chat with him- you’ll certainly enjoy it.

Join the conversation:

  1. That picture of Kent and Aaron is the best thing I’ve seen ever. Yay Aaron!

    Posted by Leslie

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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: Sarah Van de Berg

June 1st, 2012

This is Sarah. She’s been a keeper with us since July 2010. You’re going to learn more about her soon as she will start writing posts, although you can view her amazing writing skills by clicking here.

Sarah

Sarah is a Northerner and moved down here from Connecticut to work at the Museum. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Rhode Island in Wildlife Conservation Biology. She worked at science museums and sanctuaries in New England, taking care of many of the same animals she cares for here, and doing TONS of programs with kids. If you have a chance to attend a program Sarah leads please do so-she’s like a walking encyclopedia of animal facts.

She has recently began working with our manned hawk and owl. It’s no surprise that she took to it so quickly. She’s comfortable not only handling the birds but also managing the crowds and sharing a wealth of information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite random tidbits about Sarah are that she coached crew (although I am sure she will correct me on my terminology) and that she’s a phenomenal cello player (I’ve seen her and former keeper Erin Brown play a couple times together).

Probably her favorite thing to do is spend time with Lightning, our donkey. Sarah is a phenomenal trainer and has worked hard with Lightning. I think her stubbornness matches Lightning’s well.

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  1. Yay Sarah! She’s awesome!

    Posted by leslie
  2. I think her stubbornness matches Lightning’s well.
    AhhhhhhHaaaaa

    Posted by jillb

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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: Kimberly Lawson

April 11th, 2012

 Happy 1.5 year anniversary to Kimberly being a keeper at the Museum! For regular blog readers, you’ve already got to know Kimberly quite well by reading her posts. She’s passionate about lemurs, animal training, and the natural world. She has a lot of cats at home. She works hard and loves being an animal keeper. Even through some rather difficult health issues in the recent past, she’s still pretty positive and cheery.

What you might not know about Kimberly is that she has her bachelors degree in biology from UNC Wilmington. She spent time at the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas and the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque. She’s done an internship with arachnids so she doesn’t mind being around spiders. While in New Mexico, she spent most of her time doing animal programs and training hoof stock. She and a fellow keeper trained a hippo to open it’s mouth so its tooth could be trimmed (ask her to write about that please!).

We thankfully stole her away from the word of caring for children- some might say a much harder job than being an animal keeper. Getting rave reviews from the parent’s of the children she cared for was what sealed the deal to offer her a Keeper job.

Kimberly warming a lemur after Dr. Vanderford finished its physical.

She takes her job here very seriously- always thinking of the health and well being of the animals she works with and is not afraid to hold visitors in check for treating the critters poorly. I’m happy she’s been with us for one and half years and look forward to the next one and a half and many more.

 While I still have a lot to learn about Kimberly, there’s one thing I want to know now: she told me she prefers to be called Kimberly, but others call her Kim. What do you think that is about?

Join the conversation:

  1. I call her Kimberly too so maybe only people she thinks are cool can call her Kimberly?

    Posted by leslie
  2. Thanks Sherry for this spotlight. I do prefer being called Kimberly at work, it makes me feel more professional (no idea why) plus it’s much easier to hear over the radio than Kim. And as much as I’d like to take credit for the hippo training, that was all the work of the Senior Keeper, Catalina-she worked at the Rio Grande Zoo for 23 years when I was trained by her and was an amazing mentor!! I loved working in Hoofstock- super hard work but I didn’t train any hoofstock animals. Check out this post to see the animals I did train with- http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2012/02/12/target-click/

    Posted by Kimberly
  3. thanks your for sharing

    Posted by ihptzptel
  4. Kimberly is her name and I’m glad she likes what she was named her grandmother picked the name out

    Posted by Betty Linkenhoker
  5. I do like my name Mom. Also Kim sounds too similiar to Kent, Ken, and Jim over the radio.

    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.

Spotlight: Julie Grimes, Behavior Consultant

March 4th, 2012

Julie teaching Mikey and Gus how to "follow"

 Meet Dr. Julie Grimes. Julie has a PhD in Behavior and did her thesis work on the principles of animal training. She’s been a Behavior Management Consultant for many years working in the “zoo” world as well as with private individuals and their pets. She is also a faculty member in the Psychology department at Davidson County Community College.

We’ve been working with Julie for almost three years. She helped us get our operant conditioning program up and running. At first, she worked with us on the basic principles of operant conditioning. Now, she meets with the keepers monthly to help them problem solve when they are having training issues with their animals.

Julie helps the keepers work with the animals to reduce stress in regards to veterinary procedures, to help animals shift or stay, making husbandry much easier and safer, and talks through whatever ideas the keepers have in regards to training the animals. (She even helped Kimberly teach Satyrus to read upside-down).

Having a professional consultant for the keepers to bounce their ideas and issues off of is a great resource.

Julie, working with Kent and Max.

Put “operant conditioning” in the search box and read all sorts of interesting posts the keepers have written about their work with the animals.

Join the conversation:

  1. So, does Dr. Grimes have more trouble managening the behavior of Max or Kent?

    Posted by Mike
  2. Director Comment :

    aaahh grasshopper, that is indeed the question…

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  3. My money is on Kent…

    Posted by Mike

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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.

Videos of Ursula

October 19th, 2011

Here’s a couple of videos that were taken of Ursula over the last couple of years. in this first video, there was a particularly heavy snow that we got one winter and one of our previous keepers, Cassidy, got some video of Urse walking around and digging in the snow. Her thick coat made her seem oblivious to the cold weather and snow that was still falling at the time (you can see some of the snow on her back).

YouTube Preview Image

This next video was taken  in the spring/summer 2009, and Urse was enjoying a swim. Urse was always a fan of the water and she often liked to wade in the pools. In the house where we have large tubs of water for the bears, she would often times be seen by keepers splashing the water everywhere and seemingly having a great time in the process. These endearing moments are just a couple of things that we will miss about her.

Three years ago I posted a Creature Feature on Ursula talking about her favorite foods, her antics as a youngster, and moments she had with keepers and enrichment. You can click here if you’d like to read that post and learn more about Ursula.

In the last couple of days, the keepers have received great support and kind words from the other museum staff and it is very much appreciated. All of us here at the museum have our own favorite memories of Urse, whether it be from behind the scenes while caring for her or from bear overlook while watching her eat, sleep, swim, interact with enrichment, or tell the pesky younger bears to go away. I think it is safe to say that Urse will have a special place in many of our hearts for a long time to come. If you have a special memory of Urse while visiting the museum please feel free to share it with us in the comment section.

YouTube Preview Image

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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: Volunteer Karyn

June 25th, 2011

Karyn is a wonderful volunteer, although she prefers live in secret.

Karyn organizes our storage sheds

Karyn does so many different things to help us out.  She can do all of the typical volunteer tasks- cleaning in the Farmyard, taking care of the education animals, and preparing diets -and then some. We ( I guess the ’me’ part of ‘we’) often pull her off  regular volunteer tasks and have her step in to help out in so many different ways. She’s organized all our enrichment supplies, super cleaned and organized our hay barn in the farmyard, scrubbed out the bear moat, formulated vitamins for the aviary birds, written blog posts, and the list goes on and on.

Karyn, organizing enrichment items.

Her skill, enthusiasm, and commitment to the Museum is stellar. We even hired her for awhile when Kristen was pregnant and reduced her hours. She’s usually in volunteering on Monday and Friday mornings, and when she’s not “working” she comes by just to visit! 

Say hi if you see her around, or look for tweets from her- if you want to know more about this let us know in the comment section.

Karyn, with her grandaughter Ruby (and a baby degu)

Join the conversation:

  1. Sherry,
    I like all of the blogs from you, the animal keepers, the entomologists, Ranger Greg and also “Volunteer Karyn”….
    The picture of the chinchilla with the raisin is awesome and I’m pretty sure I have seen videos of the bears and farmyard animals taken by Karyn …..more, more, more!!! DJ

    Posted by DJ
  2. Karyn also keeps our home highly organized, including the zoo animal that is her husband!

    Posted by Mark Traphagen
  3. Volunteer Comment :

    Oh my!

    Posted by Karyn Traphagen
  4. Director Comment :

    Glad you like the Blog DJ.
    Nice to hear from you Mark!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  5. Karyn is awesome! I always look forward to working with her on Fridays.:)

    Posted by Marilyn

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