Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess Talks Zoo Crew

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2016 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a high school student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.


Each year, I can’t wait for applications to open up for Zoo Crew. If you’re not sure what Zoo Crew is, it is a summer volunteer program at the Zoo for students 13-17 years old.

I have a few volunteer experiences outside of Zoo Crew. I am currently a member of Brazoswood Student Council and on the Pride and Patriotism Committee. Every Wednesday evening and some Saturdays, I volunteer by making teacher gifts, decorate the hallways for upcoming events, or make inspirational posters for the hallways. I also volunteer as a mentor for our Junior Naturalist program for US Fish and Wildlife. I led a group of Junior Naturalist for plant identification at the introductory meeting and help where I am needed. I also write blogs (like this one!) for the Houston Zoo.

Volunteering is important to me, and I am ready for the daily tasks and challenges of Zoo Crew. I know there is always something different every day that pops up to make my job even more interesting than the day before! Making good decisions and motivating others is a big part of Zoo Crew, and also helps me to be a great leader.

For those that are nervous about applying to Zoo Crew, I don’t feel that there has been an extremely challenging part of the program, so don’t be scared!. I have always learned something new in my time at Zoo Crew, whether is was in Theatrical Interpretation or the bird section, and that is the reason why I volunteer. I want to gain as much knowledge about the Zoo as I can and I know that Zoo Crew is the way to gain that information.

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Zoo Crew Group Photo!

By returning to Zoo Crew, I am hoping to get a better idea of my career path in zoology. I know that I want to study zoology, but I’m not sure yet what exactly I want to do. I am hoping that by working Zoo Crew, I can better figure out what I want to do in the zoology field. There are so many different areas and departments of the Zoo that you get to see during Zoo Crew, which is great if you are also interested in working with animals.

One reason that I am so excited about the 2016 Summer Zoo Crew Program is because my heart is in the Zoo. Working with the people and animals at the Zoo is my passion. It represents so much more than families coming out to have a fun day. The Zoo represents a world of causes, like recycling phones, educating the public about problems like palm oil, and saving animals all over the world. I want to be a part of that action and Zoo Crew is another way for me to be closer to what is important to me!

You can apply for Zoo Crew here! Better hurry, applications close 2/29!

Saving Wildlife with Robotics!

The Houston Zoo cares about animals in the wild and is working within our global community to help wildlife. There are many ways to affect wildlife, and we work with all types of groups that are using innovative and effective ways to keep our world healthy for all of its inhabitants.seaturtle_DK

Something that all of our friends, groups, partners, and even visitors have in common is trash, plastics in particular…but what does that have to do with saving wildlife? Our wild animals come into contact with a lot of our trash; our friends in Africa have seen giant elephants grab plastic bags that are tangled in grasses thinking that it’s food, and our local friends in Galveston have seen our Texas sea turtles eat plastic bags floating in the ocean because they look like a tasty jellyfish.

This league is connecting two areas that don’t seem like they’d work together, robotics and waste, to make a beautiful solution to help save wildlife! There are some innovative ways that robots can help us to protect wildlife, from using drones to gauge poaching areas to creating robotic fish that measure ocean health, and this league is a group of students that is putting their brains together to come up with more ways that robotics can help our animals and our Earth. This is the first installation of a blog series that will track what the league is doing, why they are doing it, and how you can help out too!

Please welcome our guest bloggers for this series, the Jersey Voltage Purple FIRST Lego League Robotics Team:


 

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Hi there! We are the Jersey Voltage Purple FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team. We are a team of 10 students who live in Jersey Village, Texas and we are here to not only talk about trash (plastics in particular); but we are here to clean it up or at the least create excitement and awareness of the world’s plastics. We’re working on a project now, so photos are to come, but below you can check out why we chose to focus on plastics and see some great pictures of us while in the brainstorming stage!

Did you know that the very first plastic was developed in Britain way back in 1862, and plastics were exhibited at the Great Exhibition in London?! Plastics are used in many important ways that help humans and animals stay healthy, like in the medical field, and use of plastics exploded in the first decade after World War II. Just in the past 30 years, the plastic industry has gotten huge and includes many plastic products that could potentially be replaced by reusable items, like reusable water bottles or plastic bags.

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This explosion of the use of plastics greatly impacts our eco-system and affects our wildlife. All of us have used many water bottles in our lifetime, but how many of those bottles have been made of plastic? Last year, the average American used 167 disposable plastic water bottles, but only recycled 38. Do you know how many get into our eco-system? Of the millions of water bottles used every day, most of them will eventually end up in an animal’s environment. So we’re here to help. Many people are trying to limit the amount of plastic they use, and some have come up with some pretty creative solutions to this somewhat overwhelming problem!

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Take Action Now: You can save wildlife today by using a reusable tote for your groceries instead of single-use plastic bags. You can also exchange your single-use plastic bottles for a long-term refillable bottle. Visit the Houston Zoo’s Take Action page and find out what else you can do!

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In our next blog we will tell you about a few ideas that we uncovered in our research and what we’ve been working on with our robotics to help save wildlife! So stay tuned, more to come and plenty to do!

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Founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, NH, FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields.

 

This is a sustainability reference document. 

Celebrate World Lion Day

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 14 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org


This summer seemed to go by extremely fast, which, like it or not, leads into going back to school very soon. Just before I head back into the classroom, I am feeling the need for one more celebration before I hit the books and my studying. What is there to celebrate when there is so much back to school mayhem? World Lion Day of course! World Lion Day is on August 10th and is a great way to celebrate our lions everywhere in the world. These majestic creatures symbolize strength, honor, and bravery. I think back on books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched with lions in them, and all of them use lions to suggest strength and courage. Our lions in Africa and India are strong and courageous, but they need our help in a battle that they are continually fighting. This is a battle that is truly hard for them to win, but all of us can help them to overcome this struggle. One struggle the lions are facing is called human-wildlife conflict. Basically, as more land is taken away from the lions’ territory for agricultural development and as populations increase, more human –wildlife conflict is occurring. This seems to be a difficult problem to fix, but there is a solution that has proven to be successful. Lion Guardians, men who are in charge of protecting lions, are helping to increase the lions’ population and intervening in positive ways. Lion guardians help with building protective fences around livestock, help find lost and wandering livestock, warn farmers when lions are spotted on their land, and are creating an awareness of the lion’s importance for the people who live in these areas. These men use what is called “conflict mitigation” and they have been successful in helping their communities gain a greater understanding of carnivores.

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The Houston Zoo supports projects which provide training and resources for the Lion Guardians. These projects provide the materials and critical resources needed to the villagers in these areas that provide hope for our lions. Without these groups, we could one day only see these lions in the books and movies and not in the wild.
Let’s celebrate the importance of our world’s lions and create awareness for them. August 10th is the lions’ special day, so why not visit them at the zoo?

Learn about all the organizations that the Houston Zoo works with to save lions in the wild and read about the 2015 Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala on October 14th 2015.  You can help us protect lions in Africa.  This event will support a regional effort called Pride: Lion Conservation Alliance, that is finding solutions to save lions from extinction across East Africa.

Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess is Back to Talk About Endangered Species Day

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

 


Wouldn’t it be great if there was a whole day dedicated to endangered species around the world? Wait, there IS such a thing!  This Friday is Endangered Species Day – the whole day is for these animals to get  the attention they need and to create awareness about who they are, where they live, and why they are endangered.  Endangered Species Day is celebrated  in the United States every year on the 3rd Friday in May.  Now that you know there is a special day to celebrate endangered animals, here are some ways to celebrate.  First, you can talk to a teacher or librarian to see if they could help support you in getting the word out.  You could have some informational booths set up at school about different endangered species around the world and reasons why they are in decline.  You could also get a club at your school to sponsor a movie night and show one of the Disney Nature movies.  As a fundraiser, you could sell popcorn and drinks and send that money to the Zoo or Wildlife Refuge since they work with many of these endangered animals.

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You could also do something as simple as making a few changes in your home to help these species.  Practicing using less water when you bathe or shower and brush your teeth would be a great idea.  The Texas Blind Salamander is endangered due to the overuse of water in the aquifers that they live in San Marcos.

Another idea would be to volunteer at a wildlife refuge or wildlife rescue center.  These places could really use the help and they work directly with many of these endangered animals.  You could volunteer just once a week and truly make a difference for the wildlife in your area.

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There is also a pretty easy way to get the word out really fast – social media.  You can advertise this  day of awareness with pictures of your favorite endangered animal or captions that tell about  Endangered Species Day.

One last thing you can do is to go out to your local wildlife refuge, Zoo, aquarium or other place that works with wildlife on Endangered Species Day.  Most of these places will have events and activities planned out to spread the word about these animals and what you can do to help them.   Maybe next Endangered Species Day, you can be the one handing out information and teaching others about what they can do to help our animals in the wild.

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A Day in the Life of a Houston Zoo Gorilla

Written by William Weeks, Ashley Kramer & Meredith Ross

I am Ajari, a 14 year old male.  I am the youngest member of the Houston Zoo bachelor group.   I live with 30 year old Chaka, and 23 year old Mike.

Ajari sitting

Yawn……Is it time to wake up already? I want to sleep in more. Oh NO, the lights are on….Well, that’s fine, I can lie in bed a little bit longer. . That means I have a few minutes until breakfast comes. My keepers always say something to me in the morning.   What does “Good morning, sunshine!” even mean?

Oh, finally breakfast is here!  The juice is actually pretty tasty today. My favorite color is the red juice (fruit punch),   and it’s not my favorite when they give me the blue juice (blue crush). Of course I still drink it!  They always ask me to finish my juice before I get the rest of my breakfast. It has stuff in the juice that is good for me, apparently. Things like supplements and vitamins, y’ know, the good stuff.

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After the juice we always play this fun game. They ask me to show them some part of my body, like my shoulder or hand, and then they give me some amazing fruit. This is called training, which my keepers do to keep up on their husbandry. They do this so that if my friends and I ever get cuts or scrapes, we know how to show our keepers where it hurts. So, I just take my favorite fruit:  strawberries, and if I had to choose my least favorite fruit, because let’s be honest what fruit is bad fruit, I would say cantaloupe. But it’s always fun because I am so smart I can show them almost any part of my body they ask for. I will do anything for some fruit. Once all of the fruit is gone they give me some lettuce, and primate biscuits to chow down on while they clean my yard. My yard can be kind of gross, because, well, even though I try and keep it clean for them I somehow always get it messy when I am with my two friends.

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We, my friends and I, always can tell when our keepers are ready to let us outside because they start to unlock all of our tunnel doors and start getting ready to open our outside doors. They always send me out first, then after me it’s the big boss man Chaka, followed by my best friend Mike. While were all outside we all get to eat and have fun with these extra goodies that they scatter around for us to forage for.

Oh look, why do those people that feed us always think they are going to go unnoticed when they are with the guests?  We can see them from a mile away; I know their faces like the back of my hand. But, oh well, this yard is so much fun! We get items that will take us all day to work on, these tubes that have gotten extra frozen stuff inside of it. And, there are tasty plants to eat, as well as red river hogs to look at! We always spend the rest of our day eating, napping and playing.

Ajari at meadow window

When it starts to get really hot outside, they start to bring us inside. When we come inside Chaka goes first, then Mike, and then finally it is my turn.

When we get to come inside we get to have some more fruit, and play that fun body training game again. They always have our bedrooms full of fresh bedding, and new browse, and some small food items that are just so delicious but it takes a while to find all of them with our nesting material hiding it everywhere.  After another nap, we get even more food, which is awesome and then its bed time again, which is the best part of the day for me, because I love to sleep.

King of the Hill (Ajari)

Being a gorilla at the Houston Zoo is pretty wonderful. Who could beat this life?

Sabinga's Updates: Houston Teens On Conservation

Renee-Use-THis (1)Houston Zoo has messages about conservation both in the zoo buildings and outside in the public spaces that relate to the animals we care for! Houston Zoo Education Department conducts education programs for all ages.  A program is where an educator or naturalist may show and talk about live animals, or point out important aspects at exhibits, and present brief talks illustrated with slides, films and also sometimes offer summer day-camp programs for children. The last weekend of January was a week where the voice of conservation got louder, a weekend where message of conservation went out to the young minds.  Renee – Conservation Programs Manager, Martha – Conservation Education Coordinator and I did two presentations about conservation to groups of teens. We educated and inspired the teens to become part of our commitment to celebrate, study, and care for wildlife and their habitats. Thanks to the education team for giving us the chance to contribute to their great work.

The voice of conservation stayed strong on the following week when David Brady, the Houston Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer, and I drove to Green Pine Elementary School. We reached the school around 11:30 am and went straight in school reception, where we received with a warm welcome from Diane (teacher).  Then we were lead through a corridor to one of the classrooms. I was impressed by the look, there were pictures of wildlife and plants on the walls on each side, stars hanging from the roof along the corridor, it looked natural, I felt like I was in a magic kingdom!!  What amazed me most was the attendance of 70 preteens for the presentation!! David gave an excellent, well organized, fascinating and very constructive presentation that related to the mind of young people! I am optimistic his presentation had impressed the kids about the world around them. He is a great speaker and I learned a lot from him that day that I will cherish!

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I gave a presentation after David, that had a similar message and I presented on the similarity of animals in the zoo to animals in the wild.  I was trying to captivate the imagination of the children and lead them into conservation.  I wanted to encourage students to become ambassadors of their rich environment. It is the same message we give at Save The Elephants in Kenya, during our education program.  We visit schools and the community and show films and presentations on conservation.  We know that we need to encourage everyone to join us in the wildlife saving journey.


 

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Sabinga collecting marine debris in Galveston

The Houston Zoo is excited to welcome a new intern who comes to us all the way from Kenya, in East Africa. Sabinga is in the United States participating in the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). The Community College Initiative Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Northern Virginia Community College onbehalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC) in partnership with Houston Community College. While participating in this program, he will join us at the zoo as an intern to learn all about what a modern-day zoo is like! Sabinga is already part of the conservation community as he has been working with Save the Elephants in Kenya for over 8 years. He will be documenting his experiences at the Zoo and we will share his thoughts with you here on our blog! Stay tuned for more!

Sabinga's Updates: Learning About Saving Nature at the Zoo

The Houston Zoo has many ways to get involved with saving wildlife and education. I got a tour of the Houston Zoo’s Naturally Wild Swap Shop by staff member, Charlona. I learned a lot!! The Swap Shop is another place that gives a shot in the arm to conservation! It’s a place where children bring items they found in nature while being aware of rules and laws about not collecting bone or skull from hunted or poached animals.

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Each item children bring in is awarded a certain number of points, but one can get additional points by telling story of the animal or plant collected! And more points still if one writes or draws something about that item. This helps children to understand exactly what they collected!

Here is one that amazes me: elephant-resize

This is similar to Save the Elephants education department doing by going to schools and give a topic example “living with harmony with elephants” children make a drawing, a play or essay. Education officer select the best and gives a present; Like a game drive to see wildlife in the park, Save The Elephants T-Shirts, or book and pens.

The Houston Zoo shares successes but still needs everyone out there to contribute to our successes, because everyone from this country and around the world have something special inside themselves and nature is waiting for your ideas, your services, your skills, and your expertise! It’s time for you to show up, absolutely stand up for this nature; you have greatness within you, to protect wild animals and plants from extinction!


 

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Sabinga collecting marine debris in Galveston

The Houston Zoo is excited to welcome a new intern who comes to us all the way from Kenya, in East Africa. Sabinga is in the United States participating in the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). The Community College Initiative Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Northern Virginia Community College onbehalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC) in partnership with Houston Community College. While participating in this program, he will join us at the zoo as an intern to learn all about what a modern-day zoo is like! Sabinga is already part of the conservation community as he has been working with Save the Elephants in Kenya for over 8 years. He will be documenting his experiences at the Zoo and we will share his thoughts with you here on our blog! Stay tuned for more!

Sabinga's Updates: The Houston Zoo Staff Conservation Fund

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Sabinga collecting marine debris in Galveston

The Houston Zoo is excited to welcome a new intern who comes to us all the way from Kenya, in East Africa. Sabinga is in the United States participating in the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). The Community College Initiative Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Northern Virginia Community College onbehalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC) in partnership with Houston Community College. While participating in this program, he will join us at the zoo as an intern to learn all about what a modern-day zoo is like! Sabinga is already part of the conservation community as he has been working with Save the Elephants in Kenya for over 8 years. He will be documenting his experiences at the Zoo and we will share his thoughts with you here on our blog! Stay tuned for more! I joined the Houston Zoo as an intern in November 2014 in the conservation department, precisely under Renee Bumpus – Conservation Programs Manager. I understood the work of the Houston Zoo from Renee Bumpus with other accommodating and professional employees (Martha – Conservation Education Coordinator, Elyse – Conservation Coordinator, Ryan – Interactive Marketing coordinator and many more). They assisted me in everything I know, and Renee is fortunately not tired of me. She is my mega star on this matter I must say! She is constantly providing information according to Houston Zoo policy that an intern needs to know, to do and to learn. It’s a timely internship according to my school major and makes me feel on cloud nine (extreme happiness). On my internship I attend many meetings and workshops, join teams in the field, assist several departments according to schedule given. I extremely enjoy all of them, but I became tongue-tied by Houston Zoo Staff Conservation Fund.

SCF_with_tagline Staff Conservation Fund is a program where Zoo employees donate a portion of their hard-earned wages to conserve wildlife. The program provides funds for Houston Zoo staff to use to carry out programs to save wildlife. The program seeks to provide opportunities and resources for any Zoo staff member to become involved in conservation efforts and increase and strengthen the connections between Houston Zoo staff and conservation projects that help conservation, education, research, community outreach and allow staff to implement conservation initiatives on or off the Zoo ground, targeting those species, places and issues that need critical attention, or where the effects of the Staff Conservation Fund can have the greatest, widest impact. The Houston Zoo’s staff are pioneers on this Staff Conservation Fund Program that began in 2004 as a mechanism for staff involvement in conservation and saving wildlife. No other zoo in the United States operates such a successful program; it’s mind-blowing and heart opening in conservation.   This flourishing Staff Conservation Fund is well structured with a committee comprised of 11 staff members.  4 permanent positions on the committee are the conservation department; remaining 7 positions are from both animal and non-animal departments and rotate after 2 years terms. There are some successful projects that were funded by Staff Conservation Fund like Barton Spring Salamanders, Houston Toad Research, Marianas Islands Project, Painted Dog Rehabilitation Center Training and 22 other projects funded since the start of the program. To mention one, Lisa Marie – Veterinary Hospital and Animal Nutrition Manager at the Houston Zoo, applied for the Staff Conservation Fund and was awarded. She traveled across borders all the way to Africa to save painted dogs in the wild-an endangered species. She has done a marvelous job on assisting Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe to set up the new research laboratory, expand the project and use acquired parasitology skills to collect data on painted dogs by sampling scat for DNA, stress and reproductive hormones, prey hair analysis and now working together with the Houston Zoo Veterinary Clinic on basic parasitology. This entire project was funded by the Staff Conservation Fund. It’s unique in its conservation mission and yields unquestionable positive results and sheds light on conservation projects like Painted Dog Conservation.

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Lisa Marie training staff at Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe

The Save the Elephants organization in Kenya where I work has an almost matching program developed by field team and adopted by organization, called the Community Outreach Program. We have the Community Outreach Program because Save the Elephants is trying any way possible to win the battle against poaching of elephants. One example of an effort under the Community Outreach Program is reforming some of the notorious poachers to be conservationists and protectors of the wildlife. The battle is by no means won, but through Save the Elephants ever-growing Community Outreach Program, we see less elephants being poached. The Community Outreach Program is the project that Save the Elephants staff is doing outside of their normal daily activities; outside of our normal work to ensure animals are safe in the wild. This is very similar to the Staff Conservation Fund at the Houston Zoo, where employees take on work outside of their daily activities to make sure animals are safe in the wild. This is very encouraging program and big thumbs up to Houston Zoo staff, we need to follow their steps, it’s true time to set things right, enough for ourselves, for the wild we must fight, protect their kind, we have taken enough, now it is time to give and remember extinction is forever, we must act now, time is running out.

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Sabinga at an ivory burning in Kenya

Sabinga's Updates: How Saving Elephants is Like Saving Sea Turtles

Sabinga-Profile-ResizeThe Houston Zoo is excited to welcome a new intern who comes to us all the way from Kenya, in East Africa. Sabinga is in the United States participating in the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP). The Community College Initiative Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Northern Virginia Community College on behalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC) in partnership with Houston Community College. While participating in this program, he will join us at the zoo as an intern to learn all about what a modern-day zoo is like! Sabinga is already part of the conservation community as he has been working with Save the Elephants in Kenya for over 8 years. He will be documenting his experiences at the Zoo and we will share his thoughts with you here on our blog! Stay tuned for more!

It was Friday morning, I just reported back after Christmas and New Year break from my internship in the Houston Zoo, was the second day of January 2015. This day was planned last year for me to join Martha Parker (Conservation Education Coordinator) and Marketing team (Christine – Marketing Director, Shayla – Promotions Coordinator, Lauren – Marketing Coordinator, and Mary Kate– Marketing Coordinator) to travel to Galveston to visit NOAA’s sea turtle barn, the clock was ticking 11:01 am it’s time to go. We quickly get the big group ready to go. Christmas and New year stories occupied the air, each individual sharing their Christmas exciting memories, from beautiful Christmas trees full of sparkling, glittery ornament, sounds of giggling, toys blurring through the house and many more stunning detailed stories. Abruptly the stories were cut short because we had to go, six of us left “Oohing” and “Aaahing” Christmas season stories never stop, six of us continue chatting and laughing with joy! While Martha was driving and concentrating on the road, she kept contributing to the stories too, in about 30 minutes on the road, silence took control. I knew I didn’t contribute or tell my stories of my Christmas season, I knew it was my time! I didn’t know how to start my story of Christmas, so I asked Martha if I had told her about watching an NBA basketball game. Her exciting response it gave me energy to narrate was a nice story too, and I added more sweetness by showing pictures on my phone! By that time we were close to our destination.

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It was noon and one of us suggested if we can eat lunch before visiting the barn. It was the best suggestion and went unopposed, so we went to a restaurant, very nice and clean, looked like a museum with drawings and sculptures around the walls. We sat on one table, everyone served his or her favorite, and we enjoy our lunch like family in every aroma and every bite!  After lunch we headed to NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) sea turtle facility.

11NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Compound was not big, I might be wrong to estimate, but no matter the size it has much in it, it’s home for more than 400 turtles. It has big storage tanks you might think it’s for Oil storage and vessel but no-it’s just for circulation of water from the sea to more than 400 turtle pools so they feel they are in the sea!

22Question is why Houston zoo involved? Because the sad fact of the matter is that sea turtle populations around the world are plummeting. So they are getting to the heart of the matter to protect these vulnerable creatures. To involve protecting the adult and baby turtle is not just an important thing to do, it is also a step in the right direction to preserve this species for generations to come and protecting sea turtle is not only an act of compassion, it reinforces a necessary link in the fragile chain of our earth ecosystem. When humankind is in harmony with the wildlife on the land and in the sea the benefits are far reaching – we are all connected, that is why Houston zoo assists sea turtle efforts on the Texas Coast by partnering with organizations like NOAA, Moody Gardens, Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Texas A&M Galveston, among many others. The zoo provides staff expertise and resources to assist sea turtle efforts. These include staff to assist in weekly beach surveys, graphics assistance in designing sea turtle awareness signage for local beaches, and medical care and rehabilitation for injured sea turtles by our veterinary and aquarium staff. Experience the thrill of helping to save endangered sea turtles, when you go on a turtle tour, we saw four species of the sea turtles include Kemp’s Ridley, Hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead.  We learned a lot and I found many things related to work of Save the Elephants in Kenya.

33Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) is an amazing technology where it allows sea turtles to escape the back of the fishing trawl, while still capturing small animals like fish and shrimp. This is where zoo and government work with the community on saving sea creatures, where members of the community are part of conservation. The same idea where Save the Elephants works closely with the community by making them involved with conservation and be proud of their wildlife. An example is our beehive fence, where farmers use beehive fences around their farms, where bee sounds and stings scare elephants away before they can destroy crops. Also farmers harvest honey, thus reducing the conflicts between elephants and farmers.

Also Save the Elephants’ text message technique was best to bring community to conservation where farmers receive a text message from collared elephants telling them which way the elephants are coming including the time and date when elephants about 500 meters from the farm. This also makes the community to feel involved and part of conservation.

After the tour in turtle burn we head back, this time the stories in the car are different, all of us processing and remembering what we learned, some asking questions not because they failed to ask them at the barn but because it helped remind us what we learned. It reminded me of school where we always discuss what we learn, this is showing that everyone has the heart of conservation, besides their normal work.

What’s near and dear to our heart is cooperative conservation, and knowledge sharing can make the difference between survival and extinction, that’s why we inspire others to remain motivated and work together towards building and maintaining a winning team!

Let’s join hands to work together, so we can win this battle against extinction!

Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess Talks About Houston Zoo Crew

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

 




If you are between the ages of 13 to 17 and have a passion for animals, then the Houston  Zoo’s teen volunteer program, Zoo Crew, might be the perfect  opportunity for you!  Zoo Crew is a volunteer program where you get a chance to learn more about animals, how to protect them, and the day-to-day operation of the Houston Zoo.  You first have to apply for a position and go through an interview process.  It is great experience and helps to guide you in the right direction for your future career.

When you apply, there are three different areas you can choose from, which are:  theater, education and Camp Zoofari.  After you turn in your paperwork by the due date and go through the interview process, you will get emailed whether you were accepted and which position you got.  You then choose the three weeks you can work.  Zoo Crew starts June 1st and ends August 7th.  It is very important to show up for your assigned weeks because lots of people, and animals, are depending on you.

Emma-Zoo-Crew

When you work Zoo Crew, everyday is always different!  Whether you are working with the younger campers, teaching the public about animal facts, or performing skits for Zoo guests to teach about conservation, every day is something new.  I worked in Theatrical Interpretation and had a lot of fun.  No matter the job, there is so much information to learn and to pass on to everyone you come in contact with.  I would love to tell you a typical day at Zoo Crew, but there really is no typical day.

I will be honest, the first day I was very nervous.  I applied for Theatrical Interpretation because I have experience in theater.  Despite my experience, I was still was not quite sure what to expect.  But, the group leaders were there to help with the daily schedule and expectations.  My three weeks that I worked were lots of fun and went by way too fast for me.  I was able to learn lots about the animals and I also made some really good friends those weeks.  Most importantly, my group was able to teach a lot of people about animal conservation.

Zoo Crew is an experience that any teen wanting to help animals should try.  It helps you to learn not only about animals and what it takes to operate a zoo, but you learn more about yourself too.  You get more confidence in your abilities, make new  friends, and Zoo Crew helps you learn more about a zoological career.

Applications for Zoo Crew are online now! You can find the Zoo Crew Application here.  Good luck and I hope to see you at Zoo Crew.

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We might be biased, but we're thinking #TapirTuesday should be a thing... ... See MoreSee Less

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We might be biased, but were thinking #TapirTuesday should be a thing...

Comment on Facebook

No, not biased! It should totally be a thing.

Is he out for public viewing yet?

Alex here's the baby we saw Sunday!😍

we saw him on sunday and he was pretty cute!

We saw him Saturday and he was adorable!

Saw this baby yesterday. What a cutie!!

awe. such a cutie

Oh my goodness cuteness alert

Cute

Literally the reason I went the other day

Terminal cuteness!

Jessie Kate we saw him!!!!!

O. M. G. Daniel Head 😍😍😍

Gessica Grape Hannah Grape Angela Grape Victoria Lynn Polasek 😍😍😍😍

Baleigh Hildebrandt Audree needs to see this!

Nelson Tassin

Rachel Annalise Huygen What's his name?

Katie Plaeger I NEED HIM

Jessica Cheng omg

Megan Pounds!!

Jackie Walker

Michelle Salido

Sam Kendrick

Tan Ngu

Hilda Montano

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