Bailey’s Summer Service at the Central Park Zoo

This summer, I was a teen intern at the Central Park Zoo. I have been doing programs at the Zoo ever since I was in Lower School and always loved seeing animals from different parts of the world. All throughout my three weeks at the zoo, we made enrichment for animals. Enrichment encourages an animal’s natural behavior. The animals are interested in the enrichment and examine it. Some enrichment can be found in food form or involve a clever way to hide food. We made burlap braids for the red pandas and wove bamboo into it. We also got long pieces of bamboo and  rubbed mint and basil from the Zoo’s browse garden for the grizzly bears. Besides making enrichment, we had an hour a day to assist zoo keepers. We were each assigned two of the four zones at the Zoo (Polar and Tropic or Temperate and Children’s Zoo). I spent the first half of the teen internship in the Polar Zone doing fish breakout (weighing capelin and herring), scrubbing poop off penguin rocks, cleaning the fridge covered in fish remnants, and cleaning sock filters. We couldn’t take any photos because it is “behind the scenes,” where the general public doesn’t go. In the Tropic Zone, we cleaned hedgehog cages, chuckwalla enclosures, and helped the keepers feed the birds. On the last few days of the internship, we worked on our final project, aiming to educate the Zoo’s visitors about the Wildlife Conservation Society‘s new campaign to protect the NY Harbor, Blue York. We were split up into groups, and mine got people to write pledges on dry erase boards and then take a picture with it (Ex: I pledge to clean up my trash at the beach). Others got people to participate in trivia and had people sign a thank you card for the local fisherman who kindly agreed to stop fishing in an area with coral reef. I miss working with with the animals so much and really love the idea of educating the public about animals at zoos, making them fall in love with the them and support conservation efforts.

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