Friday, March 21, 2014

Some of the benefits of working at a zoo... or, Why I Love My Job

You read it in the above "About Me" section atop this blog-- I'm currently the Media Relations Manager for the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Yep, we're all about animals and conserving wildlife. It's a good thing. 

I am privileged to enjoy benefits of working at a zoo, like participating in behind-the-scenes encounters, including a preview to our upcoming Capybara Encounter. I was a guinea pig to an animal that can be compared to a guinea pig! Although, technically, it's the world's largest rodent. ;) Don't be skurred, they're really cute and sweet!

Feeding the happy capy
Watch your fingers!

This Capybara Experience is likely to be offered to the public in April. I've also fed our North American black bears, stroked the fur of a sedated jaguar undergoing a teeth-cleaning, and taken a Christmas photo with an 80-year-old giant Aldabra tortoise who is missing a foot. Find out how YOU can get up-close and personal with our Zoo's animals at this link on our website.

One aspect of the job that I enjoy is working with local media, including my own former coworkers/friends from WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida. I got to be "Crash the Cardinal" this past weekend at the Roger Dean Stadium Zoo Day... This time, I had the fun of helping Ashley Porter with The List TV Show learn how to be a Zoo mascot! Watch the segment HERE, and yes, I have an unintentional cameo, LOL!

The List/former WPTV photographer Cody Jackson films Ashley Porter getting some love from kids

I also like giving Zoo tours to animal lovers, including the sweetest news anchor around, Ashleigh Walters. The Zoo partners with WPTV to feature a live animal in-studio every month, and Ashleigh is always so enthusiastic about the animals! Last month, she featured Wilbur the sloth, and Wilbur was a big hit! Watch the segment HERE on WPTV's website. 

With Ashleigh and the Zoo's black bear brothers, Lewis and Clark

Ashleigh also did a special report in November 2013 going behind-the-scenes with zookeepers... that was an amazing sweeps piece. You can still watch it online HERE-- it's worth the view!

Ashleigh was there tonight, as our Zoo held its sixth Food Truck Safari. We both had a yummy Cuban quesadilla from Crazydilla! It was a flavor explosion. 

My husband in the peach shirt, waiting in line to buy us some Crazydillas
Why is this photo from Crazydilla's Facebook page, and not one I snapped myself? Because I ATE IT TOO FAST! So much for my Lenten resolutions of no starches...

I admit it's hard to mess up a quesadilla, but they know how to do it RIGHT.

Check out the Food Truck Safari event photos I snapped on our Facebook album HERE. While you're at it, follow us on social media! One part of my work day is maintaining the Zoo's Palm Beach Zoo FacebookPalm Beach Zoo Twitter, and Palm Beach Zoo Instagram. We even started a Zoo blog HERE, to which zookeepers and other staff members have been contributing.

At the Food Truck Safari, I also got to hang out with my friend Carli Segelson, who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We're snorkeling buddies-- she's about the only person I know who is as addicted as I am to snorkeling. Almost every time we go, Carli is with us. Hey, somebody's gotta bring the snorkel flag! ;) 

My husband Nathan, me, and Carli at the Food Truck Safari

Last, but not least, I'll leave you with this photo that proves: You don't need to take a selfie, you just need to teach a stranger how to use your camera... but beware the awkward photos which come from the learning curve.