With ZooCrew, we work with middle school students through after-school programs to introduce them to the varied STEM and conservation careers that are possible. They work with zoo advisors who represent different jobs across the zoo—from animal care to science writing—to get first-hand experience in how fun and rewarding these jobs can be. By working with professionals, our students can create meaningful, high-quality projects.
Here are a few careers they explored and the projects they created during the fall season of 2012:
ZooCrew students learned that events are crucial in raising funds and awareness for our conservation mission. Those who chose this career had the option of working with zoo Events Manager Toni Radonich to generate ideas to expand WildLights our brand new winter lights festival. One student went above and beyond, creating a 51-page proposal replete with drawings, ideas, and animal facts!
Other students decided to work with Digital Communications Manager Rebecca Whitham. They learned that creating effective online messages can help spread awareness of conservation issues. One team created a blog post (A Day in the Life of a Wolf Pup) while a second team created a short informational video (Wolves: Fact vs. Fiction) using iMovie.
Early Childhood Education
While ZooCrew students are the next generation of conservation and community leaders, some of them turned around and started raising the generation that will follow them. Working with Early Childhood Education Specialist Nemesia Herzstein and the Early Childhood team, they created an African Savanna-themed puppet show, starring lions, hippos, and a big-mouthed giraffe) and a “Creature Feature” that chronicled the story of a young wolf learning the qualities of leadership from a snake, bear and owl. After weeks of writing and re-writing, both teams got to perform for an enthusiastic group of toddlers and their parents in Zoomazium.
Another student teamed up with zoo Field Conservation Coordinator Bobbi Miller to find out what people know about Wolves in Washington. This student even came up with some questions that elicited empathy for these local carnivores, such as “Pretend you are a wolf. If you encountered a human, how would you feel?”
Our final career option was Animal Management. Students worked with Collection Manager Deanna Ramirez to create enrichment items for the wolves or snow leopards. After the proposal, redesign, and construction, the teams watched as the animals enjoyed a stimulating challenge that they had created.
How about you?
The students got to choose the conservation and career project that most interested them. If you were in ZooCrew, which would you have picked?