Happy National Zookeeper Week, to all animal care professionals. I admit, I still consider myself a zookeeper, always and forever. This week I celebrate my fifteen years as a dedicated animal trainer and caretaker. I also celebrate how with ZooFit, I incorporate all the principles of zookeeping to help others achieve success in whatever their goals may be.
What is the most endangered marine mammal in the world? It’s the adorable vaquita porpoise, with a depressingly low population of as few as 10 individuals. If any animal needs a day for raising awareness, it’s the vaquita. Luckily, today is International Save the Vaquita Day. And I wanted to share a super fast ZooFit awareness challenge to honor these “pandas of the sea.”
When an animal trainer is working with a group of animals, a great method for handling all of them at once is “stationing”. Without station training many animals I worked with, my work life would have been a lot more frustrating.
Most of us have probably heard how an oyster creates a pearl. But in case you haven’t, here is the gist:
An irritant enters the oyster’s shell and imbeds itself in the mantle (the layer inside the shell that surrounds its body). The oyster secretes nacre to smooth over the irritant, and a pearl is formed. Nacre is sometimes called “mother-of-pearl” because of this process.
The current environment and situation we are all dealing with has brought some frustrations and anxiety to our lives. While some stores won’t let me use my own containers (for bulk food), or even my own bags, and some stores don’t pack the groceries the way I’d prefer to conserve plastic, I have to remember I can compensate in other ways.
Yes, it’s frustrating, but I try not to get upset over policies and protocols different stores are practicing. Managers are just coming up with ways they feel can keep their employees and customers safe. We’re all in this brave new world together. Everything is an experiment. I’m just grateful they are OPEN.
I’ve considered skipping this idea for Easter, because I can imagine some push-back that I’m not being careful enough. But if you do take precautions (wearing gloves, a mask if necessary, stay out of the roads), I have an excellent idea for adults to make a difference in their community, clean up the planet, and maybe have a little fun.
In 2016, a phenomenon started in Stockholm, Sweden and quickly gained popularity in Europe and beyond. They call it “plogging”, which was derived from the term plocka up (pick up) and jogging. So, basically, jogging while picking up litter.
My husband started plogging, or at least plocking (picking up litter while walking) when he started going to the playground down the street to work on his pull-ups. It was a special way to get a little more walking in, while making a significant difference in our community. I loved it, and joined him for a couple plocking workouts. Both times we over-filled our bags, but the neighborhood looks terrific.
It is unfortunate, to me, that we do tend to have to repeat routes every now and then, as trash gets littered throughout the side streets nearly every day. But this does give Chris and I an excuse every week or so to cut out the strenuous exercise programming, go for a walk, and keep our area nice and clean.
Conservation Easter Egg Hunt
Since the wonderful world of quarantine and social distancing, we haven’t done as much plocking as we’d like. Sometimes we see garbage on the side, and in days past, I’m pretty sure I would just pick it up. Not anymore.
But the trash isn’t going away. And even before coronavirus, Chris and I would always wear gloves to go plocking. One time, we found a bag with a FISH, a whole fish in it. Yeah, you need gloves. But if we want to be extra cautious, we can wear masks, too.
So, I have a handful of plastic bags I was not “allowed” to avoid (repeat mantra “I’m grateful they are open, and they are doing what they feel is best to keep their employees and customers safe”). And our neighborhood could use a good plocking.
So, this year, instead of an Easter Egg Hunt, Chris and I will be going on an Easter Plocking Hunt. What goodies will we discover? That’s the excitement of the Plock.
We also up our game of exercising while plocking by picking a particular piece of litter (say, plastic bottles), and do a quick set of exercises whenever we find that trash on our hunt. Sure, we may look silly to some people driving or walking by (safely 6 feet distance) and they see us randomly squatting, doing jumping jacks, or butt-kickers, but this is also why we work out together. It doesn’t phase us when we are BOTH doing the exercise.
So, join me this year on a conservation Easter “egg” hunt. Let’s clean up our communities, living green, and training positive.
A couple weeks ago while working on my YouTube series “Healthy You, Healthy Earth”, I started discussing a topic which I realize I haven’t covered too much before. We all focus on the tangible concrete actions to take when protecting the environment, not many realize how important the EMOTIONAL side of conservation is. Read More “Passive Conservation”
Every year during the American Association of Zookeepers’ national conference, the host city has a Zoo Day. This year’s conference was in Indianapolis, so I was able to enjoy the Indianapolis Zoo from a zookeeper’s perspective. Read More “Zookeeper’s Holiday- Indianapolis Zoo”
Wow, what a month! Read More “ZooFit Safari- Get Your Copy Today”
It’s taken me a few days to decompress, but I’m back to normal and proud of ZooFit. I just have to toot my horn a little. After I got a little shut-eye and power naps. Read More “ZooFit Hits Dallas”
I’ve had two super late nights in the past week, and while I certainly don’t like to make a habit of it, it was for another great cause. Chris and I didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day on Thursday. There was this whole snow storm thing, and our reluctance to ever leave the home thing. But it’s all good. Instead of Valentine’s dinner at an overpriced restaurant, we attended a special event dedicated to promoting conservation, education, and awareness on pollinators. Read More “For the Love…of Pollinators”