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Items on a Zoo Educators Desk
By: Brenda, Director of Education and Volunteers, Audubon Zoo
I walked into my office this morning extremely excited to see some baby crawfish that had been born in one of my tanks while I was out for the weekend. It was a momentous occasion because it was a total surprise and an even bigger occasion because fifth graders from a charter school were the ones who discovered them.
A class of Special Ed fifth graders walks by my tank of crawfish every day. Yesterday one of the girls, who checks on them every morning, exclaimed that there were babies. Ed staff smiled and didn’t really pay much attention. (Education has never reproduced any of our animals-on purpose or by accident.)The girl brought her teacher over and again was trying to get our attention that there were “BABIES!” Staff finally came to the tank and sure enough there were teeny tiny crawfish-dozens of them. We are thrilled.
In general, zoo education offices are filled with interesting items and for anyone who wanders into the Audubon Zoo Education offices there is always a “teachable moment”. This morning I sipped my Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee (that’s a whole other blog) as I walked past a desk where a zebra skull shared the same space with a lion skull. There is a dehydrator at the back of the office where a small dead bird; two cicadas and a dead tarantula are laid out drying for future use. The Bugmobile coordinator’s desk is covered with rubber, dead and live insects. The Wetland Express desk has feathers and rubber scat. My floor is covered with T-Rex bone replicas. There is even a brain of a primate in a jar on one of the educators’ desk.
Why do we have all this weird stuff? Because it is our job to piqué the curiosity of the young and old. It’s our job to teach you all the cool things about the animal world. We will loan these biofacts to teachers, we will talk about our items to any zoo guest that will listen, and we will drive our insects dead and alive to your classroom and teach you the importance of every living creature. I love our cluttered offices full of strange and creepy things. We love the opportunities to tell you about every detail. Being an Audubon Zoo educator is a fantastic job. Where else could I have a desk covered with a stuffed meerkat, a T-Rex bobble head and live beetles? Check out all the education department has to offer at http://www.auduboninstitute.org/educators.