This week (July 15 – 21, 2018) is National Zookeeper and Aquarist Week, a time when we at the GSC like to show off our team of dedicated zoo and aquarium professionals to you – our members, guests and fans.
These individuals work 365 days a year, doing so much more than feeding animals and scooping poop. They take an active role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of their animals. They monitor water quality. They work with animals on training behaviors that will assist in providing them the best possible veterinary care. They work tirelessly to create stimulating experiences for our animals. They offer enrichment items, treats, belly rubs, head scratches, shell scrubs, and so much more. Most importantly, they care. These animals are their co-workers, and this truly amazing team treats them with the same love and respect they provide their human co-workers.
Their work isn’t all about animal care, as some may believe. It’s also about human interactions! Every day, our team educates guests about our animals as well as the species as a whole. They inspire us to think about how human actions affect wild spaces and wildlife – and offer suggestions about ways we can do a better job protecting our planet. They even help to dispel myths about animals people might have negative associations with.
But don’t just take it from us… have a look at what our Board of Directors, senior management and members have shared this week:
“Our team of dedicated animal caretakers puts in countless hours doing some pretty difficult and dirty work. Though there are times of true amazement in our field, there are also moments that are very difficult and can take an emotional toll. That’s why teamwork is so important to us and creating a fun and enjoyable work environment is something we value greatly. Whether it is themed lunches, trivia nights, or even costume contests, these folks are always out to create some smiles. And when the going gets tough, each and every one of them is there for one another other to offer support. I know the GSC would not be the same place without them and I’d like to thank each and every one for all they do not just for the GSC, but also for each other.” – Jessica Hoffman-Balder, General Curator
“As a Board member and also a Docent for 10 years, I’ve had the special privilege to shadow keepers in all areas, as well as accompany many folks on some amazing Behind the Scenes tours. From being able to put meat out for the tigers, hand feed the penguins, transfer fish from one tank to another, and overcome my life-long fear of snakes, I have learned SO MUCH and come to more fully appreciate and be awed by what this incredible group does every day to care for our amazing collection of living creatures. Their dedication, efficiency and teamwork are unsurpassed and invaluable in the success of the GSC. Sending a big SHOUT OUT of “thanks” to each and every one!” – Betty Barry, GSC Board of Directors
“How can I thank the entire Keeper and Aquarist staff enough? They have been instrumental on every behind-the-scenes tour I give and go out of their way to make our guests’ experiences special. Not only are they informative, but their love for the animals radiates from them. Some of my favorite personal experiences were watching country artist Stephanie Quayle touch the octopus, Keeper Carolyn’s Discovery House tours for younger kids, and the gibbon talks with Keeper Amanda.But every tour has its own uniqueness! Thanks, Keepers and Aquarists!” – Kathy Neff, GSC Director of Development
“[I’m] always so impressed with staff and their sincere dedication to their jobs and to the GSC! We are lucky to have them take on such vital and important roles that definitely contribute to the overall success of the center and to the enjoyment of all who come to visit!” – Jeanne Blaisdell, GSC Board of Directors
We invite you to join us in thanking our keepers and aquarists, whether it be this week or anytime the inclination strikes. Without their hard work and heartfelt dedication, the GSC as we know it wouldn’t be here. And just the same, without your support and patronage, none of this would be possible… so we thank you, too!