Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Written by Holly Henry

I was standing by the front counter at the zoo a while back when I heard crickets chirping. At first it seemed a comforting sound, much like the ones I remember from warm summer nights of camping by the river. For a few moments I was swept away to the smell of campfires and the taste of sticky, scorched marshmallows.

Then I realized I was standing in the zoo’s main office and the chirping was coming from a box just delivered by Fed Ex, no doubt a tasty treat for something further up the food chain.

Welcome to life at the Lake Superior Zoo!

Since I began working here several months ago, I’ve experienced many unusual sights and sounds not familiar in my former career as a writer. In my old world the most notable sounds were that of key boards clicking and phones ringing. In this new world there are children laughing, lions roaring, peacocks screeching and tropical birds squawking.

There’s never a dull moment. Shortly after my arrival at the zoo I had the opportunity to watch (up close and personal) as a zookeeper worked with Berlin, our polar bear. What a privilege it was to be in the company of such a magnificent animal, which is now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Shortly after that experience I had the opportunity to visit with Boo, our owl, and Weber, one of our bats. Both are amazing creatures with personalities all their own. Watching as our Education Program Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator interacted with Boo and Weber, it was obvious there was a mutual understanding, admiration and respect.

That understanding, admiration and respect is at the root of all we do here at the Lake Superior Zoo. We strive to establish it human to animal and human to human. Every day I see members of the zoo team working hard to communicate clearly and politely with one another. Every day I witness people who own their work and are passionate about what they do. And they do it with skill, compassion and a wonderful sense of humor!

In the short time I’ve been at the Lake Superior Zoo, I’ve come to respect both the passionate people who work here and the animals they care for. If you haven’t been here lately, please come visit us. You’ll quickly see for yourself!

posted by Keely Johnson at

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