A year in El Paso

The Chihuahuan Desert is a diamond in the rough, you just need to know how and what to look for.  Most people see a desert and see a barren landscape, but as you look closer you will find many different species of plants and animals.  I was lucky enough to live in El Paso for a year and see a few of these species in the wild.  Everyday I tried to make the desert come alive and intrigue people with what is found in the Chihuahuan desert.  I hope I inspired a few kids and adults to explore their backyards and local parks.

On a hike exploring the Franklin Mountains with a fab view of El Paso. About 20 min drive to trail head from where we lived.

To find out where to explore in and around El Paso view some past posts: El Paso is Beautiful and Checking out the Scene are two good ones to start out.  Then get out more with Gila Gila Gila and Get out and Camp.

I am extremely thankful for the opportunity given to me at the El Paso Zoo.  The best part of my job was the freedom to be creative and to research, plan and implement any program.

Some noteworthy experiences in the past year:

  1. the fabulous staff at the El Paso Zoo – I mean, I have crazy off the wall ideas sometimes and most staff was excited to jump on board and help out in any way they could.  For that I am extremely thankful, not just for me but for the participants that truly enjoyed the experiences they received and will remember them for their entire lives.
  2. One of my favorites was a Build a Bathouse Workshop in which all the participants learned about local bats, their importance and built a real life bat house to take home with them and use at their house.  All of the participants got so into it and excited to make the best box they could!  I hung up the one I made on zoo grounds for all visitors to see and hopefully question “what is that?”
  3. Spring Break Camp 2012 – a ton of prep/reservation time but man those kids had a blast doing habitat chalk art, nocturnal maze, classification relay game and much more.  Read more and see pictures here.
  4. Teacher Workshops – in my final two weeks I had a big teachers workshop that ended up being a perfect last project.  I loved creating the schedule and curriculum and then implementing it on that day.  Overall it will lead to their science teachers being excited to teach it to their students and bring their kids to the zoo for more programming!
  5. the class from Ysletta that I worked with and helped organize them taking the city bus (to save $ and energy) to attend their field trip at the zoo (including curriculum class, scavenger hunt and day at the zoo)
  6. The animals – need a creative moment or stressed out about budget/finance/admin stuff?  Well it’s easy, go hang out at some of the exhibits and magically you will feel happy, refreshed, and creative all over again!
  7. All of the people I collaborated with throughout the community!  Thank you to everyone I collaborated with and for all of your support, creativity, open minds, and productivity!
  8. Volunteers were there many many times to assist me with anything I needed to make the programs a success!
  9. Chairing the Poppies Fest 2012 was an awesome opportunity!  Read all about that and see the pictures here.

Here are some pics from the last few weeks:

What a fabulous year!!!  And what a fabulous last few days!  I had the opportunity to be close to many of our animals, experiences I will never forget!  THANK YOU ALL!

If I had any advice from this experience it would be:  Get out there and do it.  Do the best job you can possibly do and make things happen.  Explore the area you are in, not only will you like the experience it will make you happier and more knowledgeable/influential in your job.  Eat lots of Mexican food!  Ceviche, spicy tomato juice, queso fries, limes limes limes and El Taco Tote!

I miss my peeps from El Paso but as soon as I find a place to stay here in Dallas, you guys will always have a place to stay!

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