The past two weeks at the zoo have literally been a zoo! For the most part the weather has been great and it has been Spring Break! Ahh, Spring Break, a time of relaxation and revitalization to push forward into a new year. NO LONGER! This spring break was an extremely busy yet creative time for me at the zoo.
The first week of spring break we had our first ever Spring Break Camp from 9-12pm, Monday through Friday for kids ages 7-14. It was a success. Although I was crunched for time I loved coming up with activities for the kids to enjoy and at the same time be learning about wildlife and conservation. The themed days were Nature Art, Geocaching, Nocturnal Animals, Backyard Wildlife and Tracks and Scat. My two favorite activities for the kids was a home made nocturnal maze I built for them using materials we had at the zoo. They were blindfolded and had to use their senses to navigate the maze. The kids loved it but really loved leading each other through the maze. My other favorite was chalk art, in which they were challenged to make their pavement box into an animal’s habitat. It took a while to set up but the kids enjoyed crawling around on the ground to create their masterpieces. I am extremely thankful to the volunteers who helped me out during the week! 25 kids and no volunteers would have been horrible! Luckily they also helped me break down and set up the zoo everyday.
|Nature Art: Chalk|
|Nocturnal Maze at the zoo!|
|Where are you?|
To view all of the pictures from the camp thanks to Adrian Cisneros, take a look on the El Paso Zoo Facebook page here. There are some really cute ones that will make you smile!
Most schools were off the second week in March but there were a decent amount that were off the third week. For those kids and families we offered daily one hour workshops at 10am and 2pm everyday Monday through Friday. There were families that joined us everyday and I grew close to them and looked forward to their arrival each day. A one hour workshop was perfect to entice them with the activity for the day but also explore more that the zoo has to offer. I loved the workshops.
|One family thanked me for the week with this awesome potted plant! LOVE.|
The second Saturday of my Spring Break was working at Kidspalooza! Even without knowing what Kidspalooza is, it sounds like a madhouse… and it was! The El Paso Zoological Society had a booth at the downtown El Paso children’s event. My station was making magical animal masks out of household materials (paper plates). In my head the point was that you don’t have to have all the supplies in the world to be creative and do a project with your kids. There are tons of materials you can upcycle into beautiful works of art. With 20,000 people attending Kidspalooza I don’t think that message was passed along. We probably had a few thousand come by our table and it was busy the entire day. People were crazy about the masks but I don’t think many of them thought, wow this is something I could do at home! Throughout the day, I did manage to gather a few more emails for the email list at the zoo. If you would like to know about upcoming programs or events or just see my dandy emails, sign up here. No worries, I won’t sell your emails and you will only receive about 1 per month unless there is so much going on I need to send 2! Thank you to Renee, the Zoological society director, Darrel (volunteer), and the facilities guys that dropped off and picked up the tent and tables!
|Our peaceful setup prior to the thousands of people!|
Castner Range is a former artillery range, owned by Fort Bliss, known for its cultural, geologic and unique biology. Many consider Castner Range the crown jewel of the Franklin Mountains. This is the reason I got involved in the event. Often during my programs at the zoo urban sprawl comes up, and it is easy for people to picture urban sprawl happening around the world. Many wild places are being destroyed for human use for homes, apartments, stores, roads, etc. But what people don’t realize is this is happening in our backyards. The Franklin Mountains are part of El Paso but only the state park is preserved as a wild space. The foothills of the mountains is being sought after by contractors to build houses, roads and more. This area is extremely important for the rich biodiversity of the area. If you want to learn more, come to the event! The Franklin Mountains Wildnerness Coalition is a nonprofit dedicated to preserve the scenic beauty and wilderness character of the Franklin Mountains. Even if you don’t frequent hiking in the mountains, but just value being able to look up from downtown El Paso and see the mountains, come to the Poppies Fest!
|Castner range in all its glory!|