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Why I’m thankful

Hey all! I thought with the holiday season in full force, it would be a great time to focus on some of the things that I am thankful for this year. I am a keeper in the Ambassador Animals Department, and while I spend most of my time up at the World of Wild Theater with our ambassador birds, I am super thankful to work in a department where I also get the opportunity to cross-train across multiple areas and with so many different species.

I get to spend one day a month down in Wieland Wildlife Home, where I actually got my start as a full-time keeper. This is one of my favorite days as it means I get to catch up with all my mammal, reptile, amphibian, invertebrate, and now chicken friends that I don’t get to see every day. I am also thankful for the chance I got to cross-train down in Outback Station. I was able to spend a few weeks learning all things goats and sheep. Just like Wieland, I still get to hang out there once a month and spend time in the petting zoo with the goats and sheep, meeting and educating guests. Time is made even better when the baby girls (who aren’t so little anymore) are out entertaining everyone with their big personalities.

Of course, I am still thankful for the wonderful birds I get to spend time with every day. They are all so different and they all help me to be a better keeper and trainer day by day. I am so appreciative of the staff I get to work with on a regular basis. There have been a lot of big changes throughout the year at the Theater, and we have had to say goodbye to some wonderful people and animals, but with that, we also got to say hello to some new individuals who have proven to be great additions to the department. I think I speak for the keepers in Ambassador Animals when I say we have received a great amount of support from our managers this year as well, which has made the changing environments go smoothly.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t say what we are all the most thankful for … YOU! The support that you all show us, whether in person or virtually through social media shares and comments, brings us so much joy. We love seeing the reactions you all have to our animals doing something silly and how attentive you are when we explain how it is a natural behavior. We love seeing you all at our presentations and encounters, soaking in all of what you are seeing (even if you are laughing at us for making silly mistakes). Most of all, we love seeing you learn what you can do to help the animals you have seen and taking that information to use in your daily life. For all of that, I would like to say thank you!

McKenzie B.
Keeper III, Ambassador Animals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl