May 13 Update

I started writing this at around 5:30 this morning. At 5:30 AM, it’s quiet at the Museum, at a time when it should be quiet. It feels normal and that’s nice.

What is also turning out to be normal is opening packages with more gifts for the critters!

Nicole’s gifts will be given to the rabbits, wolves, chinchillas, and more. THANK YOU NICOLE!

As I mentioned Sunday, we had yard work to do out in Explore the Wild. We got the wolf pool cleaned thanks to Janine. Rob spent an hour pulling poison ivy– you can never get rid of it, but you can control it a little. Poison ivy is no issue for the wolves, or Rob, but the rest of us aren’t too fond of it. We also pruned and cut down a lot of bushes, trees, and branches that were encroaching on the fence.

At bears, we did yard work too.

Any idea who that is using the weedeater? (answer at the end of the post). In addition to mowing the yard, cutting back the growth around the electric fence is critical to its operation.

Literally, the entire team worked to knock out bear yard projects. Shayna and Jordan had never been at the bear habitat before, so a physically-distanced detailed review of safety requirements and tasks were discussed prior to the start.

Janine lead the discussion. Jordan and Shayna, left, with the cart and garbage can, were on “poop scooping” duty. Rob did a bunch of work with one of the weedeaters.

In order for us to work in the yard, the bears have to be locked in the house. We use LOTO to ensure the bears are in a locked area and cannot accidentally be let out. (We also turn off and LOTO our electric fence so no accidental zaps while working around the fence).

Mimi lounges in the house while we’re out doing our work in the yard. It’s hard enough for some to identify the bears when you look at their faces so I won’t ask you to try to identify the bear on the left by his “butt shot” (but since I said “his” you should know who!)

Mowing the yard, weed-eating in the yard and on the cliff, pruning back growth from the fences, scooping the yard and cliff, and skimming the pools was a major task. AND… we also got a laser treatment in for Virginia.

Janine gets Virginia situated on the squeeze cage. Janine has a variety of treats to keep Virginia focused and still.

As I am sure you can imagine, helping out in the bear habitat is pretty special. Jordan, who two months ago was working in Gizmo and Elements, our retail stores, thought it was AWESOME to scoop bear poo and get so close to the bears.

Yona and Jordan.

As I prepare for my week on campus to wind down, it’s my time to gather my laptop/work bag, finish out the morning’s tasks on grounds, and reflect. I am so fortunate to continue to be well. It takes a lot of diligence to stay safe and well. My safety and wellness, and that of the animals, depends on the team being committed to follow guidelines from the CDC while working AND while home. They are working under less than ideal circumstances and taking care of each other and the animals and I am better (physically and mentally) because of them.

And while I am reflecting, let me give a shout out to our special-guest-weed-eater extraordinaire. Whenever ANYTHING is needed, all I have to do is reach out to Ro. If it’s about a rush order of veterinary medicine that I cannot take care of, or a package sign printed, or help weed-eating in the bear yard, Ro is quick to jump in and support the team, the animals, the Museum, and me. What a huge gift to the Museum– and me. Thanks Ro.

Thanks Ro.

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