Friday, August 29, 2014

Vale of Cashmere-Prospect Park

The Vale of Cashmere located along south Prospect Park used to look just like how it is in the picture. The breath-taking scenery with a grand fountain would bring joy to anyone. What was once and flowing pond filled with exotic fish and turtles down suffer under overgrown weeds. As we took a deeper look on the heritage of this area we were very surprised to find out that this area began to form 17,000 years ago when  the Wisconsin glacier began to melt creating an 60 foot slope. Park designers Olmsted and Vaux began to modernized this area by putting the rose garden with giant pool  of water filled with aquatic plants and little boats for children to play on. After being takenover by the Prospect Park Alliance, construction in this area began to disappear with the creation of playgrounds, Wollman's rink and the Prospect Park Zoo. Prospect Park eventually turned off all the water flowing to this area and maintenance was decreased. This led to an unkempt brush of twigs, weeds, grass and garbage. 

Up Close & Personal : Peacock Edition

What A Breath-Taking View
While exploring the breath-taking wonders of Prospect Park Zoo, I came across a group of beautiful and exotic peacocks, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL! You would think to yourself  "How in the world could you be close to any animal let alone a peacock considering how fast they can run and how high they can jump.  Is that safe at any element?. Welp, read it and weep peacocks are what's in this summer season. These peacocks were literally walking around Prospect Park Zoo, as though they are actual humans and have not a care in the world. At times the 4 peacocks are seen spread out across the zoo, some in other animal's habitats and others walking around and circling the sea lion pool. What makes a peacock so breath-taking is the beautiful array of colors on their feathers.
                                           -Erin Saunders-

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bridging the Gap

I've been a Bridging the Gap intern for a year now.  I've been having a blast, I learned so much about what working in a zoo is like.  For me being a Bridging the Gap intern is a special opportunity because we learn all the positions in the zoo.  From the zoo keeper to the social media team it takes a lot of work.  It has helped me figure out what my interests are by knowing what a zoo keeper does.  The keeper works one on one with their animal, being there for the animal 24 hours everyday of the week its a lot of responsibility.  I also found out how I like social media for the zoo. I got interested in social media because it is ever so growing.  Currently I contributed to the Bridging the Gap instagram, taking pictures and posting them for an audience all over the world to see.  That's why social media was interesting to me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BTG Interview with Mario Giampieri

Today as  I entered the translucent building that hides within the Bronx Zoo, I met Mario Giampieri. Mario is a GIS analyst of the Welikia Project founded by his very own professor/mentor Eric W. Sanderson. I was lucky enough to have him clear out his schedule for an interview considering how busy his days can be. The creators of the Welikia project ( a software, called Mannahatta2409 , which is characterized by pre-colonial Manhattan. It gives you the power to reconstruct the ecosystem and biodiversity of Manhattan island according to current, past and theoretical maps of the future. The options range from 400years prior to the program launching, 1609 when the Europeans came upon Mannahatta (as it was called then), to 400 yrs after (which as he explained is where 2409 comes from).
Mario gave me great advice on college preparations. He told me that as he started NYU he was pursuing another major for about 2 and half years until he realized that it wasn't for him. So he switched to Environmentalism with a focus on urban planning social injustice.
As I was speaking to Mario he gave me kind of a feel of his work environment. He told me he has other co-workers who also help with their website . As they are working they are mostly divided by boroughs and different places outside the country. Even though they all research different fields, they share their findings with one another. Also he explained that they receive several projects at a time, so each day there is plenty to do. He explained the worst part of the day is being the administrator, as in replying to emails or other forms of paperwork.
Like I have successfully failed, Mario is also learning how to code and create his own website. He also recommended I use where he finds it much simpler to understand due to the well-made video tutorials.
Now that I have spoken to Mario Giampieri, I have a more of a realistic view on what to expect when I take my SAT's and ACT's. He described his experience taking his first SAT's as not being in the state of mind needed to focus, so he simply took it again and assured me that there is always a second chance.

Map of 1782 found in "Mannahatta" by Eric W. Sanderson
Mario Giampieri

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap is a program that helps high school students pursuit their interest in careers related to zoology, marine science, ecology or even biology. Students are selected in 3 cohorts of 50 students each, and can participate at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and New York Aquarium. If a student were to get selected he/she are to commit to all 4 phases of the programs. Phase 1 is completing 11 sessions conducting animal behavior, zoo designing and meeting the staff. Phase 2 is mentoring the students on college and job preparations. Phase 3 is basically boot camp, let the name fool you because its 2days back to back preparing for college interviews, course selections, applications and financial aid. In Phase 4 the students get a hands-on work experience.
I know this sounds like a lot of time or a lot to go through but speaking from experience, I am currently in Phase 4, it's  unlike other students I took two types of internships. My first experience was in toddler camp where I got to see different parenting techniques from different ethnicity and I also got the feel of being somewhat of a teacher by observing/helping the layout of the entire day. My second experience was related to social media and coding. The coding was meant to educate me on creating my own website and the social media is actually what you are reading right now. I can say that once you meet all the amazing people, or see what Bridging the Gap has to offer it's going to be worth it.


Friday, August 22, 2014

A Different Experience

A Day with the Zoo Camp Kids 

What is it like working with the Zoo Camp kids ?

The Zoo Camp kids sure know how to have fun, from snacks to learning about animals, and even trips around the zoo! Today the Zoo Camp kids researched a certain animal and spread around the zoo to teach visitors about those animals. For example, the group I was with today was "The Okapis". They stood near the African Wild Dogs, and taught people about them, I even learned a thing or two from them! 
Later on the Zoo Camp kids headed back to the Congo classroom to make their own little plays. Overall, it was a different, and very fun experience hanging out with the Zoo Camp kids.
Zoo Camp kids teaching people about African Wild Dogs

Post by Jean Michel 

BTG Interview with Lemuel

BTG Interview 

What is it that you do ?
"Any emergency or malfunction that comes up regarding technology we go and help."

Do you enjoy it ?
"Yes, because I understand the technological aspect of it and plus it's a very chill internship."

What time do you come in and leave ?
"I come in at 9:30am and I leave at 4pm. And there's also like no set time for lunch. Lunch is basically when ever we're not busy."

What do you enjoy the most about this internship ?
"It's usually very chill. It's been fairly easy this week. There was only a couple of really busy days."

What do you enjoy the least ?
"Nothing. I actually really like it."

What were the busy days and why did you do ?
"Monday was busy since it was my first day so I was being showed around. Wednesday was also a very busy day since it was free admission day so there was a lot of malfunctions. We had to fix a touch screen at Congo and I just assisted and watched.

Who are you usually with ?
"On Monday, Tuesday and Friday I was with James and on Wednesday and Thursday I was with Joe. The time that  I was with Joe it was mostly outside because he doesn't like being indoors in the office all day. So we were usually running around all day.

I was also able to ask his mentor, James, a few questions too.

When is it the busiest ?
"Summer weekends since people are usually like on vacations and stuff during the week. Winter weekdays since it's usually freezing outside and people would much rather stay inside. So I have to deal with setting up conference calls and stuff like that. There's also usually no in between. It's either super busy or super slow."

What are other things that you have to take are of ?
"I also have to deal with setting up weddings which is usually pretty hectic. In the years that I've been here there has probably been a wedding every weekend of every year in the months of like August to October."

It was actually really nice to be able to hang out with James and Lemuel for a couple hours and see what it is they actually do. I also got to find out some pretty interesting stuff. Who knew that people actually have their weddings in the Bronx Zoo..

During the interview, they had to go test something. We went to various locations and I was able to witness firsthand what they do.
Lemuel testing out a microphone