Job Experience Program – San Diego Zoo Global, USA
It’s almost a year I started working as Education Officer in Nisargakavi Bahinabai Chouadhary Pranisangrahalay (Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation Zoo) in India and I cannot imagine I just have had a life changing opportunity to participate in IZEA’s Job Experience Program at San Diego Zoo Global. It’s hard to believe my visit is already over and I am back in India sharing all my experiences.
I appreciate the efforts by SDZG to make my visit fulfilling. I am thankful to Debra Erickson who serves as Marketing Director: Communications and Interpretation for San Diego Zoo Global for offering me to stay at her place and putting efforts to prepare amazing schedule for this visit. During the length of two and half weeks I visited San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Science, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, SeaWorld San Diego and Midway Museum.
Began my visit by exploring San Diego Zoo and Safari Park on my own and it was mesmerizing to watch all the animals from different parts of the globe at one place. I was amazed by all the animal exhibits. They were all so naturalistic that I couldn’t believe that I am visiting a zoo. I took park in 3 days Teachers Workshop in Conservation Science held by the Institute of Conservation Research along with 26 other formal and informal teachers/educators from the States, Japan and Mexico. A day with Operations Department at Safari Park provided me an opportunity to learn about all the safari experiences. I was thrilled by caravan Safari, inside look tour – walkabout Australia, Africa tram and other rides. During Caravan safari and Walkabout Australia, I got to feed Rhinos, Giraffes and wallaby. Watching these incredible animals left me spellbound.
With the education departments of both San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, I had the opportunity to learn different programs run by these departments. I got to participate in the “Teacher Training” workshop and to meet volunteers at volunteer department. It was wonderful to get acquainted with teachers and volunteers. I shadowed the summer camp held at the zoo and Sea World. Engaging with Kids of different age groups allowed me think about how I can design my future education programs. It was so overwhelming how these kids were so kind and super exited to share their learning with me. I was exhilarated by watching cheetah run, meeting animal ambassadors Kookaburra, wallaby, African parrot, red river warthog, and all the other feathered friends and reptiles at Safari Park and Zoo. The dolphin and orca show at Sea World were astonishing.
Besides all this, I also visited the Department of Communication and Interpretation of San Diego Zoo Global and I got to know about their website, kids channel, newsletters, magazines etc. The team made every possible effort to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to me. I’ve got tons of new ideas to work on and apply here at my workplace. Last but not the least, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit The USS Midway Museum and meet the education team there. The museum consists of the aircraft carrier Midway and has educational programs for primary and middle school kids.
Participating in this program (JEP) contributed in many ways by improving my professional development as a zoo/conservation educator and personally, by reigniting my passion for conservation education. Thank you IZE and SDZG for the memories I will cherish forever.