Their names are picked out, their dens are complete, their individual pools are prepared and their outside exhibit is almost done. As I write this blog, we continue to wait patiently to hear when our newest additions – our North American River Otters – will be arriving. It feels a lot like when a family member is expecting a child and you are waiting for the phone to ring to hear news that the much-anticipated bundle is here. Unlike the normal 9 months of waiting for a new baby to arrive, our North American River Otter Exhibit has been over 2 ½ years in the making. That’s a long time of planning, preparing, at times being frustrated, crossing your fingers, holding your breath and sometimes having simple overall faith in the entire process.

I’ll be honest, other than nodding in agreement at times or offering a solution or idea to a simple problem I was simply a witness to the process of an idea, concept and drawing coming to life. As I stare at the Exhibit in an area that looks much bigger now than it ever did as a patch of grass, I become overwhelmed at the thought of how all these small pieces came beautifully together.

There were a lot of hands that made this unique exhibit a reality and the two driving forces behind it. Marnita our Zoo Director and Jerry our President of the Friends of Pine Grove Zoo Board would never say anything other than it was a Team Effort. But these two driving forces led the Team to make this dream a reality. There were days during the building process I’d go outside and check on the progress and see Marnita and Jerry looking, contemplating and not saying a word as they solved problems or came up with different approaches to a situation, while neither uttered a word. They worked well together leading this Team with calmness, kindness, patience, creativity, professionalism, hands on hard work, and humor all while creating a remarkable exhibit to be proud of. The whole process has been an experience of patience and putting your faith in the process.

So as we wait patiently for the news of our arrival of Ted, Dave and Deuce, I have faith their arrival will be soon and that our visitors will be as impressed with this exhibit as I am. We will welcome our new arrivals into the Pine Grove Zoo family, and we are anxious to share the news of their arrival with you. This whole process of leading with calmness, kindness, patience, creativity, professionalism, hands on hard work and humor inspires me to do the same.