Before I became involved with Pine Grove Zoo, like so many other people, I assumed when the doors were closed for the season, things were quieter at the Zoo. I often hear, even from my own family this question, “So, is there much for staff to do during the off season”. Let me just say…..there is PLENTY to do. There may have been a few deep breaths after the doors closed in October, but they were brief. The Keepers were busy getting the animals’ “winter housing” ready, staff were tucking things away for the season, and fall cleaning began. Ahhh….one would think that now was the time to relax and take that deep breath. Nope…wrong again.

What could the staff possibly be doing during these months? Well, guess what? Other than the bears hibernating, all other animals are still needing daily care, are still receiving daily enrichment and of course the unconditional love and attention, like they do every day of the year.

Keepers are continually working hard at improving animal care for our Zoo Family by researching the best diets, the best enrichment and how to improve their natural habitat enclosures. This is no small feat!

Time is spent in deciding if any new animals will be adding to our Zoo Family. I’ve found out that adding a new species is not just a quick decision. What is their diet? How expensive is their diet? What is the cost to obtain the new species? What type of habitat enclosure do they need? How much staff time will be required to care for them? These are questions that are researched and answered by not only the Keepers but the Director before such a decision can be made. There is a lot of time, research, and passion that goes into each decision that is made to improve our Zoo.

Our educational programming, special events, fundraisers, and summer presentations are all planned, perfected and made possible through the hard work from the Zoo Team during these “slow” winter months.

Oh, let’s not forgot the huge amount of time that has gone into the planning of our new North American River Otter Exhibit that will break ground this spring. Planning from not just the staff, but board members, volunteers and business community members. Our Director has done an amazing job of securing community support of this unique and fun exhibit.

So, back to question I often hear, “So, is there much for staff to do during the off season”? Let me just say, I can’t wait till the doors open for the season so things can slow down and we can take a few deep breaths, at least brief ones…right?

Till Next Time,