Celebrating the Wonders of our Natural World...

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This past winter I was given an opportunity to become scuba certified through a grant John Ball Zoo had received. I felt extremely lucky! For those of you who have gone through scuba certification, you understand how expensive it can be! Myself, and 2 other keepers worked with Moby's dive shop and passed our open water dive on a chilly November evening in 50 degree water! Little did we realize that was going to be the normal temperature we would be diving in!


The term “quarantine” may conjure up images of horror movies or disease outbreaks, but quarantine at the zoo is far from these ominous images. In fact, in some respects, it can be an exciting time for us here at the zoo because we get to welcome a new animal into the collection.


Today I'm going to help you get acquainted with Cleopatra, JBZ's Black-crowned Night Heron.  She's one of our newest residents, having arrived over the winter from the St. Louis Zoo.  Like all new arrivals she had to spend a stint quarantined in our animal hospital to be sure she didn't have any parasites or diseases that might spread, but then it was off to the Living Shores for exhibit.  She was pretty skittish at first but is fitting in very nicely.  I was a bit worried beforehand that she might not behave herself but she's been a model citizen.

A RARE Opportunity

Okay, first let me explain I’m not a zoo keeper. Sorry but I don’t have any first hand, behind-the-scenes, really good inside stuff.  The only recommendation I can give for you to read further is that I’ve worked at the Zoo for a very…very long time. So long that it’s gotten to be totally uncomfortable when someone asks me how long. It’s like being asked how old I am. When I do tell people,  the response is either a quiet and respectful “wow” or an overly loud, totally disrespectful “good grief, how freaking old are you?”. 

Helping Conservation Around the World

Since 1985, John Ball Zoo has been helping wildlife conservation projects around the world with its Wildlife Conservation Fund. The Fund is financed through donations and monies earned from our Footsteps to the Future animal sponsorship program. The Fund makes it possible for us to award a limited number of small grants to animal conservation programs around the world. Over the past 29 years, 145 grants have been distributed in 46 countries and 24 states, 26 grants in Michigan.  This year we received 108 applications from projects on every continent except Antarctica.  Projects vary in size and scope but each represents dedicated people who put their time, talent and often their own financial resources into saving wildlife and wild places.