Communing with an East African Crowned Crane

Photo: Steve Martin-Natural Encounters, Inc.

I just received some wonderful news. I have been granted an internship at the Cincinnati Zoo. I leave in September during my vacation from my full time job.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading and downloading of articles and papers about the Zoo, and it’s a lot to digest. They have a variety of birds, from condors to penguins and everything in between.

I’m not sure what kind of work I’ll be doing but I’m fairly certain it involves shoveling a lot of penguin poop.

The really wonderful aspect of this is that I have been given permission to stay in the Intern House right across the street from the Zoo for an insanely small fee. This will not only save me time, but I won’t be spending a small fortune on a hotel room and car rental.  I have been budgeting and scrimping to save up for the privilege of shoveling all that penguin poop, and now those funds can stay safely tucked away for another foray into the world of Aviculture.

I simply can’t express how excited I am and how privileged I feel.

I’ve always liked “doing things” on vacations as opposed to “seeing things”. If I ever went to Disney world, I wouldn’t want to “go” to Disney, I’d want to be a character for a day.  I’ve been told by a friend who worked there as “Peter Pan” that due to my height, the only character I could be would be Goofy.  No cute little Minnie Mouse? No 7 Dwarves, Winnie the Pooh or Eeyore? Nope. Goofy. Damn…

This particular adventure is bound to leave me smelly, dirty, tired, sore, and I don’t think I’d want it any other way.

But working in a zoo for two or three weeks? Now that’s in my top five of things I’ve always wanted to do. I do have a question however: What does one wear to shovel penguin poop?