My name is Erin Wilfong. I am a third year biology major at the College of Mount St. Joseph.
I am a summer intern at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. I work in the commissary where most of the food for the zoo animals is stored, prepared and readied for distribution. As an intern, I prepare food and food bins for the animals from the diets created by the animal nutritionist. I collect, box and distribute browse (tree limbs) from specific trees for animal consumption. I prepare "rat bags"--frozen rats, mice, and chicks--and place them in food bins along with food orders. I also help deliver bins to the different animal houses such as the primate center, veldt, night hunters and the bird house.
I love this internship. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. One of the rewards of the job is getting to go behind the scenes. So far I have been able to meet Klyde, the black Rhino, and actually touch him. I have also had the pleasure of meeting and touching Bogart, the baby camel. I've been able to get up close with some of the other animals like some from the bird show and the cat show. I even got to hold a snake and assist the keeper in putting it away.
I plan to graduate from the Mount and attend graduate school. My ultimate goal is to work at the Cincinnati Zoo in animal nutrition. This internship has opened my eyes to possibly doing other things like for example being a zookeeper for one of the animal houses.
The Cincinnati Zoo is a great place to work. The people are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. My advice for anyone wanting to work there would be to study and work hard at school, and to pay attention to the little things that you don’t usually think about such as your attitude, your ability to work with others and to problem solve. But, the BEST advice that I could give would be to invest in some extremely comfortable shoes. I guarantee that those will come in handy!