Most of the education work we animal keepers are asked to do happens on museum grounds in the form of programs, events and blog posts. Every once in a while something fun pops up and one of us gets to go out into the world to spread our knowledge to the sponge-like minds of eager children and adults alike.
Well, maybe that’s pushing things a bit. This event wasn’t as much about “spreading knowledge” and “eager children” as much as it was about a 4 hour, 200+ person career fair for 8th graders. Think of speed dating but with potential career paths rather than potential dates.
First things first, I needed to collect a bunch of things from around the office to bring with me that showcase what animal keepers do.
Next I asked my fellow keepers what tools or objects represent their jobs best.
My favorite responses: “fecal cups!!!” “keys” and “my clicker.”
The day of the fair arrived and I set up my table. This was all happening at Neal Middle School, a local magnet school that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math.
The kids came in groups of 2 -3 classes at a time. I was surprised and really happy to see how many of these students were dressed in suits and ties or conservative business attire and even more so by the number that, without any trepidation, approached me, shook my hand and introduced themselves.
These two boys stuck around for a while and asked so many great questions about the job that I asked for a photo for the blog!
I was one of ten careers being represented that morning. The others were the Boy Scouts of America, the Mayor’s Office, a pilot for US Airways, Habitat for Humanity, a Duke University pediatric social worker, the headmistress of a Montessori School, Durham Technical Community College, “Work Smart” a local IT outsourcing company, and the owner of a small business named, “The Art of Style.”
Overall, it was far more tiring than my typical Farmyard morning, but totally worth it. The kids were awesome, the teachers appreciative and the other careers present had some amazing stories to share. I’m very glad I got to spend a morning with them all!