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Northwest Trek News
Dec 14, 2022

Imagine this: you’re driving to Northwest Trek and see the sun peeking through the clouds and illuminating Mt. Rainier. You’re welcomed with a still, frosty winter morning at the wildlife park when you arrive. You are greeted with the sounds of eagles screeching and gray wolves howling. Even better, you’re walking into a Winter Wildland Wonderland created by the Northwest Trek staff. It’s the start of a perfect day filled with the magic of nature. On a recent December afternoon, staff members spent time doing what might look like arts and crafts to an outsider. But to the keepers and …

Nov 08, 2022

“All right – who’s ready to go into the park and do some science?” “YEAH!!!!” The yell was impressive – but so was the quiet focus that followed as Ms. Hastler’s first grade class lined up to put on their yellow waterproof “science jackets.” It was the very first in-the-park science week for Wildlife Champions at Lister Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington, and the 16 first-graders were bubbling with excitement. Zoo volunteer Brittany (left) and educators Sam Hain and Liz Hines help Lister students put on their “science jackets” for the outdoor lesson. “What kind of animals do you think we’ll see …

Oct 24, 2022

It’s one of the most festive events of the year — Pumpkin Chomp & Stomp at Northwest Trek. Guests can see Halloween decorations throughout the wildlife park, take a Haunted Hike, and watch animals play with PLENTY of pumpkins. The horticulture team at Northwest Trek grows many of the pumpkins. This year, they produced about 30 pumpkins and 400 various hybrid gourds. “Every year, we give pumpkins to our animals as part of the Pumpkin Chomp & Stomp event,” horticulturist Jake explained. “But a few years ago, I noticed that some of the carving pumpkins weren’t very nutritious.” In 2018, Jake researched pumpkin …

Oct 17, 2022

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 16-22, and we’re celebrating our wonderful veterinary technicians with a virtual thank-you card. Keepers, curators and veterinarians all weighed in to thank our superhero vet tech Tracy Cramer, plus keeper Deanna Edwards who’s also a licensed vet tech, for all they do to care for animals and help staff: prepping for procedures, monitoring animal vitals and taking samples, working with keepers to help animals take part in their own health care, giving therapies, endless administrative support and generally being awesome. “Our veterinary technicians (also known as veterinary nurses) are invaluable. They do a tremendous …

Oct 11, 2022

There are people who decorate for Halloween. There are people who recreate a haunted house. And then there’s Hoot ‘n’ Howl: an entire wildlife park full of spooky decorations, lights, glowing pumpkins, games, and treats. The annual Northwest Trek fall event (this year 5-9pm Oct. 14-15 and 21-22) takes weeks of preparation from almost every single staff member: zookeepers, naturalists, admissions staff, maintenance crew and more. But it’s worth every minute. Pumpkins and Prep “It’s a lot of work, but it’s so much fun,” says Jessica, the naturalist leading the event. On a Thursday afternoon one week before Hoot ‘n’ …

Sep 28, 2022

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park earned kudos and another five years of accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) last week. The Eatonville wildlife park, a facility of Metro Parks Tacoma, has been continuously accredited by the prestigious organization since it first applied for recognition in 1985. “We know that Northwest Trek is well-regarded by guests, who return again and again,” said Andrea Smith, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. “Our community can take great pride in knowing that our wildlife park is among the best in the country and a national leader in animal care, …

Jul 18, 2022

National Zookeeper Week takes place July 17-23 this year. The week is devoted to sharing the passion and dedication of keepers. Our zookeepers are a dedicated group of people who work tirelessly each day to provide the animals with the best care possible. Below are stories from just a few of our incredible zookeepers chosen by their curator. MEET KEEPER JORDAN MEET KEEPERS HANNAH & ARMANDO MEET KEEPER BECKY MEET KEEPER AMANDA

Jul 14, 2022

For National Tattoo Day we are highlighting some of the unique animal and nature tattoos of Northwest Trek staff who care for our animals and connect our community to wildlife. Check out their beautiful tattoos and the inspiration behind them. Craig, Education Curator “I discovered the inspiration for this red wolf tattoo when I was working on the design for signs in the new Red Wolf Woods habitat at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. I found a dusty, mysterious scroll rolled up with this haunting and majestic image. There was no attribute to the artist, and no one on our …

Jul 13, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Amanda, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Amanda works with the black bears, grizzly bears, cougar, lynx, bobcats, foxes, and gray wolves.  We asked her about her experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to her. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love providing enrichment to the animals and watching them express their natural behaviors. For example: I will put an antler up in a tree in Carly the cougar’s habitat to encourage her  to  climb and explore. Q: What is your favorite animal at …

Jul 13, 2022

This Zookeeper Week, we shadowed Jordan, a zookeeper at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Jordan works with all the animals in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area, including nearly 90 bison, mountain goats, elk, swans, caribou, and bighorn sheep and dozens of black-tailed deer.  We asked him about his experiences in zookeeping and what working with animals and wildlife means to him. Q: What is your favorite part of the job? A: I love how different every day can be. If an animal is behaving abnormally or needs a medical procedure, it can change my whole routine. I also enjoy the solitude and …