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Northwest Trek News
Jan 13, 2020

Zoo attendance records smashed They came in waves, breaking records for the second year running to experience the wonders of the state-of-the-art Pacific Seas Aquarium in its first full year of operation at sister zoo Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Visitors by the thousands came to meet sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays and more in the new aquarium and to celebrate the births of animals, including eight endangered red wolf pups and an endangered Malayan tapir calf. Last year, 825,937 guests walked through the turnstiles, the largest total in Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s 114-year history. “We’re delighted that …

Dec 19, 2019

  For 10-year-old Maya, it was a story come to life. The tall, quiet girl with long brown hair had always loved birds – especially owls – reading many books about them. Now, on a cold December morning, she was standing with her classmates of Arlington Elementary School in front of two real live snowy owls at Northwest Trek. One swiveled his head 180 degrees, and Maya gasped with delight. It was the Wildlife Champions field trip to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and for many of them – including Maya – it was their very first time seeing animals like …

Oct 08, 2019

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 and glowing pumpkins, not to mention games, treats and even a ghost tram, the annual Northwest Trek fall event (this year Oct. 11-12 and 18-19) 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 Emily Santiago, the lead naturalist in charge of …

Oct 08, 2019

Plenty of schools go on pumpkin patch field trips. Some get to visit grizzly bears at Northwest Trek. But there’s only one school where you get to grow pumpkins, then hide them for grizzly cubs to find – and that’s Weyerhaeuser Elementary, whose second- and third-graders came to Northwest Trek early this October (and last year too) to do exactly that. It’s all part of the school’s focus on outdoor STEM education, helped along by volunteer expertise from Trek horticulturalist Jake Pool. “Look, this one’s enormous!” cried one boy, stepping between vines to a giant Cinderella pumpkin. “And this one’s …

Sep 23, 2019

Hoot ‘n’ Howl is the best Northwest fall event, ever – and YOU can help make it even more fun! Volunteer at Northwest Trek’s spookiest event! Volunteers will help with crafts, games and trick-or-treat stations. Dress up for the festivities and encourage your friends and family to volunteer too! WHEN Event runs 5-9pm Oct. 11, 12, 18, 19. Volunteer minimum: Two of the four evenings from 4-10pm (one-hour orientation at 3pm for new volunteers). DUTIES Directing visitors, leading craft and activity stations, staffing trick or treat stations and assisting staff with event set-up and take-down. QUALIFICATIONS Be 14 years of …

Sep 06, 2019

  The San Diego Zoo, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park are partnering to provide a virtual adventure television channel in Mary Bridge Children’s hospital patient rooms. The new channel is being provided by San Diego Zoo Global as part of its children’s hospital network that airs at almost 200 facilities. This collaborative effort between children’s hospitals and zoos and aquariums has been made possible by a generous gift from noted philanthropist Denny Sanford and a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services. San Diego Zoo Kids Channel provides family-friendly, …

Aug 29, 2019

Six heads bent over a piece of paper on the Northwest Trek path. The atmosphere was intense. “All right, team – our first mission is Bears,” said Lauren Bentson, camp director at the Tacoma Nature Center. “That’s where our clues are, and our lockbox. Do we have a name?” “El Panthero!” called out one of the group. Others nodded. “Okay,” said Bentson. “Are you excited?” “Yeah!” came the reply. For the Wildlife Biologist campers from the Nature Center, it was time for a Wild Escape. Escape Rooms without walls “Wild Escape is a new program for kids or adults to …

Jul 17, 2019

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave Meadows, Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave Meadows swings into the keeper truck with the ease of someone who’s been doing it for 25 years. As he pulls slowly through the gate into the Free-Roaming Area, he’s already on duty. Alert eyes scan the road ahead and forest to either side. It’s something he’ll be doing constantly over the next two hours, whether he’s driving around the 435-acre habitat, pulling out feed buckets or taking radio calls from fellow keepers. …

Jul 08, 2019

“People think that being a zookeeper is just playing with animals all day long. Actually, it’s caring for them and making their lives meaningful. And getting visitors to connect with them. That’s amazing to do.” – Wendi Mello, Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi Mello arrives at Northwest Trek for the early shift. On this mid-summer morning it’s a fine time to be working outside in a forest, but in winter it’s dark, cold and frequently icy. But for Mello, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, …

Jul 02, 2019

“The reason I love it here is because we care for native wildlife. If you go hiking in the Northwest, you’ll never see a lion or zebra, but you might see elk or black bear. Teaching people how to live conflict-free with wildlife – that’s what’s so cool about this job.” – Haley Withers, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley Withers is hot and sweaty. She’s been whacking weeds in the wolf habitat for two and a half hours, and now it’s time to clean out grizzly bear dens. “We wear many hats,” she says with a small smile, of …