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Northwest Trek News

2020 Year in Photos

What a year this has been! From closing to opening, new Wild Drive to baby animals, we’ve had plenty of ups and downs. Here’s 2020, seen in our best photos.

Dec 30, 2020

Animals

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Jun 07, 2021

Northwest Trek’s springtime baby animal boom is on! A mountain goat kid, three elk calves and three bighorn sheep lambs were all born in May at the wildlife park and can be spotted in the 435-acre Free-Roaming Area. More animal births are still expected as well. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the mountain goat kid was born to 3-year-old mom, Bailey. Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman said keepers are closely monitoring the new family. “Keepers have seen the kid nursing and spending time moving around with its mother Bailey,” said Heinzman. “The pair is spending a lot of their time up …

May 21, 2021

Working as a horticulturist at a wildlife park comes with all kinds of job duties, some a little more unusual than others. Northwest Trek’s lead horticulturist Jake Pool plants hundreds of trees a year inside the park, monitors the health of all the trees for the safety of the animals and guests, and helps design animal habitats (like using a fallen tree and turning it into a climbing log for the raccoons). And, sometimes he picks plants for the park’s porcupine. Recently, Pool collected a variety of plants and flowers from the park’s grounds for Thistle the porcupine. Pool found …

May 21, 2021

Both the black bears and grizzly bears are well-awake from their winter naps and energetic in their habitats at Northwest Trek. The young grizzly buddies are playful and can often be seen splashing in their 7-foot deep pool, wrestling one another, head-butting their tubs and searching for hidden treats keepers have left them. The older black bears next door, while not as rambunctious with each other, can also be seen walking or running through their habitat and playing with enrichment from the keepers. It’s an exciting time of year for both the bears and the visitors who get to see …

Feb 26, 2021

Bobcats Tanner, 8, and Tahoma, 4, are getting along so well, they are now able to share the bobcat habitat at Northwest Trek together! Tahoma arrived at Northwest Trek in 2020, after being raised illegally as a pet. Since his arrival, keepers have slowly introduced the two cats to each other, first just visually through a fence before eventually allowing them to be together. “We wanted to give Tahoma time to adjust to his new surroundings before introducing him to Tanner,” said keeper Haley Withers. “When they did meet, Tanner climbed up into a tree while Tahoma stayed on ground …

May 10, 2021

“It’s your turn tomorrow!” Northwest Trek head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case yelled to Hawthorn the grizzly bear. Hawthorn, out in his habitat, was peeking inside his den, curiously watching as keepers and veterinary staff circled around his buddy Huckleberry, who was laying anesthetized on the den floor ready for his wellness exam. There were only a few more nudges at the den door before Hawthorne was distracted by a tub filled with food and a big, berry-flavored popsicle left just for him. “I’m going to need a few people to help me move Huckleberry!” called out Dr. Case. Instead of …

Apr 20, 2021

If Dr. Karen Wolf needs another skilled set of hands for a walrus procedure, she knows who to call. And if Dr. Allison Case has a beaver or owl that needs attention while she’s out of town, she has a second clinic just a van-trip away. The two women are head veterinarians of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, respectively – and these sister zoos have veterinary teams with a long tradition of helping each other. “People don’t realize there’s this crossover,” explains Dr. Wolf of the unique veterinary partnership. “I have absolute confidence that if …

Feb 18, 2021

As the daylight returns in February, do you get the urge to start cleaning out the cobwebs, tossing the junk and scrubbing the house? Emily Santiago does – but it’s a rather unusual kind of housekeeping. Because the lead naturalist at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has spent hours this winter sprucing up the parks’ Mason bee “hotel”, a process of cleaning tunnels, sorting cocoons and removing predators that ensures our native pollinator bees have the best chance of a healthy, productive spring. “We’ve done this every year since we got our Mason bees,” says Santiago, as she sets up her …

Feb 02, 2021

For most of us, throwing up isn’t a good thing. Happening repeatedly, it’s a sign you should probably investigate – which was the case for Tahoma, a bobcat that arrived last year at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Otherwise in good health, he’d been regurgitating a bit more frequently than is usual in big cats, and so head veterinarian Dr. Allison Case – not seeing anything on her x-rays – had scheduled a gastroscopy for him with the park’s partner Summit Veterinary Referral Center to see if anything deeper was wrong. “So he’s been vomiting?” asked veterinary endoscopy specialist Dr. Kelly …

Conservation

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May 11, 2021

Seattle-Tacoma represent! More than 550 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish and any place in between! Between April 30 and May 3, community scientists submitted more than 7,000 nature observations and identified more than 1,200 species showing the world the incredible biodiversity in the region’s home turf. That’s the region’s all-time record! “This year we had more observers participate, more observations made and more species identified in the Seattle-Tacoma area than we have since our region joined City Nature Challenge in 2017! We’ve also heard from participants that …

Apr 30, 2021

This year, National Arbor Day is celebrated on April 30. The day is all about celebrating trees! Below are a few ideas from Northwest Trek’s staff horticulturist of how you can celebrate Arbor Day this year. Enjoy the outdoors! Join the City Nature Challenge and help identify wildlife and nature as a citizen scientist! The global challenge asks ordinary folks to become nature scientists for an hour, a day, or however long you have. Just download the free iNaturalist app or access it on your computer, get outside and start recording what you see. It is a competition, too- can …

Dec 16, 2020

A rainy and cold December morning couldn’t stop dedicated volunteers from planting trees at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Recently, 10 employees from Columbia Bank volunteered to help the park’s horticulturist plant 260 native trees around the parking lots. Dressed in rain coats, hats and boots, the volunteers stood in a socially-distanced circle and listened as horticulturist Jake Pool explained the process of planting and why it’s so important to have new trees in the park. “In the 13 years I’ve worked at Northwest Trek, this is by far the worst year I’ve seen for tree loss,” said Pool. “Just this …

Dec 03, 2020

A poem about birds next to a snowy owl habitat? A tree poem planted in a forest? That’s Poetry in the Park at Northwest Trek! This December, guests can wander around the wildlife park to find poetry signs right next to native Northwest animals and plants in a partnership with Tahoma Audubon Society, who installs Poetry in the Park elsewhere in Tacoma during the year. The park is also filled with festive decorations like evergreen gnomes, white pumpkin “snowmen”, giant snowflakes on trees and a trail of animal cutouts showing just how animals (and us) need trees to live, year-round. …

People

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May 04, 2021

Go beyond the typical Mother’s Day gifts and give mom a memorable experience she can enjoy with the whole family this year. Swim with sharks, get up close to a moose or touch a jellyfish! She won’t soon forget these amazing experiences at Northwest Trek and our sister zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Swim with Sharks Experience the thrill of getting up close to more than a dozen massive sharks underwater while learning about their biology and how we can protect them in the wild. Up to 4 people from the same household can dive together at the same …

Mar 19, 2021

Northwest Trek will be open daily for spring breaks and there will be plenty to see and do! Both wild animals and the animals at Northwest Trek become much more active in spring as it warms up and plants grow and natural food sources become more abundant. Active Bears The black bears at Northwest Trek are slowly waking up from torpor, a state in which a bear’s body temperature, respiratory rate and metabolic rates all decrease to conserve energy. The bears had little activity outside of their dens over the last few months, including eating. The grizzly bears went into …

Jan 22, 2021

In front of a forest screen background, Jessica Moore tells a story of a walk in the woods. But it’s not just a walk. One by one, the Northwest Trek education curator pulls up “clues” she found on her walk: a feather, some quills, a photo of a pawprint etched with claws. “Okay,” she says briskly, smiling into the camera. “Who’s ready to be a Northwest wildlife investigator?” On her own laptop screen, young faces smile back and raise eager hands. It’s time for Online Wildlife Academy, the park’s new virtual nature science program that’s offering a lifeline to beleaguered …

Jan 14, 2021

What a windstorm! Tuesday night’s strong gusts hit Northwest Trek hard. Fallen trees and branches covered nearly every road and pathway in the park and fences had to be rebuilt. But, with great team effort and the help of a few leaf blowers, the park will open just in time for the 3-day weekend ahead (it even has dry weather in the forecast!). It was all hands on deck this week, as employees from each department surveyed the forested paths, picking up branches while maintenance staff worked tirelessly to clear trees. “Thank you all for pitching in so we can …

plants

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Jan 14, 2021

What a windstorm! Tuesday night’s strong gusts hit Northwest Trek hard. Fallen trees and branches covered nearly every road and pathway in the park and fences had to be rebuilt. But, with great team effort and the help of a few leaf blowers, the park will open just in time for the 3-day weekend ahead (it even has dry weather in the forecast!). It was all hands on deck this week, as employees from each department surveyed the forested paths, picking up branches while maintenance staff worked tirelessly to clear trees. “Thank you all for pitching in so we can …

Jun 22, 2020

Tomatoes. Apples. Almonds. Pumpkin. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. All pretty important, right? And they all have one thing in common: they need pollinators. Around 1,000 plants that humans use for food, drink, fiber, spices or medicine need to be pollinated by a very special group of animals called pollinators. Bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hummingbirds, bats and even some kinds of beetles, flies and ants are incredibly necessary to produce much of the food humans need to survive. As pollinators forage for nectar, they transfer pollen from male to female flowers to allow the plant to reproduce – and feed humans. But …

Trails & Tours

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Dec 03, 2020

A poem about birds next to a snowy owl habitat? A tree poem planted in a forest? That’s Poetry in the Park at Northwest Trek! This December, guests can wander around the wildlife park to find poetry signs right next to native Northwest animals and plants in a partnership with Tahoma Audubon Society, who installs Poetry in the Park elsewhere in Tacoma during the year. The park is also filled with festive decorations like evergreen gnomes, white pumpkin “snowmen”, giant snowflakes on trees and a trail of animal cutouts showing just how animals (and us) need trees to live, year-round. …

Nov 18, 2020

It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s the Pacific Northwest in winter – and that includes Northwest Trek. But there’s also a certain magic out here in winter: hushed silence, frosted ferns, thick bison coats. Don’t wait until spring. Here are seven reasons to visit Northwest Trek in the most magical season of the year – winter. 1. Peace and Quiet Feeling that cabin fever yet? Step onto our paved trails and experience nature at its most hushed. Tall, solemn trees; quiet meadows; a lake so still it reflects the mist. Come spend the day in the kind of peace that refreshes …

Sep 22, 2020

Quick – what’s even better than a rambunctious grizzly bear splashing in a pool? A 180-degree view of him from a brand-new platform! Now over two years old, our grizzly bears Hawthorne and Huckleberry are bigger and more playful than ever. Last winter we took the false bottom out of their pool (put there to protect them when they were small) and they really enjoy splashing around in the full depth of seven feet. “Huckleberry loves the pool – he’s a real water bear,” comments keeper Jordan Bednarz. “But they’re both super playful with everything.” And the sand that was …

Aug 10, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.– Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is reopening its Keeper Adventure Tours on Friday, Aug. 14, with timed online tickets and enhanced safety protocols designed to help guests connect up close with wildlife while staying safe and healthy. Timed online tickets will go on sale Aug. 10. The 90-minute Keeper Adventure Tours take guests aboard an open-air Jeep on paved roads rarely traveled, on gravel tracks and occasionally off-road to see bison, moose, mountain goats, elk, deer, swans and more in the park’s 435-acre Free-Roaming Area. If guests book now, they can see Northwest Trek’s baby animals and experience the …