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Northwest Trek News
Jan 11, 2022

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park’s Zoological Curator Marc Heinzman has been accepted into the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program. This national two-year program brings together twenty emerging leaders in the wildlife conversation field for intense training in developing well-rounded and successful conservation campaigns. “I’m extremely passionate about the conservation of wildlife, and this program will give me the skills and knowledge to be as effective as possible in working toward that goal,” said Heinzman. Acceptance into the program provides the opportunity to connect with other emerging conservationists from across the country and other parts of the world. Participants will work in …

Oct 21, 2021

They were literally jumping up and down as soon as they got off the buses. “Animals! We’re going to see animals!” It was the first-ever field trip for Beyond the Bell, a groundbreaking new partner program offering after-school activities and childcare to Tacoma students. But Friday October 8 was a no-school data day – and so Beyond the Bell was bringing any K-5 child who signed up on a field trip to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, all day long. And every single one of the 155 students was incredibly excited. Beyond the Bell is a comprehensive program for Tacoma elementary …

Oct 20, 2021

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week Oct. 17-23, 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 …

Sep 22, 2021

Eagle Passage isn’t just a forever home for rescued, injured bald eagles, or an immersive experience that inspires visitors with a conservation success story. Now, the unique habitat at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park has also been nationally recognized with top honors in the 2021 Exhibit Award category from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The award was presented online at the AZA Virtual Annual Conference on Wednesday Sept. 22. “Receiving this award is a high honor for Northwest Trek,” said Alan Varsik, director of Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “Our visitors know how special Northwest Trek …

Jul 22, 2021

Zookeepers and the animals they love What’s the animal you feel most deeply inside? The one you connect with, love, relate to, share traits with? For National Zookeeper Week 2021, we asked our longest-tenured keepers that very same question. Then our incredible staff photographer Katie Cotterill took portraits of both keeper AND animal, superimposing them in her camera as a double-exposure shot. The results are magic. (Curious about how she did it? Scroll to the bottom to find out.) Deanna, with Ellinor the mountain goat   Miranda, with Ahma the wolverine   Wendi, with Yakima the golden eagle   Dave, …

Jul 14, 2021

“I love working here. It’s a unique place, and I love the challenges that come with it.” – Dave, assistant curator and Free-Roaming Area keeper, Northwest Trek 8am Dave 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 …

Jul 08, 2021

“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, Forest+Wetlands keeper, Northwest Trek 7:30am Wendi 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 Wendi, that’s all part of the job. As one of the keepers in the Forest/Wetlands habitat, she cares for otters, beavers, badgers, wolverines, …

Jul 02, 2021

“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, carnivore keeper, Northwest Trek 10:30am Haley’s 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 herself, fellow keeper …

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 …