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Northwest Trek News
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 …

Aug 26, 2019

It’s that perfect time of year – summer in the Pacific Northwest. But if you’re looking for ways to cool off, look no further than Northwest Trek. Not only do we have animals that love to beat the heat (the moose swim in the lake, the grizzly cubs splash in the pool and the elk just hang out in the shade), we have plenty of tips for humans too! Here are seven ways you can cool off this summer at Northwest Trek. 1. Feel the breeze on our Keeper Adventure Tour Jeep Our Keeper Adventure Tours get you off road …

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 …

Jun 18, 2019

For Northwest Trek guests, the Keeper Adventure Tour through the Free-Roaming Area is a mix of off-road thrills and up-close animals. But for keeper Deanna Edwards, it’s a way to share a passion for wildlife – combined with friendliness, unflagging animal care and some serious driving skills. “I’m always doing new things, like this track here,” she says, gunning the tour jeep up a muddy track into a perfect three-point-turn. “That’s one of the great things about the Free-Roaming Area. I’m also in keeper mode, playing Where’s Waldo with the animals and making sure they’re all okay. But what I …