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Northwest Trek News
Aug 06, 2020

It’s now a reality: Most Puget Sound-area schools are now all-online this fall. Many parents and educators are scrambling to supplement and engage students in core areas like science. Enter Online Wildlife Academy, a brand-new program launching Aug. 11 at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Using the common Zoom platform, Online Wildlife Academy offers a fun, interactive, online lesson delivering key science concepts via something most kids love: Animals. The lessons weave animal videos from Northwest Trek with real-time discussions, Q&A and facts about animal and ecosystem biology, all delivered live on Zoom by a wildlife educator at Northwest Trek. Online …

Jul 30, 2020

I had my howls all ready to go. When Northwest Trek keepers agreed I could try playing some music to our gray wolves, I was stoked. I’m primarily a writer in our marketing department – I run our websites and write blog stories, emails and more. But I’m also a classically-trained musician and have, in the last few years, developed a unique voice improvising on double bass using a looping pedal to create my own harmonies. I especially love taking this music outside, incorporating natural sounds like whalesong and birdsong. Playing music for actual wolves took this to a whole …

Jul 17, 2020

9:30am It’s pretty good when your work day starts with a furry fan club as excited as Rainier and Ahma. Keeper Alex Cruz arrives for the “late” shift at Northwest Trek’s Forest+Wetlands habitat at 9:30am. After checking email and chatting with the keepers who’ve been on shift since 7:30am, she makes her way up to two wolverines who are very keen to see her. “I’m their primary trainer right now, and usually the first person in to see them in the morning,” explains Cruz, setting two tubs of raw meat onto a barrel and picking up a pan and brush. …

Jul 16, 2020

It’s 11am, and Ed Cleveland is hoisting 50-pound bags of bear chow into a small storage shed. In a mask. On an 80-degree day. As he catches his breath, he jokes with fellow keeper Deanna Edwards, who’s restocking the keeper truck for a midday feed. Then he takes a long, assessing look at stock levels and heads back to the office to book in a major delivery. For Cleveland, a 62-year-old with a long Santa Claus beard and quiet smile, it’s just one part of being head keeper at Northwest Trek – a place he’s worked at for 36 years, …

Jul 16, 2020

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park opened on July 17, 1975. Today, the park embodies the vision of Dr. David T. “Doc” and Connie Hellyer, who donated their land to Metro Parks Tacoma in the early 1970s to preserve it as a wildlife park. If the Hellyers were alive today to walk through the park, they would see 185 animals, including eagles, bison, grizzlies and wolves enjoying the land they left behind just for them. They would also see many of the same towering trees. The Hellyers knew their lake-and-forest-studded land in the shadow of Mount Rainier was something special, and they …

Mar 18, 2020

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park recently became the classroom for local middle school students. Northwest Trek’s education experts created lesson plans about the different types of enrichment the animals can receive for the students from Columbia Crest A-S.T.E.M Middle School in Ashford. Animal enrichment is an important part of animal care. It creates a more stimulating environment for the animals while encouraging natural behaviors. The keeper staff at Northwest Trek provide a variety of enrichment that challenge the animals both physically and mentally. In February, Jessica Moore, the Education Curator at Northwest Trek, visited the Columbia Crest students in their classroom. …

Feb 26, 2020

EATONVILLE, Wash.—Beep. Beep. Beep. The alarm rings, it’s time to get up. One by one, eleven young adults hop out of bed. They look out the window: another rainy day in Washington state,  something they’ve adjusted well to since they first arrived over a month ago. They are far from home, some raised in the Midwest and others on the East Coast. They slowly wake up, eat breakfast, then throw on their boots, khaki pants and grey fleece jackets and head out the door to see what the day has in store for them. They are part of the AmeriCorps …

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 …