Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Zoo Experience

While at the zoo I felt at peace being surrounded by nature and animals. I wanted to capture the environment of the animals and how they connect with humans and there self. With the green plants they were breathe taking. I used Tracy to model for me as an example, to how nature involves us as a whole then just a plant. Nature is more precious then humans, and we need to appreciate it like we appreciate selfies.

Zoo Observations

People in the Zoo

I've always loved going to the zoo. What I loved about the Como Zoo was the emphasis on plant life. The wide expanse of flora really allowed visitors to see the diversity. It was amazing to explore the plants and see the variety of colour among them. It made me wonder why each of the colours were necessary adaptations to each plant. However, as excited as I was to explore the zoo and see the animals and plants, I really wanted to see the interaction of people with the exhibits. What I noticed was that people seemed to only be interested in documenting their visit. I've noticed the same thing at museums. Peoples priority seems to be taking as many photos of something cool as they can, snapping a bunch of selfies and making sure they have good snapchat coverage. I'm not going to lie, I got in the van and immediately started searching for the perfect instagram photo. I wonder if there is some way to incorporate this into the zoo experience. Unfortunately, some of the animals were far away, making zooming in with a camera the only way to see them up close. It's always great to have be able to see the animals up close, even if it is through a lens. 
-Eleni Leventopoulos

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Day at the Zoo

At the Como Zoo I noticed a trend In the exhibits I thought to be most successful. The animals in each of the exhibits I enjoyed had a high level of interaction with each other and their surroundings; there were things for them to do, which in turn made it easier for me to learn from them and see what they were all about. I feel like this is crucial when creating a habitat for a zoo that is going to be mutually beneficial for the animal and the zoo goer. I think this will be crucial to keep in mind when creating my biome exhibit with my group.
A day at the zoo:
Como zoo is different from other zoos I have ever visited, I feel like the first part of como (the gardens) had a lot to offer. Observational wise, it was very relaxing to walk around them and see how the climate made a difference. Also the variety of different creatures that made them selves at "home" just fascinates me. I didn't find much reference to the chaparral biome but I was looking out for my other teams, the urban life and the choral reef. There wasn't much of coral reef, but with the Urban Biome there was so much to see, considering the zoo itself was man made and as you can see in one of the pictures a plastic spoon on the floor a squirrel was trying to grab it.
I definitely enjoyed going to the zoo and learning hands on observing the different ecosystems. 

Como Zoo & Conservatory!

 We all discussed our observations in class, so I don't feel compelled to reiterate mind beyond the amazement I feel at how much of a learning experience it turned out to be. Eleni was right when she said you see the zoo in a different light each time/ age you visit. I definitely focused more on the humanity of living conditions, and the process of viewing and interacting with the exhibits.
 As it was for many, the polar bear exhibit was the highlight of my day. He peacefully swam in circle after circle. I don't believe I've ever been so close to one, which definitely changed the experience and connection I felt with the gorgeous creature. As everyone commented, HIS PAWS!
 It really was a great excursion; proving the differences between talking about things and engaging with them in real life.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nova: Extreme Ice

I mentioned this show last week when we were discussing our biomes. I saw it a few months ago on PBS. It is Nova episode that is about the polar ice sheets melting–something that is really happening (and is very depressing.) We cannot ignore what is going on, so it is worth the watch.


Or, on YouTube:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Day @ the Zoo

I have been to the Como Zoo many times, each time providing a new and exciting experience.This visit was interesting in that we were able to view the exhibits and animals through the lens of our biome and those of the partners we will be working with to create a zoo. 

I spent most of my time analyzing the animals specific to my biome, to better understand their living environments within the zoo and how they interact with other animals, the climate, and external visitors. Luckily, the giraffe is one such animal found in my biome, meaning I was able to spent a lot of time with the newest baby of the enclosure! I found most animals were outside with the nice weather we were fortunate to have. It was also interesting to me why they paired certain animals with each other and how they went about that pairing process. For example, the giraffe and the ostrich were in the same exhibit, as well as the zebra and kudu. I would be interested in learning more about this. 

I was disappointed the wolves were not out, or they were not visible, as well as many of the lions. The other biomes in my group are tropical rainforest and benthic zone, which are both a little difficult to experience at the Como Zoo. One thing I did spend a lot of time in was the Polar Bear Odyssey. This is always one of my favorite attractions, but in the same breath, one of the most depressing. Unfortunately, it seems the polar bears do not have much room to swim and move around, as the enclosure is quite small given their size. Each time I have visited, the polar bear is doing the same laps from one rock to another. 

To me, a zoo should be mainly informative for the viewer. The Como Zoo does do well at this, but as we mentioned in class, eager and upbeat workers are key to making this happen. Overall, this experience has allowed me to formulate a do and don't list for my own zoo between the three different biomes!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Egyptian Plover birds are native Egypt which means the Nile river crocodiles( Second largest in the world) benefit from the birds’ generosity.

Out of all things that a crocodile would let survive near its mouth, a tiny bird would have been my last guess.  This small bird is known as the Egyptian Plover bird.  This brave bird cleans the meat scraps of the jaws of crocodiles getting a full meal in the process.  They have similar qualities that may also come as a surprise.  Both of these creatures live in small groups near and around the water.  It is common for food to be stuck in the mouth of a creature that tends to swallow prey bigger than itself whole.  This process starts with the regular occurrence of a crocodile sunbathing with its jaw open.  The bird notices food scraps, cleans it out, and both proceed with their day.

Sloths, Moths and Friends

The mutual symbiotic relationship between sloths, moths, algae and friends.

I have always had a soft spot for sloths, looking further into this beautiful creature provided me with even more appreciation!! <3

The three-toed sloth is a host for a sweet soggy ecosystem moving with great leisure, but not without purpose. The fur on the sloth's back contains cracks that rainwater settles into providing a choice environment for algae to grow.  The algae provides nutrients to Cryptoses moths, who live only on these sloths. It also provides the sloth with camouflage from predators. The most amazing part is that the sloth takes the time and energy to risk it's life once a week to climb to the ground, dig a hole, poo in the hole and cover it up with leaves before climbing back up. The moths lay their eggs in the poo which provides the larvae and the trees the sloth lives in nutrition. 

So good! 

(The sloth is a host for other insects as well, though I chose to focus primarily on the sloth moth symbiotic relationship.)

Source links below.


Whale Fall (after life of a whale): a way of teaching / selling your biome

Here is another way of thinking about teaching us about your biome!

Whale fall: After life of a whale