A Rosy Future with the New El Paso Zoo Educator

By Liz Kern

A Rosy Future with the New El Paso Zoo EducatorTeaching kids about nature is top of the list for new Zoo educator Rose Janice (pronounced jah-neece'). She is no stranger to the field of education, having taught literacy and parenting skills to adults, and math and science to kids, so it just adds up that she would be a perfect addition to the El Paso Zoo.

"Kids always have a fear of not learning the basic math skills so I had to be creative in the way I taught," says Janice. "When we teach literacy, we say if you are reading a story you are already there - you are a part of it, but if you can actually physically visit the place where the images on the page come to life - it just takes learning to a higher level."

Janice is already learning from her new career: "First of all, I didn't know there was a zoo education program here in El Paso! I also didn't know that our zoo animals represented those out there (in the wild) that needed saving from becoming extinct," says Janice. "So, parents can bring their kids here to get the right, accurate information about our animals - they're not just for show and tell - these animals have unique personalities. I also learned that you get attached to them very quickly. And they teach you to respect their habitat."

One of Janice's new responsibilities is teaching kids during the sea lion and elephant talks. She says "it's not only to teach but to help you understand the way we train our animals. The Zoo is a great learning tool for projects; if you want to do a science project about animals you can come to the zoo, read about them, write about them and do research."

Does Janice have a favorite animal? "A koala is my favorite animal (Note: the El Paso Zoo does not have koalas) but I am falling in love with the elephants Savannah and Juno. I think elephants come close to being us - they are so loving, they're so gentle, and they love their calves, they take care of them very well. It's the same way we should take care of our own kids. And Sushi is my favorite sea lion, because she's funny, playful, energetic, and smart - just like me!"

And the El Paso Zoo made a smart move hiring a real Rose!

Come see Rose Janice at the El Paso Zoo's "World of the Sea Lion" Show at 10:45 am & 2:45 pm, and the Elephant Training Session at 12:00 noon. *For more zoo info or to volunteer at the zoo call: 521-1850 or go online to elpasozoo.org.