Three student leaders reflect on their time at the zoo shortly before graduation.
By Mac Grosscup, Charlotte Meigs and Andrew Moriarty, Millbrook School Class of 2019
Photo: Courtesy of Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School
It’s not every day that you feed a red wolf or train a golden lion tamarin, but for many students at Millbrook School, it’s part of our daily routine. Along with the zoo staff, the “zooies” and student curators help tend to the animals by making diets, cleaning exhibits and providing enrichment. Zooies are assigned a particular animal to care for over a term. Upperclassmen may apply to become a student curator, one of the leadership positions at the school, and oversee a section of zooies. We were chosen for our dedication and interest in the zoo, and all of us have spent years volunteering here, some of us even before attending Millbrook.
We learn a lot in the classroom, but the zoo has taught us things beyond what we anticipated. The importance of teamwork and how to problem-solve in creative ways was unexpected, because working with animals is not a textbook science. The three of us have not only learned details about each animal—like Bombo the lemur’s preference for kiwis and Cyril the red panda’s dislike for bananas—but also life skills in working with others.
We all became interested in Millbrook because of the Trevor Zoo: Mac and Drew had volunteered in the summer program, and Charlotte had heard about the “school with a zoo” and wanted to learn more. The three of us want to study natural sciences in college and are especially interested in conservation. The zoo has given us an outlet to explore these passions. In our science classes we learn about biodiversity, and at the zoo we learn the responsibility of caring for the natural world. Over spring break, the three of us traveled to the Peruvian Amazon with Millbrook faculty, where all this played out in front of our eyes. There, we saw animals in the wild that we care for on a daily basis and learned about the incredible efforts in protecting the rainforest.
Last September, Mac and Charlotte had the unique opportunity to travel to Seattle for the annual AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) conference. We met people from zoos around the world and were inspired by leaders in conservation who shared their stories. We left the conference feeling hopeful about the future of conservation and about going into that field as adults.
At the Trevor Zoo, visitors get an opportunity to observe 80 species up close, nine of which are endangered. They watch our North American river otters swim in their natural habitat, hear our lemurs howl as they would in the jungles of Madagascar and see wallaby joeys poke their heads from their mothers’ pouches for the first time. The intimate experience makes it accessible for visitors of all ages.
The three of us are excited for college next year, but it will be strange not to head down to the zoo every day or be woken up by the trumpeting of the white-naped cranes. The zoo has been an amazing part of our high school experience, and we hope that you love it as much as we do.
The Trevor Zoo provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Millbrook School students. It’s the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums that incorporates high school students into their animal husbandry program.
It’s located at 282 Millbrook School Road and is open to the public every day of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including holidays. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and children four through twelve. Children three and under are free.
For more information, visit Millbrook.org/trevor-zoo-home. █