October 24, 2017

By Will Condit
Life Support Systems Technician

On September 26th, Matt Morrison and I traveled to the Naples Zoo with additional staff from the Kansas City Zoo, Topeka Zoo, and Sedgwick County Zoo to assist staff from the Naples Zoo with their rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Irma destroyed large portions of their zoo. The head of maintenance at Naples Zoo had a laundry list of tasks that he wanted us to accomplish that week. The primary goal was to rebuild 8-foot-tall wooden fences that had been blown over or damaged by trees. After a 26 ½ hour drive, (and a flat tire) we immediately started rebuilding a 100-foot-long section of the fence. Throughout the week, we rebuilt hundreds of feet of wooden fencing, cleared debris out of animal habitats and pathways, built a shed, and rebuilt public barricades. While the work and temperatures were exhausting, it was very rewarding being able to help out another Association of Zoos and Aquariums institution in their time of need. I gained many new contacts and friends from the numerous zoos that we worked with, and had the opportunity to act as a goodwill ambassador for the Saint Louis Zoo. 

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