Interactive displays created by local Girl Scout improve educational experiences a Menominee Park Zoo this summer.
Senior Girl Scout, Emily Scherer, chose the Menominee Park Zoo as the recipient of her Gold Award project, “Learning Enhancement at the Oshkosh Zoo.” Over the past year, Emily researched the animals, designed and built interactive signs for the wolf, otter, and elk exhibits. Her goal was to create signs that allowed children to learn about the animals in a fun, hands-on way.
Emily spent several months raising money with cookie sales and fund raising to acquire artifacts, like wolf teeth, elk antlers, and an otter pelt that visitors could touch. Being able to touch, hear, and read interesting facts helps children learn more about these animals. While Emily enjoyed making all of the signs, her favorite is about the elk because it features push buttons that allow visitors to hear the crazy sounds made by elk.
If you visit the zoo today, you will find that Emily’s signs have been damaged. Vandals damaged the wolf sign by breaking the moving parts, stealing a tooth and removing an otter pelt. Chad Dallman, Assistant Parks Director, acknowledges that vandals at the zoo are a continual problem and that security needs to be tightened. The Oshkosh Police are also aware of the issue and have increased their vigilance. Currently, the Parks Department is developing security plans for implementation next year, pending budget approval by the City Council.
Community members can help in several ways. Donate to help restore and protect Emily’s signs by mailing checks to the Emily’s Repair Fund, OZS, P. O. Box 394, Oshkosh, WI 54903, or electronic donations on our website, oshkoshzoo.org.