Zoo, Park, and Nature

I am sitting on a quiet bench in the middle of the Central Park Zoo here on this beautiful April 12. The zoo and park are mobbed, perhaps because it is Easter, perhaps because it is the first nice day in recent memory, perhaps because many people are on vacation, or perhaps even due to countless other variables.

I just got my membership t-shirt and, not wanting to carry it as I am walking without a bag, decided to put it on under my Lancaster hoodie (the same one I bought while in the UK two weeks ago and which a number of my cohort colleagues thought of as a bit out of my age wearability; no matter, I like these sorts of clothes).

I normally bring my camera with me, though decided I wanted to walk unencumbered and to enjoy the afternoon. Now, I can experience nature and the zoo and people and such first-hand, without interpreting life through its photos. That I am blogging via my BlackBerry is beside the point (or not).

I just watched a robin hopping through one of the gardens looking for food, or perhaps enjoying the spring weather like many of us here today. The birds are chirping and singing for the change in season and happy weather. Even the flowers are so striking, expressing all their beauty in a great celebration of color and life. The sea lions are swimming in their pool, perhaps doing best what the flowers and birds are doing in their own ways.

And I? What more can I do but enjoy all this while trying to capture it to my blog for those moments that are more challenging and dark.

Central Park and the Zoo

Chess and Checkers HouseOver the weekend I spent some time in New York City’s Central Park, walking around to clear my mind and relieve stress. I snapped a few photos of my time while walking by the Chess and Checkers House, going inside the Dairy, and spanding some time in the Central Park Zoo and Children’s Zoo. I uploaded the pictures I took there to Flickr.

Tree in Central ParkSea Lion in the Central Park Zoo

I Fostered an Elephant, Max

I recently read a story that got me teary-eyed; one about abused and mistreated elephants in Thailand that have been rescued by a young woman who goes by the name Lek. She founded Elephant Nature Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of suffering elephants in Thailand. I first read about her in Wildlife Conservation magazine, the publication of the Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, NY Aquarium, et al.).

I spent a few hours looking around their website, and was shocked to learn how brutal people are to elephants in Thailand. I have always had a fascination with elephants, but never knew how vulnerable they really are in the wild and even after being pressed into service.

Max, the elephant I fosteredI decided I had to get involved and do something, so rather than just send a donation, I took advantage of their novel program to foster an elephant. Much more interesting than sending a check, and while they encourage visits to the park, I cannot get to Thailand in the near future. Thus, I fostered Max, an 11-foot tall elephants who was rescued by the park a few years ago. I am looking forward to getting updates about him over the next year, and feel that I am helping, even in a small way, something much greater than me.

If you have not donated anything during the holiday season yet, consider supporting the wonderful work at Elephant Nature Foundation; they even have a U.S. tax ID.

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