There are few exciting holidays for zookeepers. Christmas and Thanksgiving are often spent with our fur/feather/scaled families because, guess what? Animals have to eat. Daily. It’s weird, I know. But such is life of a zookeeper.
Know what holidays zookeepers DO get excited over? April 22. Earth Day. It’s not exactly celebrated by everyone, but it is an important day for zookeepers. Earth Day is the one day out of the year everyone gets to be a zookeeper and care for the planet.
The Puget Sound chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers have a saying among their members: “Zookeepers care deeply for their animals, but you don’t have to keep in order to care.” Well, something to that effect. What they meant was anyone can care about the planet. Anyone can promote a healthier environment. Anyone can love animals and do their part to protect them.
Earth Day is the perfect day to remind ourselves of this mentality. Zookeepers act as if everyday is Earth Day. Day in and day out, we teach others how to care for the planet in positive ways.
ZooFit’s philosophy is also everyday is Earth Day. Going on vacation? Have a Earth Day vacation. Eat local foods. They taste better and are typically better for you. Explore the local natural attractions. When Chris and I visited Maui a few years ago, we discovered the secret to a successful Hawaiian vacation. Eat. Sleep. Snorkel. Repeat. Change order of activities. Repeat. We indulged in some local fruits like rambutan and lychee, which were delicious. And we went snorkeling on a random beach, walked out maybe 20 yards from the shore, and instantly saw sea turtles. One of the best vacations ever.
Going out to eat for business? Be prepared with a water bottle and reusable utensils. Drinking from your water bottle will help keep you from drinking the unhealthy sodas or teas available. And if plastic ware is used, whether in cups, utensils, or straws, you will lessen the impact by not using them.
Got trash around your house? Torn jeans? Plastic lids which can’t be recycled? Milk cartons? Turn them into something useful instead of throwing them away. I love making workout equipment from items such as deflated basketballs, tofu/salad containers, shoe strings, and broken rake handles. It’s part of my program called “Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist”.
Sunny day? Hit the park or the beach for a completely different workout and really test your muscles out. Get some vitamin D while breaking a sweat, and gain a better appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Bring your dog for the perfect workout partner, one who will ALWAYS appreciate a good run in the park or a game of frisbee. Go to a playground with your kids and instead of sitting nearby while they explore, get in on the action and play with them.
While the world celebrates Earth Day every April 22, ZooFit, and zookeepers celebrate it everyday. There are literally hundreds of ways you can maintain the spirit of Earth Day throughout the year. Learn how to eat clean, live green, and train positive. Every day as Earth Day.