The puppies aren’t the only thing growing in the maned wolf exhibit. Andrea Yount, a zookeeper at the Animal Discovery Park, is making full use of the eco-friendliness of the maned wolf blockhouse. The blockhouse was designed with many energy-saving and low-impact features, including a roof that can be planted as a garden. Andrea, with help from Shannon Rives and other zookeepers, planted the roof three weeks ago and the plants have really started to develop.
|The roof before starting, taken from the stairs.|
This is the third year the roof has been planted. Herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruit are all grown on the roof and either eaten by staff or used around the zoo. The vegetables and fruits are used in the animals’ diets and the flowers and herbs are used for enrichments. The animals enjoy the smell of the herbs, as the aromas are often powerful and unfamiliar.
Andrea took this project up voluntarily and has spent a lot of hours on the roof, both while on the clock and on her own time. She has enjoyed growing produce and flowers before in her home, but doesn’t have the room to grow as much as she’d like. She finds gardening relaxing, and feels that growing something and tending to it is rewarding in its own right. She’s using the space on the blockhouse and, as a kind of rent, the zoo gets paid back in fresh produce grown right there on the property. Below is a list of the plants being grown and a chart showing where they are planted on the roof.
Herbs and Flowers: lemon balm, sage, thyme, rosemary, lavender, sunflowers
Vegetables: banana peppers, yellow squash, cucumbers
The tires are filled with additional potting soil for vegetables that need the extra depth for strong rooting. Tire 1 holds banana peppers, yellow squash, chives, and Heirloom German Johnson tomatoes. Tire 2 contains yellow squash, and Tire 3 includes cucumbers and more tomatoes
|Taken from behind Tire 2|
|Taken from below the "S" in "Stairs"|
The map above shows where different plants will grow. It's plain, but informative. The pictures to the left shows the roof in its current state.
Thank you to Andrea, Shannon, the other zookeepers, and administration for taking part in this project.