Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Chicks and Chirps: Edward's Pheasants at Tracy Aviary
The weather is warming up, bulbs are blooming, and for Tracy Aviary,
it means its hatching season. In March, Tracy Aviary welcomed the hatching of
five Edwards’s Pheasant chicks! Edwards’s Pheasants are found in only three
provinces in central Vietnam and are thought to be extinct in the wild, which
makes this hatching all the more exciting!
Tracy Aviary participates in a Species Survival Plan to breed this
beautiful bird, increase their numbers in captivity, and ensure they have a future. The chicks are currently being raised by
their mom and dad in the lush Treasures of the Rainforest exhibit and getting accustomed
to finding food on their own, flying, and exploring their habitat. Edwards’s
Pheasants are very secretive and prefer to spend their time hiding under dense
foliage while foraging on the ground for food. The keepers are providing
mealworms, crickets, and specially formulated pheasant pellets for the family
to eat. Sometimes it is difficult to see the
chicks, as mom can be very protective, but if you listen closely you can hear
the family chirping to each other as they explore their habitat.
The chicks should reach their adult weight by the time they are 6 months
old. Males weigh about 900 grams where
females weigh about 600 grams. We will be able to tell if they are male or
female by the time they are 3 months old based on their feather coloration. Exposing
them to important husbandry tools like scales will help us monitor their growth
and overall health throughout their life without being too invasive in their
daily behaviors. Waxworms, which we also refer to as “bird candy”, are a great
way to reward these brave little birds for their curiosity in stepping up on
the scale! These precious little chicks
are vital to the future of their species, so to see them growing so well is
Visitors will have fun
searching for these little chicks inside Treasures of the Rainforest and will
be thrilled when they catch sight of them! As an open air exhibit, Treasures of
the Rainforest is a unique experience where guests get to see birds free-flying
Guests should plan a visit to
Tracy Aviary soon, for these chicks won’t be chicks for long! Along with
exploring Treasures of the Rainforest, guests will be able to participate in
fun summer programming. Our busy summer schedule includes something for everyone - daily bird
shows, nature play for the kids, daily feeding opportunities, nose-to-beak
encounters, and concerts the second Sunday of the month (June-September). Tracy
Aviary is open Monday-Sunday, 9am-5pm, with later hours on Monday nights (open
till 8pm June-August). For more information visit www.tracyaviary.org.
Julie Roehner is the Marketing
& Events Coordinator at Tracy Aviary. New to the Aviary, she is enjoying
learning about all of the species on grounds from the rest of Tracy Aviary
Ticket Tuesday with Tracy Aviary
A winner has been chosen for this Ticket Tuesday giveaway courtesy Tracy Aviary.
Congrats to Robert M. in Taylorsville!
Justice-Seeking Super Robot Takes on Arts Education
Or, How I Switched From a Deficit Mindset to an Asset-based Approach
Editor's note: This blog originally appeared on Americans for the Arts' ArtsBlog.
Let’s get something out of the way at the beginning. For me, art is about connection.
Now, a story.
I remember it distinctly. I was dressed like a robot. It was Halloween, and I was at recess when I heard it. Name calling! As a machine, I was brave enough to stand up and say that wasn’t okay with me. Even as a preschooler, I was obsessed with inclusion. I found power in fighting the good fight. I wasn’t just a regular robot that day. I was a justice-seeking super robot.
I found the arts. I took piano lessons, went to Shakespeare camp, and sang poorly in high school musicals. Arts education was a big part of my childhood. It was so ingrained in my experience that I felt every child must have had these same opportunities.
But that isn’t the case.
Fast forward to my first jobs outside college.
As a teacher, and former justice-seeking super robot, I saw a need. Low-income children of color weren’t in my Shakespeare classes. If art is about connection, why wasn’t I seeing that reflected in my classes?
I went back to school. I was going to learn how to save the world by connecting art to low-income children of color.
Thankfully, I learned that I was fighting the wrong fight. Access to arts education wasn’t a bad goal, but simply having access to arts education wouldn’t bring real connection or equity. Simply put, traditional arts education often does not value low-income communities of color.
For example, I read about a public, arts-focused charter school. Students of color interviewed in the article explained that their dance class spent one “token” week on hip-hop as a break from “foundational” ballet.
Or there are the myriad stories about low-income students of color who weren’t deemed “talented” enough to be placed in the elite youth orchestra because they hadn’t had the opportunity to take lessons as a young child. These cases are real and common. And they demonstrate that communities of color are consistently undervalued by traditional arts education.
In these situations, arts education was not the road to connection. Structures like this perpetuate inequity. I had to learn that. I needed to recognize that by saying this community needed Shakespeare, I was saying I had the power to define what art is. This happens a lot. And it usually favors Eurocentric art.
I don’t have anything against Shakespeare, but I didn’t need to bring Shakespeare or Bach or Monet to low-income students of color that needed art. What I needed to do was recognize that art is already in every community, and that students have their own power to create art. I needed to shift my approach.
So instead of entering a community as a teacher and bringing a prescribed text or curriculum, I would enter as a learner. I needed to value the community and learn from them. I needed to connect with my students—to see their stories and experiences as equal to my own. To see my students for more than their perceived needs.
I needed a new approach to arts education. So, I scanned the literature, and I found an approach that works with, and values, oppressed groups. It’s called an asset-based arts education.
An asset-based arts education works in solidarity with the community. It is mutually beneficial and builds social capital. The programming must be multicultural and value a diversity of stories and voices. And, finally, the work and environment must be empowering and participant-led. (I wonder how this approach might work beyond the classroom.)
I got a chance to put this method to the test. I worked with a group of amazing students at an afterschool program, and the biggest thing I learned seemed simple. I learned hope. There is reason to hope for a better, more equitable, world.
And it isn’t going to be me that saves it.
It’s going to be my students.
In a world that oppresses my students and tells them no (loudly and often), they practiced a playful resistance and claimed their power. They even wrote this line for our play:
“I am equal. Life is equal. No life is higher than another.”
This line was more beautiful and meaningful to us than Shakespeare ever could have been.
A more connected world is possible. And I didn’t need to be a justice-fighting super robot. I just needed to be human. To shut my mouth. To connect. To listen. To learn. And, because I focused on the assets of my students, they (thankfully!) saw some good in me, too. That’s real connection.
And who doesn’t want to live in a world like that?
Megan Noyce Attermann is the Grant and Communication Program Manager for the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) Program. She has a Master of Arts in Community Leadership, with an emphasis in Arts and Cultural Leadership, from Westminster College, and a BA in Theatre Arts and English from the University of Puget Sound. She sits on the advisory committee for the Salt Lake Emerging Arts Professionals and loves to teach afterschool classes.
Cut Loose at Empress Theatre
Congratulations to the winners of this Ticket Tuesday giveaway from The Empress Theater:
Francisco in Draper and Christy S. in Salt Lake City!
Ciao: A Note from Vicki Bourns
Today, Friday, April 21, 2017, is bittersweet. My last day working for the ZAP Program. Salt Lake County has been very good to me, and
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented, dedicated and
passionate arts professionals and volunteers.
I am grateful for this journey.
I am grateful for every ZAP advisory board member – you have
taught me so much.
I am grateful to the ZAP grantees that use their best
efforts to provide thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining activities in architecture,
dance, arts education, theatre, folk arts, natural history, literature, visual
arts, media arts, botanical gardens, music, history, humanities,
interdisciplinary & multidisciplinary arts, and zoology.
I am grateful for the citizens of Salt Lake County for
recognizing and supporting these arts and cultural organizations and
activities. Their support of the 1/10th
of 1% sales tax initiative is concrete evidence that they value arts, culture,
our natural environment, and recreation opportunities for all. And most important they put their money where
their values are!
I am grateful to the Salt Lake County Mayor and Council. Our elected officials have supported ZAP in
many ways. They have personally endorsed
the ZAP Proposition on the ballot, they have approved funding, ordinance and
policies recommendations. They have
recognized and acknowledged ZAP volunteer advisory board members.
I am grateful to the many Salt Lake County employees that
have contributed to our work over the years. You know who you are – you clean
our offices, you help process our contracts, you help us follow all the rules,
you process our invoices, you take our calls and welcome our visitors, you
provide crucial support and leadership, you make us look good!
I am grateful that it will be difficult for me to not say
“we” when thinking and speaking of Zoo, Arts and Parks.
Ciao and love always,
Vicki Bourns is the outgoing Director of the Zoo, Arts & Parks Program. She is the new Director of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums.