Carolyn McKinney is a very special and valued docent at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Since January of 2004, when Carolyn began as a docent, she has stood out as a dynamic individual and an integral part of our animal care team. The many hours of her time spent at the zoo are a testament to her dedication and willingness to serve. Her personal convictions and compassion for animals perfectly aligns with the zoo’s efforts to provide excellent animal care, as well as to be a center for education and endangered species conservation. Her service to the zoo has been as a treasurer for the docent organization, as an in-zoo educator for guests and as an essential part of our animal food preparation department, the commissary.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo currently cares for more than 1,800 animals in multiple habitats. The specific and unique dietary requirements is established by the zoo veterinarian and carried out by the commissary manager faces the overwhelming task of preparing these diets on a daily basis. On average the zoo goes through more than 432 cases of apples in a year. This means cutting up 15,000 pounds of apples every year. Carolyn has volunteered much of her time at the zoo in this department, assisting with this important task. The commissary manager relies on Carolyn as an essential part in the care of our animals.
Through her service as a docent at the zoo, Carolyn has demonstrated both excellent leadership and tremendous initiative. Many of the visitors at the zoo have been enriched by the knowledge and interpretive information that Carolyn has provided. During her time volunteering, she often takes the initiative to go into the zoo and stand near an exhibit to provide zoo guests with animal facts, their status in the wild and conservation initiatives. Imparting this information is essential to the conservation of the endangered animals that the zoo cares for. Carolyn truly understands this and makes an admirable effort to do her part.
The zoo spends more than half a million dollars every year to feed the animals they care for. The assistance from those individuals that choose to donate their time is essential for the zoo to continue working towards our mission. Carolyn McKinney in particular has stood out in her participation and has proven to have a tremendous impact on the zoo’s daily animal care needs. She has also had an influence on the individuals she reaches as an educator at the zoo. She helped to create concern and inspire compassion for the zoo’s animals and their plight in the wild.