Educating Through Care: The Role of Facility Management at Moorpark College’s Zoo

Educating Through Care: The Role of Facility Management at Moorpark College’s Zoo

Educating Through Care:
The Role of Facility Management at Moorpark College’s Zoo

In the heart of Moorpark College, nestled within a lush landscape, lies a hidden gem -- The Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College. Unlike your typical zoological park, this one-of-a-kind wildlife facility stands out for its distinctive approach to animal care and education.

The zoo isn't just a place for public amusement. It's a dynamic learning environment. Steve Timmons and Brian Sherman from the zoo’s facilities team talked about the facility's educational foundation, where students immerse themselves in the care and maintenance of monkeys, tigers, lions, beavers, and many other kinds of animals.

This collaborative fusion of academia and practical experience distinguishes the facility as a trailblazer in wildlife conservation education with a nice balance between public engagement and operational functionality. The zoo has frequent visitors from K-12 classes and the community.

One of the most intriguing aspects discussed is the pivotal role of facility management in ensuring the well-being of the zoo's diverse inhabitants. From regulating temperature-controlled environments to maintaining essential equipment like pumps and electrical systems, every aspect of facility management directly impacts animal health and safety. Brian emphasized the criticality of top-notch equipment performance, highlighting instances such as the meticulous care required for the alligator's filtration system and the precise temperature control essential for tropical species.

The zoo’s facilities team relies on an app from ARC Facilities to organize, update, share equipment information, including pumps and electrical systems. Everyone can see maintenance records, add photos and/or video maintenance tips, and locate equipment manuals. If there’s an emergency at the zoo, facilities teams can share building plans with first responders, so they know the locations of evacuation routes.

“It's awesome to highlight the hard work that our maintenance team does to keep the zoo running,” said Alisa Behar, Zoo Operations Supervisor. “We truly couldn't do it without them!”

While the zoo is relatively small, spanning approximately five acres, it pulsates with activity. Regular public visits, school field trips, and educational programs keep the premises buzzing with energy. Renovation projects including a state-of-the-art tiger enclosure and the expansion of the aviary bird habitat illustrate the zoo's commitment to continual improvement and innovation.

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of daily operations, challenges inevitably arise. The issue of labor shortages echoes throughout the industry, posing a persistent hurdle for the zoo's maintenance team. Despite these obstacles, Steve and Brian's dedication to upholding the zoo's standards remains unwavering, ensuring that every aspect of the facility operates smoothly.

With a wealth of captivating stories and insights awaiting discovery, it's clear that the facility is more than just a haven for exotic wildlife. It's a beacon of education, conservation, and community engagement.

The Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College demonstrates the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature, where every chirp, roar, and rustle tells a story of resilience and stewardship. As visitors marvel at its inhabitants, they become part of a larger narrative - one that celebrates the majesty of the animal kingdom and the enduring bond between humans and wildlife.

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