Menu for animals expands at Woodland Park Zoo due to Oxbow Farm

The 2 organizations partnered in the course of the pandemic to share “imperfect produce” with animals. #k5evening

CARNATION, Wash. — Dave the giraffe will get a justifiable share of wholesome treats from keepers at Woodland Park Zoo, however broccoli was just lately added to his weight loss program for the primary time – due to an natural farm in Carnation.

Oxbow Farm and Conservation Middle partnered with the zoo to assist present “imperfect produce” – greens that aren’t marketable to people however are completely appropriate for animal consumption.

“It is gone somewhat wild, which is ideal for our animals,” mentioned animal weight loss program specialist Kaitlin Peli. “We’re providing issues they would not usually get from our produce, one thing that is going to be enjoyable and entertaining for them.”

The partnership was cast in the course of the pandemic. When staffing for the zoo’s backyard diminished, keepers turned to the 240-acre farm alongside the Snoqualmie River.

“So far as what we develop, sort of every thing is right here,” mentioned Audrey McLane, Backyard Coordinator at Oxbow Farm. “Something you’ll be able to image or get at a farmer’s market, we have now.”

However they do not simply develop to promote their bounty. Oxbow has three different focal factors: a local plant nursery, conservation and training.

“We do numerous various things which is a cool facet of Oxbow, we have now such an intersection of all these totally different fields that are not normally working collectively,” McLane mentioned.

Every summer time, day campers collect within the youngsters’ backyard to study the onerous work and satisfaction of tending fields.

“It is actually enjoyable to reap. It is my favourite,” mentioned 7-year-old Hana Tran.

Throughout 2021, the children helped glean three crops for the animals: fava beans, kohlrabi, and broccoli that had bolted and began to flower.

“Hopefully a few of these youngsters will even be into conservation and animals, and having some say in our future,” Peli mentioned.

Just a few days after the broccoli stalks had been collected, they had been launched to Dave and a few of his pals.

The zebras and hippos had been in heaven, however the giraffe was a bit extra reluctant. He solely ate broccoli leaves that had been individually plucked from the stems.

“It is extremely very similar to working with toddlers,” Peli mentioned.

Similar to folks, not all animals like all produce. No matter they do not eat goes within the compost, returns to the earth, and the rising begins once more. A win-win for everybody – and every thing – on this small circle of life.

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