Bones, Statues, and Trees

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I know it has been a while since I have corresponded here on the blog. However, it is nothing to worry about, my lack of writing time is all for a good reason! (Read Rick’s previous blog, Statue Tour: Educating Kids, Wowing Adults.) Since returning from the Statue Tour a few weeks ago, I have been very busy doing interviews on radio, television, and with print media. There was even a day where I gave a presentation during a luncheon and did media interviews before and after at a different location within the Zoo. Whew, that was a eventful day! Yesterday was no different, as I was on local television and national radio all within a couple of hours and all before it was 10:30 a.m.!

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the statues, which we drove across the country, shortly after we arrived in San Diego. It was great to see how perfectly they fit into the Mammoth Plaza of Elephant Odyssey (see photo above).

With all of those done, I wanted to quickly bring you up to speed on how things are going at Elephant Odyssey. Then just a few days ago, I was out on the construction site again for some interviews about Elephant Odyssey, and I was so amazed at how much had been accomplished by the construction crews. In just a little over a week’s time the Fossil Portal had dirt walls with bones exposed, and trees and plants were being put into place. Further down the trail, the elephants’ pool was full and the on-site water purification facility was being put through its paces. I was really taken with the size and structure of the “utilitrees” that have been built right there on site. These man-made trees are 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall and will offer a wide variety of enrichment opportunities for the elephants, plus cool mist in the summer and heaters in the winter.

I am so impressed with how everything is really taking shape. I feel so lucky to have seen it all come together over the past few months. And to think we still have a little over a month until we open. I can’t wait!

Rick Schwartz is the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey Ambassador.