California Avian Training Workshop

WorkshopThis past Sunday and Monday Turtle Bay hosted a newly created workshop for animal training professionals called the California Avian Training Workshop. The workshop was created with the collaboration of Chandelle Cotter of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) in Portage, AK.   The workshop was more of a success than we ever could have imagined! We had 15 participants representing seven facilities including: the AWCC, Bird TLC of Anchorage, Happy Hollow Zoo, Folsom Zoo, Effie Nature Center, Discovery Kingdom, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

WorkshopWe packed so much into two days it is almost unbelievable. I delivered a 90 minute interactive class on general training then, Lisa Clifton Bumpass, a Behavioral Analysis Consultant of San Jose, provided a workshop that was progressive and fascinating. The best thing about her talk? We have already adopted these philosophies and are doing most of the techniques she described. Looking at the animals needs throughout its whole life, rather than just what is needed it the moment. Setting your animals up to build on one training after another so they have an entire repertoire of behaviors that help them have a great life, from baby through geriatric life. We did sessions on raptor handling and looked at the history and future of our industry and Lisa, Chandelle, and I did an hour long Q & A session where we helped participants with training issues and challenges. We spent each afternoon doing demonstrations of the animal training we do here at Turtle Bay.

WorkshopAll I can say is that it was all fantastic (and a bit exhausting)! I have to give HUGE kudos to my team of trainers who just blew everyone away with their knowledge and successes with the animals. Let me tell you how wonderful our animals are too: we set up all the participants upstairs in the foyer area of the Museum and Timber walked from lap to lap on each person! Curie, our raven, showed off her intelligence by demonstrating her puzzle-solving behaviors and Kinta, the kookaburra, flew and landed on each and every participant! Even Whisper, who is a little more particular, let each person meet her! It wasn’t all just fun and games though: we demonstrated Loki voluntarily participating in getting an injection and Gidget willingly taking oral medicine from a syringe. Lisa told the participants to “pay attention, because what you are seeing here is cutting edge; you won’t see this kind of stuff at many facilities.” It is probably the highest compliment I have ever received by a peer and well-respected person in this industry!

WorkshopWe provided surveys and the comments were thoughtful and touching. One survey said, “I wish I was able to stay longer and learn more from you. I really like your methods for training, your mentality for animal welfare, and your priorities for your facility.”

WorkshopIt wasn’t just my team in Animal Care who made it a success, it is all of Turtle Bay. Our animals would not have the incredible lives they have without the buy-in and conscientiousness of all Turtle Bay staff–from Grounds and Maintenance to Guest Services. I have to thank Melissa in Guest Services for being there for us for any needs throughout the days. Finally, I want to thank my boss and CEO of Turtle Bay, Mike, because none of this could happen without his trust and freedom to do my job. It became very apparent that one main challenge that many facilities have is that their CEO and upper management team, including their board, put time constraints and expectations on training of animals. This puts stress on the trainers and leads to them using methods to get the animals trained “in time” that are less than ideal for the animals. I thank our CEO, Boards, and our entire Turtle Team for putting the animals’ welfare first, above and beyond our desires and needs.

WorkshopSharon Clay, Curator of Animal Programs

“One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin”


Turtles Teach: There’s More to Explore at Turtle Bay!

Educational activitiesDid you know that Turtle Bay is not only a great place to visit, but also a great resource for North State educators? Our staff knows it can be challenging to offer hands-on science and math learning activities, so the Turtle Bay Lending Library makes it easier and more fun for everyone involved! Our Lending Library is open to anyone (for a small fee) and currently has more than 90 teaching kits which are loaned on a monthly basis and contain a Teacher’s Guide with materials to teach multiple lessons to an entire class. Education kit titles vary from “Bubble Festival” (Grades K-6) and “Tree Homes” (Preschool-1) to “Messages from Space” (Grades 5-8) and “Plate Tectonics” (Grades 6-8).

Education suppliesGEMS, or “Great Explorations in Math and Science,” is a nationwide, teacher-tested curriculum that supports national science and math standards. Educators and researchers at the Lawrence Hall of Science developed this program to offer fun and engaging easy-to-use science lessons. Turtle Bay became a registered GEMS Center in 2002 with the support of two McConnell grants, which included the purchase of teaching kits and several facilitator trainings.

TeachingToday, the Turtle Bay Education Department is proud to offer expanded library resources and teacher trainings throughout Shasta County as part of the First 5 Shasta-funded More to Explore Program. This four-part training series has been offered in Redding, Anderson, Shasta Lake, and this fall will be held in Burney at the Tri-County Community Center. Over 62 Shasta County early childhood care providers have participated, reaching over 1,000 young learners in Shasta County! This program introduces GEMS, Growing Up Wild and Project Learning Tree curricula and covers teaching strategies to adapt lessons for special needs and engage more students. Our curriculum utilizes the “power of play” to build discussion, promote literacy, and encourage critical thinking. And what more beautiful place to explore than ExploringShasta County? Take some time to explore the outdoors with the young people in your family and neighborhood!

Happy learning!

The Teaching Turtles 

Education and Programs Department


Turtles Teach: Programs, programs and more programs at Turtle Bay!

The Education and Programs Department of Turtle Bay Exploration Park is all about programs! We offer a vast array of school and public programs, special events and even holiday programs and other amazing opportunities across the Turtle Bay Campus and around the North State. Our programs span a variety of subjects and reach audiences as young as pre-school, through school age youth and teens, and into adults.

Turtle Bay Education ProgramsAre you an Early Childhood Educator seeking opportunities for training or new ideas for classes or programs? Join Monique Gaido in our “More to Explore Program”, funded by First 5 Shasta. We offer a wide range of professional development workshops for teachers and early childhood caregivers to help improve your skills and grow your knowledge base.

Maybe you are a teacher or educator in search of professional development opportunities for yourself and your colleagues. Join Mary Harper, our Teacher Professional Development Coordinator, for a variety of Professional Development workshops throughout the year. Topics range from facilitator trainings for Project Learning Tree, Project WET and Project WILD, to workshops on global warming/climate change, Nanotechnology and STEM Programs and even how to engage in current science initiatives via Citizen Science.

Have you heard about what is happening at Turtle Bay Exploration Park on Saturdays? Join us on the second and third Saturday of each month for Family Second Saturday and Science Saturday. For the month of March, join us to learn all about Nanotechnology, the “Science of Small”! Discover how many of our everyday and household items rely on complicated nanotechnology to function.

Spring is just around the corner, and that means Spring Break Camp! Sign up your 8-12 year old students for a week of scientific investigations in our “Exploring Food Webs” camp program. Learn all about the components of life on earth and how they all come together to create the web of life. Each day will focus on a theme, starting with the sun and the energy it provides to kick-start the food web.  Sequential days will build off the previous day as we piece together the food web that can be found surrounding Turtle Bay.

What programs are you most excited to explore?


Happy learning!

The Teaching Turtles 

Education and Programs Department