Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp was awesome!

So after many months of planning and preparation, we held the first annual Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp this week and it was a hit with all the campers.

Knowing this was a fundraiser, I wanted it to be better than great - I wanted it to raise lots of money and for Dylan to feel that he had succeeded.

The day before the camp I was a nervous wreck. Had I taken on more than I could handle? Finalizing the details and helping Dylan make note cards of what he was going to talk about filled my morning.

Then it was time to fill the cinch bags with all the goodies we had received from sponsors and from individuals who wanted to help.

I kept telling myself - they are just kids.

Well, thanks to our wonderful sponsors and great campers who loved learning about endangered animals, we not only had an awesome day, we also raised $300 for the leopards at the San Diego Zoo!

I was so busy leading the camp with Dylan that I didn't get a chance to take pictures during the first half of the camp, but thanks to my wonderful friend Tammy Mendoza (from Dez & Tam Photography) I have her pictures to share.


While Tammy was busy taking pictures of the kids making bookmarks, I managed to snap a few pictures of them painting rhinos with my phone.

We had snacks from our sponsors and learned about what can be recycled through TerraCycle, learned how reading labels and not buying products with palm oil can help the orangutans, ate lunch together under a tree and then finished up the day with Rebecca from Remember Wildlife and all her animal friends.

Thanks for making Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp such a wonderful experience!

To see more pictures of the campers and the unique animals that Remember Wildlife brought you can view our Flickr album. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dylan's Thank You Letter to all the Zoo Keepers

Today kicks of the start of National Zoo Keeper Week. Over the past year we have had the pleasure of meeting many zoo keepers and are proud to call them our friends. It is difficult to thank all of them in person, so Dylan wanted to write an open thank you letter to all our zoo keeper friends.

Dear Zoo Keepers,

Thank you for all the things you do for the animals. Thank you for being the voice of the animals. You feed them and you help them when they are sick or in need.

To Jonnie, thank you for helping all the rhinos. The great park you work at has had many rhino births and I really liked reading about your experience with Mili's birth.  You have helped so many animals, especially the ungulates.

To Julian, thank you for taking me behind the scenes to see where Connor and Christopher live and for introducing me to Danai. I learned a lot about what a tiger keeper does.

To Peter, thank you for teaching me about the monarch butterflies during Garden Festival at the San Diego Zoo. You are really lucky to work with Sonny and I hope one day that I can tour the reptile house with you. I think it's really cool that we both want to work with Zookeeper Rick.

To Katrina, thank you for taking me behind the exhibit and letting me see Mek when we visited the Fresno Zoo. Your zoo might not be as big as the San Diego Zoo, but Mek seems really happy to be back with Paca.

To Rick, where do I start, you help so many different animals and help bring awareness to the world about conservation. You help animals big and small - from a tiny endangered butterfly to a big African elephant. Thank you for taking so many animal ambassadors on television and showing the world how amazing these animals are. You are my hero and you inspire me to keep doing more for the animals and conservation. Like you and Dr. Harry Wegeforth, I do it for the animals.

There wouldn't be zoos without zoo keepers and the world wouldn't be the place it is today without zoos teaching people about animals and conservation.

Thank you zoo keepers for all you do.

Dylan Fryer

Created by AAZK, Inc, National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated each year beginning on the third Sunday in July. During the week, zoos nationwide honor animal care professionals and the work they do in animal care, conservation, and education. There are approximately 6,000 animal care professionals in the United States.

The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK)a non-profit volunteer organization made up of professional zookeepers and other interested persons dedicated to professional animal care and conservation. The mission of AAZK is to advance excellence in the zoo keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life. For more information, visit

Friday, July 19, 2013

Our road trip was a blast, Now back to reality

The days leading up to a vacation are almost as exciting as the day that you actually leave, but the days after you come home from vacation ... well, that's a totally different story. We have been home from our zoo road trip for a week now and I am just starting to feel like myself.

Although we made numerous stops and had tons of fun, the last two days of the road trip involved all day in the car. We left hotels by 9 am and didn't arrive at the next hotel until dinner time. That made for one tired Mom when we got home. I don't think I even got dressed, let alone got off the couch our first day home. Then it was Dylan's birthday and we got Tiga. I'm finally starting to get back to my routine and feel like I'm not sleep deprived.

As for the 800 pictures I took on our zoo road trip ... yeah, those will just have to wait a bit longer. However, I did manage to get the 85 mobile pictures from my iPhone up on Flickr. Sometimes it's fun to see spur of the moment pics from your phone.

Not all are perfect - some may be blurry (since the car was going 75 m.p.h.) - and some are just plain silly. Regardless, they are memories.

I'm starting to think that coming home from vacation is more work than planning and actually going on vacation!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Dylan ... Enjoy your pet tiger!

Wow, I still can't believe that my little boy is 10 years old today. It seems like just yesterday he was a toddler asking me to hold him up so he could see the animals over the railing. Asking me to read him the signs at the zoo and tell him about the animals. "Are the vulnerable or endangered Mommy?"  That was his favorite question to ask and the first thing he learned about all the animals.

Now he is the one teaching me about animals and surprising me every day with his continued love for animals and conservation.

I'm not sure where I would be without this little guy. He changed my world forever when he was born and every day has been an adventure ever since.

So what do you get a kid like Dylan for his birthday?

The kid who last year wanted nothing but to raise money for the tigers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Helping build a new home called Tiger Trail was all he asked for.

A kitty that looks like a tiger of course!

Thanks to my friend Heather, who posted an adorable picture of a rescued kitty on Instagram a few weeks ago, our family has grown.

This adorable 10 week old kitty stole our hearts the minute she arrived today.

Oh, and Dylan named her Tiga too! In honor of the new female tiger at the San Diego Zoo.

Happy Birthday Dylan!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fingers crossed - My tiger picture might be Wildlife Photo of the Month

Last month I captured some pretty great pictures of Connor at the San Diego Zoo and wrote a little post about tigers. (In case you missed it, you can click here and read it) Well, one picture got lots of views on Flickr ... like over 12,000 views in a few days. I thought there must be something wrong with Flickr because my pictures, the good ones, generally get a few hundred views. 

So I decided to submit the picture to San Diego Zoo Global for the Wildlife Photo of the Month contest. To be honest, with school ending and our road trip I had totally forgotten about submitting the picture of Connor.

"No Floaties Needed"

Then today I see on Facebook that my photograph is one of the choices for Wildlife Photo of the Month. What? My picture could possibly be featured on the San Diego Zoo Global website? Cool!

You see, when you are a little fish in a big sea of really amazing photographers, like my friends who also love to photograph animals at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, then you will understand how something as little as being recognized for your work can be utterly amazing and inspiring. 

The photograph with the most "likes" will be featured as Wildlife Photo of the Month, so if you haven't voted yet ... well, what are you waiting for? 

Log on to Facebook and choose your favorite here.