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Senior volunteers countless hours at zoo, gains experience for future

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AVERY BOCQUIN

More stories from Avery Bocquin

During+his+time+as+an+intern%2C+senior+Caleb+Drane+feeds+giraffe%2C+Sgt.+Pepper%2C+his+midday+snack
During his time as an intern, senior Caleb Drane feeds giraffe, Sgt. Pepper, his midday snack

During his time as an intern, senior Caleb Drane feeds giraffe, Sgt. Pepper, his midday snack

Provided by Caleb Drane

Provided by Caleb Drane

During his time as an intern, senior Caleb Drane feeds giraffe, Sgt. Pepper, his midday snack

Most high school students would not imagine spending a majority of their free time cleaning up cleaning up after the hippos, holding skunks, and feeding giraffes, especially for no pay. However, one student goes above and beyond each week, volunteering his time in exchange for a unique experience.

Senior Caleb Drane has proven to have a passion for working with animals. He has dedicated endless hours of his free time to gaining experience volunteering at the zoo. Spending 35-40 hours a week there, Caleb has the average full time work schedule, except his work is entirely volunteer.

“I have a passion for animals, and it’s what I want to do when I get older.”

On a day-to-day basis, Caleb gets plenty of hands on experience. From feeding the otters to cleaning the hippo cages, he is able to work with various kinds of zoo animals. There are, however, certain animals that are too dangerous that he is not able to interact with, such as the mountain lions and the bears.

Caleb visits the zoo at least once a day. He volunteers there every day after school from around noon to 6 p.m., and spends about 20 hours there on the weekend from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. He also is has a shortened schedule this year so that he can spend even more time at the zoo.

“I have always loved the zoo; it’s one of my favorite places to be.”

During the fall semester, Caleb also did an internship at the zoo so he could be around the animals on a more personal level. He spends an hour and a half there twice a week, feeding the animals and cleaning their yards. After his internship ended, he asked for full days, and now he spends every afternoon as well as weekends at the zoo.

A typical Saturday for Drane is started out by cleaning the cages and yards, then opening to the public, lunch, and finally always keeping busy with the projects around the zoo to keep it looking nice. This fills a full day. Caleb enjoys his time at the zoo, even if it’s not the usual everyday plans for a high school boy.

Not only has Caleb been able to gain tons of experience doing something he loves, he has also had the opportunity to network and meet new people. With his opportunities, Caleb has been able to form relationships with those working at the zoo and the animals living at the zoo.

In the future, Caleb would like to become a zookeeper. Once Caleb turns 18, he plans on applying for a job at the zoo. He is planning on attending Washburn University so he can stay close to and continue getting experience at the zoo. He is looking into animal behavior programs that Washburn provides and is hoping to obtain a degree in biology.

“The zoo offers lots of internship and volunteer opportunities; you won’t start out on the top but you can work yourself up like me.”

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Senior volunteers countless hours at zoo, gains experience for future