How does a penguin find a girlfriend?

Penguins have matchmakers too!

We were at the Lehigh Valley Zoo today for a project that Kedar has been working on, for the penguins. We learned some really cool facts about these intelligent feathered friends! One of the resident penguins Blake, had found himself a girlfriend at another facility. How did he get so lucky? Turns out there is something like Ancestory.com for the penguins too! No kidding. The national zoo database has DNA data for all the penguins and helps zoos exchange suitable mates so that the penguins can start their own family! We were blown away by the possibilities!

Last spring, when the zoo invited Kedar to sell his butterfly pins for Mother's day,  we were located right next the penguin feeding station.

While Zoos are fun, a lot dedication goes into making it a fun experience!

What caught our attention was an interesting way two caretakers skillfully feed 17 penguins, 4 different types of fish, for all the zoo visitors to watch. While one volunteer threw out a fish calling out loud the name of penguin that ate it, another volunteer marked the numbers using 'tally marks', on a piece of paper. It turns out that this process happens 2 times a day and the paper entry is later fed into an excel spreadsheet.  Quite the effort!

Kedar can bell the cat, with code!

Now this called for a nifty program that can manage the recording without paper and pencil and generate some useful reports. Kedar had his hands full! He took it  upon himself to learn JavaScript, JQuery, JSON, PHP, SQL, Ajax and Html using W3Schools and Stackoverflow!  It was helpful that he had a mentor who was able to periodically review his work through skype calls and give him valuable feedback! Kedar will be creating video tutorials of his program, as a way to pay it forward over the summer.

What came out of the exercise was a good effort that looks something like this

Special honor from a feathered artist

When we went back to the zoo to demo the program, as a token of appreciation for his work, the staff arranged for a one of a kind penguin painting session with a cute little penguin called Dawn. Nicknamed 'princess' , she was bullied at another facility and lost sight in an eye as a result. She was fortunately relocated here and thrived. She found herself a mate and had a gorgeous baby! We couldn't be more happy to be able to pet her and enjoy watching her doodle cool art for us!

Penguin Art at the Lehigh Valley Zoo

 

Tough times don't last, tough penguins and people do

As a homeschooling mother, who lives her child's emotions up close, I couldn't help but notice how everything comes full circle. Last summer, my son was dealt with an accident that caused stitches up his brow, learned to cope with some traumatic bullying and later in the winter spent a week fighting a viral infection in the hospital. Through all this, I saw his spirit grow bigger and more determined to thrive. Was it then a coincidence that he met a rock star penguin like Dawn who made him a cool piece of art to remind him that 'Tough times don't last, but tough penguins and people do?' 

 

 

 

We need your help

1. The Zoo is looking for a tablet to use Kedar's web based program, to record penguin feeds. If you have a gently used tablet or a new one that you are willing to donate, we will he happy to send you the painting as a token of our appreciation .

The person to contact for making the Tablet donation is Amy Tucker, from Animal Care at the Lehigh Valley Zoo. Her email is aTucker@lvzoo.org

2. If you know a Zoo or Aquarium that can benefit from using this web based program to replace their manual tracking methods, please ask them to contact us. Our email is pollinator.bud@gmail.com

 Happy Spring!

Love Uma & Kedar

 

 

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