Tales From the Potter Park Zoo High School Class – Eaton RESA Program

Did you know Potter Park Zoo hosts a high school class at the zoo through Eaton RESA? Here’s a few stories from the students in this semester’s class! 

Hi! My name is Hannah Emmer and I am a senior taking the Animal Science and Zoo Management class here at Potter Park Zoo. Last year, my guidance counselor came into my English class and explained a program called Eaton RESA. I wasn’t really paying attention because I knew that my school would look at my grades and decide my grades weren’t good enough. When she announced there was an Animal Science class, my head popped up from my desk and I tuned in. It was right then when I turned my grades around and did everything I could to get into this class, and I was accepted!

This program has been absolutely amazing so far. No, it’s not just playing with animals. The curriculum ties into the agriculture world whether it’s math or English.

Our day starts with daily tasks which can be anything from training chinchillas and rats to this blog post. The rest of the class is usually spent on curriculum, with animal handling included often. We also get to job shadow the zookeepers! This is where we get to be hands-on with the animals. With my first keeper shadow, I was working with the hoofstock zookeepers. I got to feed the rhinos, goats, alpacas, ponies, and every other farmyard animal. Keeper shadowing is an eye opening experience to see how much these people care for the animals. If anyone is considering taking this class, I highly recommend it, especially if you love animals!”

– Hannah Emmer, Senior, Laingsburg High School


“As of today, the animal science and zoo management class at Potter Park Zoo has been in session for about three weeks. So far we have gone over safety procedures and things that we need to know before we dive into handling animals. Everyone knows safety comes first!

So far I have really enjoyed my time in class at the zoo. We have gotten a personal tour of the zoo from Mrs. Morningstar and we’ve gotten to handle a tenrec which looks just like a hedgehog but surprisingly is not even close to being related to one. We have also gone around the zoo to look at all the animals. We have learned how to care for rats and are starting to get them used to being handled as they are a new addition to our classroom.

I am really looking forward to this school year and all of the new things I will get to learn and experience and it’s even better because Mrs. Morningstar makes learning interesting. I’m most excited to take care of the different animals here and learn more about animal handling. I am also excited to learn the different anatomy of animals. Overall I think that it will be a super fun year learning so many new things I love and that interest me and spent with peers who care to learn about the same things as much as I do!

– Tanner Butler, Senior, Laingsburg High School