Friday, October 12, 2007

Day 40 -- Roots & Shoots, zoo day and rain

No rush to get to Sedgwick County Zoo today since there would be no papers until after lunch. That gave me time to find the AAA office and pick up some maps and guidebooks for the last part of the trip. Figure I will be traveling through Nevada and California.

This morning was dedicated to Roots & Shoots, a program of the Jane Goodall Institute. Kids from Roots & Shoots groups around the Wichita area gathered to show their projects and to hear Jane Goodall. Chimpanzoo attendees were encouraged to attend.

I liked the project about spiders. There was a display with information about spiders, and the little kids strolled around the zoo with signs encouraging people to "Be kind to spiders." Got my attention.

After lunch there were a couple of presentations and then we got to go on behind-the-scenes tours of the chimp/orang and gorilla areas. The group I joined started with the former and ended up at the latter. The tours were of the holding facilities and not a opportunity for any up-close meeting with the residents, but when the thunder and lightening started and gorillas were brought in, we were right there -- and so were they. Gorillas have a very distinctive -- and strong -- smell. It stayed with me for an hour.

The evening event was to be a coffee and dessert tasting at the plaza near the gorilla exhibit. Because of the rain storm, the event was moved to the learning center where the conference was being held. By the time it got going, the sun was shining again. Oh, well.

So dinner was chocolate cake(s) and fruit and other sweets. I guess that means that dessert was the leftover soup I just polished off.

A note: The online agenda for the Chimpanzoo Conference indicates that one of today's speakers would be Wallace (Wally) Swett of Primarily Primates. His name didn't show up in the printed program, which probably went to press several weeks ago. Over the past year or so there has been A LOT of controversy about PPI and it would be interesting to hear what Swett had to say, but it was likely that he would not get a warm and fuzzy reception from many of the attendees. There was no public discussion about his appearance on the online agenda or about his ultimate deletion from the conference. Could have been an interesting discussion -- ugly but interesting.

Tomorrow morning I will repack the car and check out of the motel. After the conference ends around noon, I'll hit the road for the next leg of the trip. It's been fun seeing old friends and acquaintances and meeting new people, but it's back to my solo adventure. Don't know yet where I'll sleep tomorrow night, but I expect to get to Alamogordo by Monday.

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