March 18, 2015 Calgary Zoo

Who’s Who at the Zoo: meet Dinosaur Interpreter Janina Kowalski


Meet Janina, the zoo’s new Dinosaur Interpreter in the Education department. While you’re visiting the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit you might run into her- make sure to ask her some cool dino facts! We get to know Janina in our “Who’s who at the zoo” blog series.

Q: How long have you worked for the Calgary Zoo?

“I started working for the zoo in the beginning of March this year- just in time for the Dinosaurs Alive opening!”

Q: What training and career lead to your work at the Calgary Zoo?

“I completed my Undergraduate studies with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto, and then have recently completed my Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. I’m passionate about the environment, and my background in theatre, including experience in a variety of theatre department positions (I’ve worked in direction, lighting, sets- I’ve done all of the jobs!) make my position here a nice combination of those things that I love.”

Q: What do you love about your position?

“I love the opportunity to bring contemporary research about dinosaurs and paleobotany to the public in fun and engaging ways. It’s not about writing or reading papers- I can use puppets! It’s fun to interact with the kids and parents, and to get them to ask questions and engage in the learning environment around them.”

Q: What do you like most about working for the zoo?

“I like combining those two interests- paleontology and theatre! Also, visiting the zoo convinced me that it would be a cool place to work. I’m looking forward to learning the small details of how a zoo works, and learning more about the animals themselves. It’s really enjoyable for me to be in a position that is connected to the natural environment- I loved the zoo’s mandate for conservation.”

Q: What is something that you’re looking forwards to during the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit?

“I’m nervous and excited for the amphitheatre programs and shows to start- they’ll be coming up soon!”

Q: Tell us about your team?

“I really like my coworkers in Education, and the volunteers that I’ve worked with are great. I can’t wait to get to know them better.”

Q: What’s something that you haven’t done that you want to do?

“To go cross country skiing this winter! [laughs]”

Q: What’s a cool fact that someone attending Dinosaurs Alive might learn?

“There are interesting things to learn- not just about the dinosaurs themselves. Paleobotany (the study of prehistoric plant life) tells us that there used to be giant horsetails that were metres and metres high!”

Learn more about our Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, opening March 19, 2015!

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