Each month a zoo staff member is selected as employee of the month. The individual selected has gone above and beyond their job description and embodies the core values of the zoo. He or she leads with animal welfare, obsesses over service, works smart with heart, and ultimately leaves the world a better place.
Melissa, a primary hoofstock zookeeper, is a dedicated and valuable member of the Sacramento Zoo team. Day and night she is always available and ready with solutions to do what it takes to ensure the animals under her care receive the best. She is dedicated to the zoo, animal conservation, and ensuring her coworkers are taken care of. Melissa has the ability to see the bigger picture and understands the importance of every coworker’s role in helping the zoo succeed.
During the month of August, the Animal Care department was tasked with the monumental challenge of accommodating a complete floor remodel of the giraffe barn. Melissa took the lead and went well above and beyond, to ensure that the floor installation could be accommodated around the care of the herd. There we substantial challenges to this project. Melissa worked long adjusted hours and days to ensure these tasks were addressed, and the herd was cared for and doing ok.
Melissa has worked at the Sacramento Zoo for more than nine years. Prior to her time here Melissa was a zookeeper at both the Houston Zoo and Oakland Zoo. She became a zookeeper to improve the lives of animals under human care and help educate guests on how they can help conserve wild animals and wild places. Just a few accolades from the resident and nationally recognized giraffe expert include taking the lead on caring for Goody the giraffe, bringing a browse program to the Sacramento Zoo, and was in an episode of Untamed & Uncut on Animal Planet.
For Melissa, zookeeping isn’t just a job – it’s a calling. Melissa spends more time with the animals she cares for than she does with her human family. Weekends, holidays…none of it means anything because the animals rely on her and the other zookeepers to provide them the very best for them.