As an animal keeper, Lenz learned how to care for wild animals like bears, elk, mountain goats, and bison. She also taught visitors about the different animals, and worked closely with the bears – often close enough to touch.
“Getting to know the animals and building relationships with them was the best part. They all have their own personalities,” Lenz said.
Yellowstone Bear World is a privately operated reserve near Rexburg, Idaho that affords visitors up-close views of its 62 captive-bred bears.
Lenz found out about the internship through a former biology student who got a job at the park. After interning as a keeper at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans the previous summer, Lenz thought this would be a great way to learn more about wild animals from the Yellowstone area.
The experience ultimately taught her about her own career goals. After she graduates, Lenz hopes to work as a zookeeper, a role in which she can care for animals and educate people, in addition to participating in conservation efforts.