Mrs. Turner’s Time at the Zoo


 Audra Turner graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and then worked at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines for 3 years. She worked in the Education Department, which entailed mostly taking care of the animals but also going to schools or reading programs state-wide and teaching people about the animals she brought to the event. 

But her job was much more in-depth than just going around and showing people animals. Before she could even tell people about the animals she not only learned about the species but learned the specific back stories of every single animal. She then talked to the group she was bringing the animals to and brought animals that would be relevant to things they were covering at the time. Some of her favorite species to bring were the snakes, owls, prehensile tailed porcupines, but her all time favorite animal was Gus. He was a Whites Tree Frog, which are originally from Australia and southern New Guinea. 

“We had this little relationship,” said Turner.  “He knew when it was me. So he would sing to me in the mornings. I was actually one of the only people that Gus would eat for. I truly loved Gus.” 

Doing her job at the zoo prepared her for teaching, from public speaking all the way to managing a classroom, but she originally never actually wanted to get into teaching. She was told by a coworker that she should go into teaching, and the rest is history. She went back to college and got her Master’s Degree in teaching. 

She then went and taught at a couple of different schools before coming home to Pella Community. But she ultimately decided to come to Pella because of her kids. 

“I decided to find a job where I wanted my kids to go to school, said Turner.