CSEA Zoological Society of Buffalo Local members gather at the center of the Buffalo Zoo. From left, local Treasurer Gary Steele, Jillian Philips, Sera Muscoreil, Lynn Hougle, Alyssa Caulfield, local Recording Secretary Alicia DuBrava, and Melissa King.

CSEA members make zoo memorable for summer patrons

BUFFALO — As the clock neared 11 a.m., CSEA member Sydney Hollasch, an animal keeper at the Buffalo Zoo, came out into the zoo’s giraffe exhibit holding a head of romaine lettuce.

Hollasch began feeding the lettuce, one leaf at a time, to one of the three giraffes as several children and parents watched in awe of the animal.

At another exhibit, parents pushed their toddlers in strollers right up to the glass to watch other animal keepers, who are CSEA members, feeding the sea lions their morning fish.

CSEA member Sydney Hollasch feeds one of the Buffalo Zoo’s giraffes, A.J.

The Buffalo Zoo, the third-oldest zoo in the nation, attracts thousands of patrons each year, specifically during the summer months. The zoo provides a fun and entertaining opportunity for patrons to learn about the dozens of animals that reside inside its gates.

This experience, which is so memorable for so many young children, is only possible because of the hard work and dedication of the CSEA members who keep the zoo running.

“Thank you, CSEA members, for taking care of the polar bears,” one young girl said, as CSEA Zoological Society of Buffalo Local Treasurer Gary Steele showed her and her sister one of the polar bears drying itself off in the dirt after a swim.

Not only do the animal keepers at the Buffalo Zoo help enhance the experience for patrons, but they also ensure that the zoo’s animals are kept healthy and happy.

— Madison Ruffo


Gabrielle Dwyer, assistant farmer, prepares to take a school group on a hayride.

Muscoot Farm connects the community with farming

KATONAH — Looking to get a taste of country life close to the city?

Head to Muscoot Farm, a family-friendly interpretative farm run by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation that showcases agriculture and local history away from the hustle and bustle of busier communities.

The 777-acre farm features more than 50 animals, historic buildings original to the property, and seven hiking trails. Farmers markets on Sundays draw throngs of visitors, and the farm’s group hayrides and summer camps are popular. Muscoot Farm has long been a beloved destination, especially for young families, and the pandemic resulted in an attendance spike that hasn’t seemed to wane.

Jonathon Benjamin, farm manager at Muscoot Farm, checks on the farm’s pygmy goats, some of whom were just recently born.

CSEA Westchester County Unit members proudly operate Muscoot Farm, which began as a working dairy farm in the late 1800s owned by a wealthy New York City family until the county acquired the farm in 1967. Today, admission is free and the farm draws roughly 250,000 visitors per year.

“We strive to keep that look and that feel of the original farm,” said CSEA member Jonathon Benjamin, farm manager. “A lot of programs we offer reflect that.”

Much like how the farm operated under the Hopkins family, children can visit and join staff in morning farm chores, learning what it takes to be a farmer and interacting with animals including pygmy goats and lambs.

“That program is the highlight of my week,” said CSEA member Gabrielle Dwyer, an assistant farmer. “It’s a great way for kids to learn how to feed and care for animals.”

While agritourism and recreation are the draw at Muscoot Farm, workers are proud that their efforts allow them to help community members in need.

“We donate a couple thousand pounds of food each year to food banks in the area,” said Benjamin.

— Jessica Ladlee


CSEA Village of Southampton Unit
members at Coopers Beach.

CSEA members keep acclaimed beach pristine

SOUTHAMPTON — Because of the hard work and dedication of the CSEA Village of Southampton Unit members, Coopers Beach was recently named the third best beach in the United States by Dr. Beach, a geoscientist, coastal ecologist and author, who has reviewed and evaluated beaches all over the world for 30 years.

CSEA Village of Southampton
Unit President Mauricio Espinoza
prepares to make updates to a
beach shower.

“Ranking that high on the list is a big deal. I couldn’t believe it when I read it online” said CSEA Village of Southampton Unit President Mauricio Espinoza. “It makes us feel great that people can see that we’re doing a good job.”

CSEA Village of Southampton Unit members clean the beach, landscape, maintain plumbing in the buildings and update beach construction, among many other responsibilities.

“We want people to come out and enjoy Coopers Beach,” said Espinoza. “CSEA members are part of the community and it makes us feel good to give back to it.”

— Wendi Bowie



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