Associate Life

Robert Cobbs

Zoo

July 23, 2012 4:51 PM | Permalink | Print

One Friday, WilmerHale arranged for the summer associates to take the morning off lawyering and volunteer instead at the National Zoo. We arrived early in the morning to help out with weeding, mulching, watering and other housekeeping tasks that needed doing. I was assigned to the red panda habitat for gardening duty.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the red panda, but it’s always been one of my favorite critters. To my mind, it beats the giant panda hands-down in terms of cuteness. The yard hadn’t been cleaned out in a while—the female red panda was pregnant and not-to-be-disturbed—but she was finally ready to give birth and out of the habitat for a few moments. The keepers had rounded up the male panda and placed him in a cool, air-conditioned holding pen (red pandas are Himalayan and need to stay cool). He looked on nervously as we cleaned out five or six enormous bags of weeds and lay down a dozen bags of fresh mulch.

Despite the astonishing heat (105!), I really enjoyed myself—it’s been years since I’ve done any gardening more challenging than watering a potted plant. And once we were done gardening, we toured around the zoo, which is easily one of my favorite places in the city. I paid a visit to the Przewalski’s horse, the prairie dogs, the lions and the triceratops (statue), then walked back to my apartment for an afternoon of work-from-home. It was a lovely way to end the week.