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Archive for July, 2011

Mary Meier, Education Assistant at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden, received a hand delivered surprise from the Galapagos on Friday, July 8. While touring the Galapagos just days before, Steve Bohleber, a local attorney, Evansville Parks Board President, and Zoo Docent paid a visit to Post Office Bay on the island of Floreana. While there, Bohleber was searching through the many postcards left for friends and family by travelers at Post Office Bay. Knowing Bohleber was from Indiana, a fellow tourist asked what city he was from. When Bohleber told him he was from Evansville, the other tourist handed him a postcard. Not only was this postcard for Meier, someone Bohleber knew quite well, it was also written by another person associated with the Zoo. Morgan Hirsch, a volunteer in the ZooTeen program, coordinated by Meier, sent the postcard while traveling with his family the prior week. Delighted by the find, Bohleber carried the postcard back from the Galapagos and surprised Meier and Hirsch by the speedy delivery service. Meier said she was very touched to know that one of her ZooTeens was thinking of her while he was on vacation.

Over 200 years ago, a barrel was placed above the beach of what later became known as Post Office Bay. In the early days, whalers and sailors in that area of the Pacific put out a barrel to be used as a post office box by passing travelers. This custom allowed sailors to not only communicate with each other as their travels took them near the Galapagos, but also allowed for communication with loved ones back home, as sailors were encouraged to search the letters and deliver them to the recipients if their travels took them close by. Today, visitors are encouraged to leave postcards and search for those close to their homes and personally deliver them, in much the same way that the whalers did hundreds of years ago. Native Ecuadorians joke that this system is more reliable and faster than the country’s postal service. Over 90% of the cards are delivered, sooner or later.

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