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Students Shovel Sand for Polar Bear

Students from Tacoma School District’s Science and Math Institute (SAMI) recently helped shovel a truckload of sand into Blizzard the polar bear’s habitat.

“The sand cools off Blizzard in the hot summer weather and is soft on his feet, too,” said Assistant Curator Sheriden. “Blizzard loves having fresh sand every year and we really appreciate the students coming out to help with this important task.”

It took many buckets and rakes and a whole lot of teamwork to shovel the heavy sand throughout different areas of Blizzard’s habitat.

students shoveling sand into buckets
Students from Tacoma School District’s Science and Math Institute shoveling sand.

“This is one of my favorite volunteer opportunities,” said junior Bekkah Nelson. “It’s nice to know we’re benefiting the polar bear and it’s fun to see the behind-the-scenes areas where the polar bear lives.”

After all the shoveling wrapped up, students watched as Blizzard explored his fresh sand, sniffing it as he walked about.

Blizzard the polar bear sniffs new sand in his exhibit
Blizzard sniffs the fresh sand in his exhibit.

This is the third year SAMI students have used their annual service day to add sand to Blizzard’s habitat.

“It’s one of the most popular experiences among the students,” said computer science teacher Troy Hashagen. “Our mission at SAMI is to give back to our community, and with our classrooms just steps away from the animals, this seemed like the perfect fit.”

Students dump sand into Blizzard the polar bear's exhibitSAMI students also teamed up to do trail cleanup, beach cleanup and bamboo trimming throughout Point Defiance Park. SAMI is a specialized Tacoma public high school with classrooms situated within the Zoo and Point Defiance Park.

students raking sand in Blizzard the polar bear's exhibit