MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Yvette Jones is Zoo Miami’s composting operations manager. She is one of approximately 500 employees and has a pretty unique role. Jones is a valued employee, who is respected and admired by her colleagues. She gave us a glimpse into her job and what makes her love working at Zoo Miami.
What is it that you do, tell us about a typical day?
“I’ve been working at the zoo for 13 years and seven months. At Zoo Miami we don’t have a typical day. You might lay plans out, then you come in the morning and a tree fell on a paddock or a tree fell on the fence. Every day is something different. Typically, the guys will mow, they will trim trees to feed the animals, we need mulch just to make the place continue looking as aesthetic as it is.”
“All the trees we planted at the zoo we tried to plant with the animals in mind. It’s important because it’s all about sustainability, conservation, and making sure they have everything that they need. What people don’t realize is that we have over 1,300 species of plants here at Zoo Miami, so we are truly a botanical garden.”
“ I would love to educate people on the benefits of using compost. It’s good for the plants, the soil, the environment, that we reuse everything.”
Jones describes what she does as compost manager, making a product called Zoo Doo:
“We use the big poopers, which are the bantengs, rhinos, elephants, and gaurs. We use their poop, we mix it with all the tree cuttings and we make an awesome product called Zoo Doo. It is very good for all your trees, the lawn, and everything.
“Ever since we’ve started selling to the public people have been swearing by it. I have clients that come in and tell me that they saw some seeds last week and then this week the seeds are big, it’s awesome. Where else can you get elephant poop to put in your yard?”
She had a very tough time two years ago, facing a serious health problem:
“In 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That same year I had surgery. I went through my radiation and every day for the next 10 years I’m taking a chemo tablet. I have to take a chemo tablet every day for 10 years.”
Being able to come to work lifted her up in this difficult time, demonstrating to her coworkers her incredible spirit:
“I just wanted to get back out here to feel the love and the support of all my colleagues. I just wanted to hit the road running. I’m not afraid of doing anything! I drive trucks, I drive backhoes, forklifts too. I just love to be in the middle of everything and I love to inspire people and I love to see things get done.”
“Sometimes you have to lead from in front. So I come in and I say ‘well if I can do it you can do it’!”
For more information on Zoo Miami please visit their website at zoomiami.org.