News Release

For Junior Maggie Gibbons Life's a Zoo

By Emily Gruber on
Monday, August 8, 2016

Maggie GibbonsWritten by Junior Emily Gruber, communication major and communications assistant in University Relations.

“Life’s a zoo, so I might as well work at one” - Maggie Gibbons

One way to describe junior Maggie Gibbons, Cohasset, Minn., is busy.  She’s a full-time student, a part of the Study Abroad Club, the Hospitality Association, and she is a student manager at the Evergreen Grill at the University of Minnesota Crookston.  The one thing Gibbons is never too busy for is her passion for animals.    

The wildlife management and biology double major has been put her passion to use while interning for the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota.  Her area of focus has been the World of Birds Show working with raptors and other exotic bird species.  She assists in cleaning, diet preparations, bird training, and works the shows. 

Gibbons chose her majors because she loved animals and science so she felt that combining the majors was the best of both worlds.  She has been enjoying her classes at the U of M Crookston and the teachers that have helped her during her studies.  “My teachers are all so passionate about their jobs and are willing to put their students first,” Maggie says.  When asked if a certain teacher stood out to her, she responded that they were all great, and she couldn’t pick just one.

Her favorite part of her internship has been handling their Red-tailed Hawk, Baron.  “He’s such a beautiful bird and I love being able to get an up close look at him,” she says. Gibbons finds the reactions of the crowds at the shows to be memorable.  The look on their faces when they watch hawks, falcons, owls, and many more birds fly over their heads stands out to Maggie.  She also enjoys working with the zoo’s 37-year-old African Grey Parrot, Alex.  She describes him as “super chill.”

Gibbons knew she wanted this internship because of her desire to work with animals.  Of course she likes working with dogs and cats, but the wild species were especially interesting to her.  She loved the idea of working at the Minnesota Zoo because of its prestigious status in Minnesota.  The Bird Show intrigued her because of the thought that trainers would be able to build a special bond with their birds and “handle them in a way no other zoo keeper could.”

Gibbons hopes someday she will be working in a zoo or sanctuary.  Her internship helped her make that decision.  She wants to help animals that are unable to make it on their own in the wild.  She feels she can contribute to a positive future for zoos and the animals living there.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 39 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit


Elizabeth Tollefson

University Relations