Yesterday I drove past a pumpkin patch that had at least 200 large round squashes still remaining. Their lonely abandonment made me a bit sad. Would they ever serve a purpose in this world? Last year the Dallas Arboretum told me they send some of their leftover pumpkins to local zoos. So, I called the Dallas Zoo to get more details on how pumpkins are worked into the animals' diets.
Kerri Slifka is the curator of nutrition at the zoo. She grew up in western Illinois, earned a bachelor's degree in animal science at University of Illinois in Urbana and then went on to get her masters in human nutrition from University of Illinois in Chicago. She moved to Dallas in 2006 and is one of only 15 full-time zoo nutritionist around the country.
(NOTE: Do NOT take your old pumpkins to the zoo. It's not that easy. You wouldn't feed your children food from a stranger. Well, OK, on Halloween you might, but the zoo won't. Which probably reveals something interesting about parenting or zoo keepers, but we're not sure what. )