From websites to owl flying, Basin Electric employee does it all at Dakota Zoo

Kyle Pearson with owl

Kyle Pearson has done many exciting things during his 13 years volunteering at the Dakota Zoo, including helping with the rehabilitation of an injured great horned owl.

Spring is finally here after a long, cold winter. This weekend, one of the first warm ones of the year, families were making up for lost time, spending time outdoors and living out their spring fever fantasies.

One popular activity was Breakfast at the Zoo, a fundraising event at Dakota Zoo in Bismarck, North Dakota, where hundreds of animal lovers gather to eat breakfast and visit the animals at one of their most active times of the day. This year’s first breakfast event was the biggest one the zoo had ever seen, and a Basin Electric employee was there helping make it all happen.

Kyle Pearson, Basin Electric desktop application analyst III, has been volunteering at the zoo for about 13 years, mostly maintaining its website, but also helping with its special events, such as Breakfast at the Zoo, where he helps with whatever needs to be done, from making juice to emptying trash cans. Some other volunteer activities include selling zoo memberships and concessions, or even cleaning the animals’ pens.

Pearson says he spends hundreds of hours every year volunteering there, often taking vacation to help out when he is needed. While he knows for sure that making cotton candy is his least favorite activity, he says he’s not as sure which one he likes best.

“Through the years I have done some exciting things, like bottle feeding a baby moose and helping pull an antelope calf after a visitor reported the mother was giving birth,” he says. “I have also helped with an educational program called Animal Close-Ups, where visitors are able to get up close and personal with the animals.”

One of these encounters involved a great horned owl named Hootie that was shot and suffered a broken wing. With Pearson’s help, visitors were able to get close enough to touch the owl, and watch while he helped with one of its rehabilitation exercises – flying on a leash. Because Hootie is at risk of re-injuring its wing, the owl will not be able to be released into the wild, so the Dakota Zoo is now its forever home.

Pearson says he began volunteering at the zoo because he loves animals and because several other Basin Electric employees who volunteered there, including Sandy Bieber, Basin Electric senior business intelligence architect, encouraged him to do so. “The zoo is self-funded so volunteers help to keep the cost down, and it’s nice to know I’m doing my part to help out,” he says. “And, it’s great place for families to have fun and spend quality time together.”


  1. Thanks for all you do, Kyle!

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