Poetry at the El Paso Zoo


Students sit around the animal exhibits and write down adjectives for their poems. The girls were allowed to wear jeans and college sweatshirts of their choice. Photo courtesy of Carolina Fernandez

Ava Bonilla, Loretto News Editor

On March 22, 2023, Loretto seniors in AP Literature and Composition attended a field trip to the El Paso Zoo to write poetry.
The purpose of this field trip, sponsored by Ms. Franco, Loretto’s AP Literature and Composition teacher, was for each student to write ode poems to an animal of their choice.
Ms. Franco said, “Sara Sandoval said, ‘You should take us to the zoo,’ and I had a hard time making it relevant to the lesson, but then I thought, ‘I’m teaching poetry, so we can write poems about animals.’”
The girls walked around in groups, looking at each animal and taking notes about their features in order to create the poems.
Senior Sara Sandoval said, “I have been wanting to go to the zoo since freshman year biology as a class, so I just proposed the idea.”
The poems varied from tigers to orangutans, describing the animal’s features and behaviors.
Senior Eloisa Urrea said, “I loved being able to use my writing skills in this way because I was able to learn more about poetry and had fun while doing it.”
The students then wrote 30-40 stanzas about the animal of their choice and created their odes.
The poems were decorated corresponding to the animal that they chose and then were turned in.
Ms. Franco said, “I loved the poems; they were amazing.”
The girls all had a great time at the zoo trip, and the poems are displayed outside of Ms. Franco’s classroom on the first floor.

Here is one poem, written by Anabella Aguilar:

“Rulers of the Vines: An Orangutan Ode”

Amidst the bustle of the zoo,
 A family of orangutans flew,
 Up, over, and under the installation of vines,
 I could only dream of claiming them as mine. Sumatran and endangered, they were,
 With fur of brownish-red, a hue so pure.
 A mother, carrying her clinging babe,
 And a teenager, playful and unafraid,
 Their human-like characteristics so wondrous to see, As they swung and played, so carefree.

With every climb and every swing,
 Their adventurous spirit took wing,
 The teen teasing the mother with dirt,
 And pulling a blanket, oh, how they flirt!
 The mother, protective, chose to hide, Below a bin, with her baby by her side, Guarding her young, at any cost,
 A bond so strong, not easily lost.
 We watched in awe and admiration,
 As they exhibit some intelligence and fascination. 

Their playful antics and charm,
 An enchantment, so rare and warm, Looking over the animals ahead,
 A sight to behold, no words left unsaid.
 Oh, family of the forest great,
 May your kind never suer fate, Endangered and precious, you are,
 A sight so rare, a rising star.
 To protect and preserve, all that is wild and free, To cherish and respect all of nature’s beauty. 

This trip was a great way for the students to learn outside of the classroom environment.
It remains a mystery if the zoo trip will become a new tradition for Ms. Franco’s AP students.
Be sure to stop by the first floor, outside of Ms. Franco’s classroom, to read the beautiful poems about each animal.