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It's All Happenin' at the Zoo

"Something tells me
it's all happenin' at the zoo.
I do believe it.
I do believe it's true"
- Simon and Garfunkel

Growing up on a farm near Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin provided an excellent learning ground for the future college biology professor, Sister Cecile Boehmer. "I've always been interested in plants and animals,"
S. Cecile said.

A Racine Dominican Sister for the past 63 years, now the retired teacher continues to share her talents in many ways, a favorite being as volunteer for the Racine Zoo. "I enjoy being with the people, and this lets me continue to teach informally while I work in an area I've always loved," she said. For the past 10 years, S. Cecile has volunteered around 18 hours each month answering questions of children and adults and explaining about various animals in the zoo's Discovery Center. She also helps with other zoo events as needed.


In addition, S. Cecile assists older sisters with their physical therapy, drives them to appointments and cares for the aviary at Siena Center, home of the Racine Dominicans. She not only cleans the aviary and cares for the birds, she also tends to the new babies when they hatch. She is the drummer for the sisters' keyboard group and was the drummer for the sisters' orchestra when they had it.

S. Cecile grew up the eldest of seven children. When World War II broke out, taking her father's hired man off to service, Cecile, then about 11 years old, replaced him in doing chores to help her father keep the family's 300 acre farm running. "Each day I'd help with milking 30 cows," she remembered as one of her chores.

After entering the Dominican community, S. Cecile was able to continue her education with a grant to attend St. Catherine College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to study biology. The farm girl from central Wisconsin later went on to earn a master's degree and then a doctorate in Botany.

Today you'll find her still exploring the wonders of nature and sharing her wisdom - just take a little break and go off to visit the zoo.