So the weeks are consistently getting busier and busier as summer goes into full swing. I would have thought it would start to slow down with school getting out, but boy was I wrong. Now were to start....
Tuesday my task was to help with aviary care and round one handling with Lara. I was able to meet another one of the new interns, Kyle. So we are now up to me, Kyle, Noelle, Nadia (the other new intern), Mary, and our Americore member Brandon. Me and Kyle went on the rounds of handling, Kyle doing most of it being he had to be caught up to speed. I was able to finish off all of my handling sessions for level ones and twos, now all I have to do to be completely signed off is to do a short presentation of information for each animal to my supervisors. I was able to prep. the bird diets before we went to the aviary. I believe the only got chicks on Tuesday. Before we fed we had to scrub out and refill their water dishes, and then rake out all the poop and food debris. Then after all of that was done we could distribute the food. It was exciting when some of the birds would actually take the food out of your hands. I tried to toss the Red Tailed Hawks chicks to her, but she didn't quite know what to think about me feeding her.
Cleaning out the Fowler's toad tank was my first task on Thursday, fairly simple and straight forward. You just take out the animals, all of the substrate, and furniture which needs to be scrubbed. Then the tank needs to be scrubbed out with bleach outside and thoroughly rinsed. Then you just place new bark in, replace the furniture, and give the toads a new water disk. Viola, you have a happy toad tank! After that short task I bounced between watching presentations and discovery carts, same things I've been doing.
Wednesday was another short day, shadowing our education animal keeper Joy. I watched the basics of what this task would entail. That was everything from filling up water bottles, cleaning out watch dishes, cleaning out poop, and prepping diets for the various animals. I didn't do too much myself, just watched.
And then there was today...truly the more interesting of the week. It started off with CAT training with Lara, CAT being Certified Animal Team. There were only two people who actually had to go through the training, Kyle and I were just along for the ride. The two docents were briefed on animal care, handling, and presentations, stuff interns are just kind of shoved into the first day. After a short presentation we went into the Visitors Center and came into our first snag...the A/C decided to crap out on us, leaving the center around 80-85, which is not good in the least big for chinchillas or any of the mammals. Lara turned the A/C off and then back on in hopes that it would kick back into its cycle.
While we waited for the A/C, the new CAT members worked on handling of the level one animals in both the aviary and visitor center. After handling Lara gave us each two care cards which we had to complete. Care cards are just laminated cards of the fridge that say what needs to be done for the day for that specific animal. I had to work on the White's Tree Frog and the Guinea Pigs. For the frog all I had to do was turn the mulch, change out her water dish, and mist her tank. I was able to give back her favorite dish, which is more of a bowl with the lip curved in. She likes to climb inside and hide under the lip.
Guinea Pigs took a bit more work than the frog. I had to pull out all of the soiled bedding and replace it wish fresh bedding. Then I had to refill their water bottle and refill their food bowl with pellets and a tablespoon of fruits and vegis. They were crying soooooo loud for their food, it was adorable.
The end of the day consisted of me giving my presentation of the Broad winged hawk, which I am now signed off to handle without supervision. Also the heat never went down in the visitor center so we had to move all of the mammals into the break room with the alligator tub. They all look super happy after we got them out of the muggy visitor’s center. Hopefully it will be working by Monday so we can put the mammals back in their normal spots.
My main challenge was memorizing the information for my presentations. Yeah, it's only a short 6-10 minute talk, but I still have about 10-15 more animals to go for levels one and two. That's a lot of stuff to remember!!! But I am learning so many new things about all of the animals it's so worth it. As the days go on I am feeling more comfortable with my tasks and falling into my ruts.
Now it's time for relaxation before a VERY crazy week.