Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last post for my internship

Hello again,

I've kind of been putting off writing my last post. Between moving back up to Unity and cleaning out my apartment I've been really busy. My last week consisted of working with a group of 2nd-3rd graders learning about forest animals for Zoo camp. Quite a few of them were repeat campers from the beginning of the summer, and then there were a few new kids. I ended up doing a few activities and an animal talk. One of the activities I did was an activity we did at the Project WILD workshop at the school. That activity was Oh Deer! where the kids learn about populations and carrying capacity (but of course they just see it as a game). Then I also taught them about the layers of the trees by showing them tree cookies and just explaining it to them how seasons and disasters can change how the cookies look. Zoo camp consisted of a lot of walks through the Zoo looking for tree/forest animals, that is when it wasn't raining.

My favorite thing that I did this week for camp was my animal talk on the birds of the forest. I brought out the Broad Winged Hawk, Barred Owl, and the Turkey Vulture for the students to see. I think they liked the Turkey Vulture the most being that not many people get to see him out. Of course childish giggles ensued with Turkey because of his constant pooping. It was funny though, one of the kids honestly asked if the Turkey Vulture would be able to pick me up and fly away! I don't know where they get some of these things, even though he is a pretty big bird.

On my last day I was able to go and say goodbye to all of the animals and people I worked with over the summer. I was sad when I had to give over my keys, because that’s when I really knew it was over. I feel like I grew this summer though. I got to experience so many things that I probably would have never done if I hadn't done my internship. I mean how often can you say that you got to walk around the zoo with a bird on your arm, or that you caught a baby Alligator out of a tub. I took it on myself to do tasks the best I could and with the at most care. I was able to work both by myself and in groups, with young groups and mixed age groups. After this summer I can honestly say I feel much better than I used to about giving public presentations. I still get the jitters, but not nearly as bad. And that in itself with help me further my career.

I came into my internship wanting to work with larger exhibit animals, and I'm coming out wanting to work with either Birds of Prey or Snakes in more of the education aspect. Just being able to handle the animals every day and being able to tell people about an animal they normally wouldn't see is just amazing!

Well hopefully everyone enjoyed reading about my adventures at the Salisbury Zoo, and hopefully I will have more experiences to write about next summer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heading towards my last week in the field

This last shift was a good change for me, thus far for the entire summer I have been working in the teenage groups, Second Nature on the other hand has adult groups as well.
the cards have just not landed right in terms of staffing needs for me to get out of the rut that i was in working with the kids. That is in till last week. I was delighted to walk into the office for the start of my last shift to find that not only was i working with the adults, but i was working with two staff members that i had worked with before and had helped me with my leadership development. Needless to say i knew that it was going to be a good week out in the woods.
There are two huge differences between the adult and the teen age groups, for one they are all over eighteen and thus are their on their own accord as they are adults and can sign out when they want to, thus for the most part they are a little bit less of a challenge to work with. The second main difference in the groups is that they are coed, both male and female clients working and interacting together.
Needless to say the group dymanatic was very different. I truly enjoyed my week we hiked a lot around in the field area on the account that the adults do everything a little bit faster then the kids do, and thus we can spend more time doing cool stuff. we got a lot of games and other acavities in over all a very productive week int he woods.
as it was my second to last shift out there this summer one of the senior staff took the time to take me aside and chat with me about my development over the summer and started to ask if i planed to come back, as of right now i told him that it was indeed the plan. That in fact is something that is very new to me, I move around a lot and i like it that way. I have never finished a seasonal job and not wanted to move on to something else new and exciting.
It is a calming feeling to have knowing that I have a solid good paying job in my field waiting for me when i leave college. That sort of thing dosen't come around every day.

As I make my preperations to go back into the woods for my last and final week I find my head spinning with all of the things that i still need to do to make sure all is done in time for my road trip back to maine. The biggest thing that is still left on my plate is wrapping up and putting together my internship project for school, in its current state im sure that it does not make sure to any one but me, that is to say it is scattered in small hunks of research all over my lap top, snagged and saved when i had a few hours here and there over the summer in my off shift and such, i had not realized that I had so much research in till it came time to put it all together and I releaized that it would be way too large of a doccument to be pratical for Second Nature to use. My task in the next two days and one day next week is to dumb it all down and get into one document sounds like fun right!?!?
wish me luck
I will post again next week on my last shift and how this summer has related to my internship goals

cheers all

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One week down, one more to go.

The days are dwindling down to none, it's almost time for to make my yearly drive to Maine. This week I ended up working Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Monday was a a short and easy day. I started off by doing handling for all of the animals, which my buddy Tim helpped me with. It was nice to have my main task of the day be handling. After handling we took the Turkey Vulture roving in the zoo. That bird gets awefully heavy after about 10 minutes! But he was well behaved enough that I could rest my arm on the fence post for a few minutes and Turkey not jump off my glove. My last task was to take out a discovery cart for my last hour. Tim and I took out the Diet and Dentition Cart and set up by the White Tailed Deer, though we really didn't get anyone stopping by. I stayed at the zoo after closing because we were have Brandon's going away party. I was really nice to see everyone from Keepers to Staff to Docents show up to give Brandon a nice shipping off. It was over all successful with the Ed Building being full, many foods being eatten, and many stories being told.

Wednesday I think was my favorite day this week. Over my internship I have gained a love for all of the birds in the Education Department and I love giving Ed talks and presentations with them. Well on that particular morning Kyle and I were scheduled to do a Wildlife Encounter for the Ward museum camp. The best part about it was it was an all bird presentation! I was signed off on more of the birds so I did most of the prestation. We started off with the Broad Winged Hawk, then Kyle presented the Screech Owl, and last we brought out the Turkey Vulture. It was a very hot and humid day but I still enjoyed every moment of it. After the presentation I had a little bit of handling to do then I have Aviary Care. But before I even started Aviary care I gave Turkey bird a chance to run around by the Aviary. I just attached two leashes to Turk and my glove and just let him run around. I was so awesome! Aviary care was aweful, just because of the heat. I gave the birds a nice spray down before I left to cool them off.

Saturday I was literally the only person that could come in, so I was given both all animal care and all of the ed talks. I started off my day by walking Turkey bird again. He hopped around and jumped up on the sandbox, just enjoying the breeze. I then went and started animal care before my Ed talk, which I was only able to get 4 exhibits cleaned. My first ed talk was done with Lucy our Ball Python, we had about 18 people for that one. Soon after the talk I was able to get back to animal care. It took me a little while to get through all 32 some odd tanks in the visitors center. Next I did the Aviary which took me no time. I even took my time and gave the Owls their head scratches. Specs is getting to the point where she really trust me and will bow down for head scratches. Turkey was my next ed talk at 2, which we had twice as many people show up for. He decided he wanted to kick at the glove most of the presentation so he could get a little more streaching room, which also met that I was getting beat in the head by his wings. All 6 feet of his wingspan. Lastly I did animal care in the Ed building. I came to realize that trying to clean out an Opossums cage while holding said Opossum isn't very easy.

It's kinda sad that my internship is ending, but I still have one week left. I'm going to be doing a few activites for Zoo Camp, including an activity that I did at the Project WILD workshop at the school. In my last entry I'll close out my whole experience and talk about what I have really learned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Missions Complete! (fairly picture heavy)

Oh how everyone loves the corny titles, but I did complete a few things this week. Once again I only worked three days, though in three days i did quite a bit. Monday started off pretty fun, in the since I got signed off on the Turkey Vulture, but it wasn't in the traditional sense. Usually Lara, Leonora, or Brandon comes where ever with you or you bring the animal to them and do your presentation. Well, Lara was busy at the moment and I wanted to do my presentation for her so I could us the Turkey bird for my Ed talk that I had to do in like 20 minutes. Lara looked at me and was like "How confident are you with the information?" and I told her pretty confident. In the end I did my presentation for Lara during my Ed talk. It went surprisingly well, everyone was amazing when Turk showed them his 6 foot wingspan, and then when he decided to jump off my glove when I was walking back to the Aviary. Now mind you, I was holding this bird out on my arm for almost 20 minutes, and he ways a bit more than 4 pounds. 4 pounds get heavier by the minute the more you hold it out.

After my talk I wasted I little time with Brandon and one of the keepers as we played with the barcode scanner Brandon had on his phone. It worked surprisingly well in our gift shop, only failing on one or two items. After a little bit of fun, Brandon and I walked off to the other end of the Zoo to get the boards to prepare for Tuesday night. We ran into the grounds keeper who gave us a ride on the Gator after he talked our ear off for 10 minutes or so. After bringing the board to the other end of the zoo I went on to do my last task of handling animals in the Aviary. I think working with the birds has to be my favorite part of my job.
Tuesday I had to be into work at 5:30 having no clue as to what or where I was going, only that I was suppose to be roving with an animal. Apparently it was an event that goes on all over the eastern shore, and I'm guessing the rest of the US called National Night Out. All we had to do was bring some animals out and have a poster set up. Nicole, one of the docents, and I walked around with the Ball Python and the Red Screech Owl while 3 of the other docents stayed with the board and the Box Turtle. It wasn't as busy as I thought it was going to be. It was funny seeing all of the big burly Cops and Fire Fighters kind of back away as they saw the Ball Python. We even had one Cop pass by as put his hand on his holster the minute he noticed the Python. Another funny moment was when ever the Screech Owl would see a dog he would stand as talk as he could and scrunch up. It was so cute and funny at the same time.

Around 8pm we started to pack up, getting all the animal settled in their carriers and packing the board up. Brandon stayed the whole time and said that we could just drive through the Zoo. It sucked because I didn't bring my Jeep this day, but instead my moms Cobalt. So we had fun shoving 4 people, 3 animals, and a cart in this itty bitty car. But at the same time it was awesome driving my car through the zoo at night and hearing all of the animals wide awake.

Saturday was another fun day, my main task consisting of handling the animals. I was able to handle the birds, the mammals, some of the turtles, and the animals in the ed building. Which also meant playing with the ferret and "Mr. Man Hands" as I like to call the Opossum. After handling I went roving with Andre and Tim for my last hour. I was very proud of myself when I took the Turkey Vulture on a 15-20 minute walk, with a few stops, around the Zoo. He gets so heavy, but being that I think only 3 people not including myself are signed off on him, he doesn't get out of his mew very much. He rarely ever gets to get walked around the Zoo, so it was almost enrichment for him to be out and about, getting to see the rest of the world around him.

After I took Turkey out, Andre had to do his ed talk, then the three of us went and grabbed an Owl and went for another round around the Zoo. I took the Barred Owl, Tim took the Red Screech Owl, and Andre took the Great Horned Owl. All of the birds were very well behaved and attracted a lot of people. On our last round we took out the Bearded Dragon, Box Turtle, and Corn Snake. Roving has to be my second favorite thing to do, because not only are you enriching the animal by giving it fresh air and a change of scenery but your able to bring an animal out to the public and allow them to get up close.

It's sad that my time at the Salisbury Zoo is coming to a close, two weeks remaining. I have no clue what I'm doing this week, but my last week I'm helping Lara with ZooCamp. I'm going to miss all of the animals and all of the people I have met along the way this summer. But learning all the work that people put into bring people and animals together that normally wouldn't be in the same place is a huge pay off this summer. The many reactions I've seem come from people is so rewarding, regardless if it is negative or positive. Who knows, maybe you can change the negative just by educating them.
Now I'm going to leave you with three more pictures from when we went roving with the Owls,
- Heather =)

Monday, August 2, 2010

summer is flying by

I have two shifts left out here with second nature before the Summer is over for me and its a mad dash from st george utah to unity maine in time for school to start.
this last shift was a bit different then all of the others that i have worked thus far for the program.
for the first half of the week i was spending all of my time working in the " front country " this means that while i am a field staff for second nature this week i was an extra hand that went where ever it was needed for any aspect of the company that was not int he field.
I have to admit that at first i thought that this would be a bit of a nightmare, after all i work int he desert for a reason, and thus i really did not want to work in the office.
It turns out that it wasn't really that bad at all, and in fact i got to go back into the field as staff on Saturday due to a sudden increase in students and a decrease in staff that were in the field.
tuesday through saturday i stayed out of trouble.
on tuesday i spent a good part of the day cleaning up after the weekly staff change and inservice meeting, then I got ot unload the truck that was bring in all of the winter jackets for the company ... three months early... when it was a hundred and ten out side... regardless it had to be done, and jackets had to be packed and sorted. after that i spent some time working on the paper work end of my internship project in terms of finishing up my research and starting to produce my final product in the for of a staff resource manual. before i know it, the time had come for me to run out on a transport to the field, this means that the program got a new student and he got escorted to the field by transport staff and introduced to his field staff by us. that basically took up the rest of the day.
weds looked like something that i was more used to. Med visits to the field. I went along with the program nurse to visit some of the clients in the field as her helper in her regular visits to check in on the health of the clients. since medicine is my second passion I was glad to get the chance to tag along even if the only thing i got to do for the day was take vitals. That however is fine with me on the account that the Nurse is good company and I learned a lot about the process. I ended my day by changing a flat tire on one of the work trucks on a very rough 4X4 trail thanks to a sweet nail that had blown it out .
Thursday looked like me spending the morning cleaning stoves and getting them back to working order to send back out into the field. long hard work but it payed off as i was able to get most of them back to working order. Then it was off to order the parts needed to fix the remainder of the stoves and get them in working order. another part of the day was spent chatting with the field directors about the different aspects of their job and learning all about the behind the scenes of aspect of second nature. I finished up the day doing Data entry into excel about training elvals creating a digital data base to replace their paper copies.
Friday was a long day and i spent all of it providing back up support for the field staff, this looks like packing out the food and supplies as well as water into pick up trucks for delivery to the field. I then spent the entire rest of the day delivering said supplies to the eight groups spread over out field area.
Saturday was back into the field for me and while that was a relief it was very good to change things up and see the aspect of the company that gets taken for granted by the field staff
cheers for now