Friday, August 26, 2011

Massive Storm

The mornings this week were mostly routine again, cleaning either ruffed or ringtail exhibit or cleaning windows, as well as cleaning a couple back holding areas. Then preparing rat and aye-aye enrichment and sometimes doing herps or preparing diets. In the afternoons the bats, rats, and aye-aye are fed, lemur enrichment is done, and sometimes I get to feed the collared lemurs their fruit. On Tuesday and Wednesday the ruffed lemurs outside were starting their new medication so I got to watch the keepers giving the meds to the lemurs. This is done either just squirting it into their mouth or putting it in a piece of banana.

Collared Lemur

Diabetic Ringtail Lemur Rhea

On Sunday the only different things that I did were feeding the islands, both ringtail and ruffed, and watching fossa training.

Monday was a bit of an interesting day as there was a very massive storm the night before. There was a sinkhole washed out in the corner of the black and white ruffed exhibit which caused the exhibit to be unsafe for them so they had to stay in the holding for a few days. The road in front of our building had a lot of mulch washed out onto it so I spend post of the afternoon sweeping that up and putting it back where it belonged. Also today was the first day the new mongoose lemur pair was put back on the exhibit after the switch of pairs.

Damage to black and white ruffed lemur exhibit from storm

Mongoose Lemurs, Edwardo and Selena

Tuesday was a very interesting day. After cleaning the windows and the downstairs mongoose lemur and vasa parrot holding area, the vet came down to get blood from Rhea, our diabetic ringtail lemur. Rhea was in the back holding area by herself and the keepers went in and netted her then held her on top of the barrel for the vet to come in and take blood. After that, Ted, a black and white ruffed lemur had to go up to the vets office and get checked due to problems with his hip. I went too, so that I could watch the procedure. He was put under and then examined. He had a normal check up and the vet was moving around both his hips, and the rest of his rear legs to see if there was something wrong, then several x-rays were taken, blood was also taken. Nothing was found to be wrong with him, though they would have to wait for the blood work results to see if that showed anything, but he was put on some medication for pain. In the afternoon there was an attempt to train the fossa, but they would not come back into their holding area. I then went to rake some on ringtail island, because the island had been flooded and most of it had been underwater from the storm and was now covered in the duckweed that covers the lagoon. Today when I was watching the keepers med the ruffed lemurs, one of the black and whites escaped from its holding area and was loose in the lagoon holding building. After a few minutes of it running back and forth from one end of the building to the other it was caught and put back in its holding area.

On Wednesday the only thing I did that was different was in the afternoon I stripped the rats burrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer 2011 is over!

Hey all!
I can't believe that the summer is over for Incarnation Camp. We spent the last week getting in as much fun as possible with a few special activities. We brought in a group to take everyone scuba diving in the lake, went out to play paint ball, and traveled over to Hammonasset for beach day.
At the end of the week it was time to take camp apart. After taking down tents and moving beds all Friday morning, the kids got to take the afternoon off and get fancy for the last dinner at camp, banquet. After eating a delicious meal (which they didn't have to cook, no cooksite!), we all gathered in the rec hall to watch a slide show of all the pictures we took this session. Once we all had a good laugh at the photos, the real trouble started: the all night dance! The staff took turns supervising and sleeping so as long as the kids wanted to dance, the party would never end. We ended up watching the sun rise on the docks, and getting a couple hours of sleep before the parents came on Sunday to pick everyone up.
I was so sad to see my campers go, we had such an incredible group this summer, and I can't wait to see them again next summer!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Goodbye Upper Delaware!

Well, the summer has finally come to an end and my internship is over! My last week on the river consisted of canoe patrols, power boating with law enforcement, and my goodbye party!

On my last day, two of the law enforcement rangers took me out on the power boat to patrol the river. We didn't really catch anyone doing anything illegal, but we did find a whole watermellon floating along the shore! That evening the interpretive unit had a bbq/goodbye party for me. This summer has been a blast, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. I've gained so much experience from this internship, and it will definitely benefit me in my future career. I couldn't have asked for a better internship or better people to work with!

It's been a great summer!

Friday, August 19, 2011


This was a bit of an interesting week because the USDA inspection wound up happening this week. Sunday through Tuesday the mornings were normal and routine, I cleaned the ruffed exhibit and holding area all three days, cleaned windows, then cleaned another holding area or two. Also in the morning, the aye-aye and giant jumping rat enrichment is given, I do not think I ever explained why these two animals get fed/enriched so many times a day. The rats, it is very easy for them to over groom themselves and each other so we feed them three times a day to try to prevent that. The aye-aye, in the early morning they are given their gruel, then with their second feeding they are given their vegetables, and the third one they are given their fruit. This is done this way because they like the fruit the most and if they were given that with or before the other food they would only eat the fruit and not the other food. Sometimes in the morning I will help with herps, and give the crickets new food. Then tomorrows diets are prepared and that’s the end of the morning. In the afternoon most things are different from day to day, but feeding the bats, and the aye-aye and rats again, as well as preparing lemur enrichment is done every day, most days I also get to hand feed the collared lemurs their fruit.

In the afternoon on Sunday, I went with a keep to the jungle to start laundry and try to find balloons for paper mache, then spent most of the afternoon making paper mache.

Monday was interesting too. In the morning I cleaned the downstairs mongoose lemur holding area with them in it. They were not going on exhibit because they were being moved upstairs and separated. The two mongoose lemurs upstairs were separated as well. They are switching mates in hopes that they will breed. All lemurs were put in separate cages with one empty cage in between them and their new mate. In the afternoon another intern and I stripped one of the herps exhibits.

Tuesday in the morning I cleaned the tenrec’s tank. In the afternoon I helped a keeper to fix fallen shelves and other various tidying up jobs. Then while I was feeding the collared lemurs we learned that USDA was at the gorilla area next to us. Everyone quickly ran around trying to straighten everything up and make sure things were where they were supposed to be. After we did all that we discovered that they were not actually getting to our area until the next day.

Wednesday started off a little bit crazy because we knew that the USDA was going to be there sometime that day and so had to make sure to clean everything very well, including all drains, and make sure all chemicals were put back where they belong after we used them. I started out helping one keeper get down cobwebs from the bird exhibit, but then went to help another keeper clean the giant aye-aye and bat exhibit. After that I neatened up the enrichment hallway a little, and then cleaned two of the upstairs mongoose lemur holdings. Today after the holdings were cleaned, the mongoose lemurs were put into cages right next to each other. In the afternoon I fed the ring tails on the island, watched collared lemur training and fed the red ruffed lemurs outside.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Canoe trip!

Hello everybody!
This past week has been an interesting one. I was out on a five day canoe trip! Along with my co-leader Sihao, I took fourteen campers down the Connecticut River, starting at White River Junction in Vermont, and ending seventy miles downstream on the New Hampshire side. Overall the trip was successful, but for the first three days it rained, and the kids were bummed out. We decided to end day three early and crashed at an unplanned site. Day four started bright and early so we could make up day three's mileage. Thankfully, the wind was with us and it stayed sunny until we reached Brattleboro, Vermont, where we had time to stop for a couple hours and check out the shops. It rained then, but the kids were all inside and I had gone to check on the boats to be sure that everyone's dry bags were closed. After we had all the fun we could in Brattleboro, we paddled on down to our campsite. That night camp called and told us that they couldn't get to the pick up until three in the afternoon, so we got to sleep in for the last day! We took our time on the morning of day five, and made it to the take out spot with time to spare. On the way back down to Connecticut, we indulged in a Pioneer Village trip tradition and stopped at Bub's Barbeque, a tiny spot in Massachusetts. Once we got back to camp we cleaned up and returned all of our gear, then settled in for a good night's sleep.

The best way to end a summer

So as you all well know I have been done with my required hours but that doesn't mean I was fully done with my internship. I still went back for three more days to help out, and in turn got to do some pretty cool things. The first week of August I only went in on the 5th which was cleaning day. I actually spent almost the whole day at Mary-beths. We of course went and did all of the cage cleanings first, with me mostly cleaning out the Red-tailed hawks aviary. To fully clean that aviary it takes at least 45 minutes. Buteos tend to poop on everything... Then it was off to care for the rehab birds. We had a baby Screech owl in the basement that Patricia was caring for as well as a baby Broad winged hawk. Mary-beth showed us how to put on a tail guard. Tail guards are used with rehab birds in order to help protect their tail feathers from becoming damaged during their time in care. Then we went off into the shed to take care of the crazy Red-tailed hawk and Spirit. Spirit takes no time at all, but that Red-tailed... As Jeanne held the bird Mary-beth unbandaged its wing to see how it was healing. She then told me I was going to rebandage the wing. It was pretty cool doing my first bandage job on a live bird. Then after we bandaged the wing she had me change out the tail guard.

Once we were done we put the bird in a cardboard carrier in order to take it out to one of the aviaries. We were switching birds around for observation purposes. The juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk that had the swollen ankle was being put in the shed in a padded carrier until it's ankle healed up and the other bird was being put in the aviary. The other Red-tailed eventually got its bandages removed which is a good sign. Before we put the bird out in the aviary we had to go and take out all of the perches that way the bird couldn't damage it's wing from falling. Our last task was to go and rewrap Kisra's perches. She seems to like them and is often seen on them.

I then went in again on that Wednesday to work with the Fairfield Red-tailed. When I got there Jeanne had me put a leash on Spirit and take him outside while she cleaned his carrier. He was a very good bird for me and just sat there, bobbing his head. It's good to get him outside to get some fresh air and some stimulus. We then went to rewrap the perches in the Red-tailed hawk aviary, in which he had an extra bird in there. We ended up getting a rehab bird from someone that was keeping it in his apartment. For a Red-tailed hawk this bird looks kinda funky, and really shows some signs of being imprinted a bit. Whenever we go in there now we have to completely ignore it so that we're not encouraging its behavior. While in the fixing mode we went and fixed one of Chico's perches. One of them broke so we were just replacing it with a new one. Zip ties are greatly your friend.

After our fixing period Jeanne let me jess up Oscar the Great Horned Owl. Oscar is the easiest to jess up because he just sits there, the hard part is pulling him off the perch and helping him back up when he bates. He's an awesome bird, but likes to be a plan when to go to put him back on your glove. The minute his feet touch your glove he's pushing back off. We kept him out for quite a bit, give him a break from the baby in his aviary. I'm glad I got to handle him before I left. I finished my day with the Red-tailed. She's good about people being around, but acts a little nervous. I was able to walk up to her with the glove on and touch her without her flying off. I was also able to get her to put one foot up on the glove by gently pushing against her, but I couldn't get her to put her other foot up. Though even that is a good start.

Yesterday was my last day at Horizon Wings, and probably the best. We had a bit of light cleaning to do since most of the aviaries were done the day before. I worked on the Red-taileds aviary, doing both the raking and scrubbing. Brenda was back from being in California, so I got to see her one last time. After cleaning the few aviaries we needed too we worked on the rehab shed. We were waiting for a bird that we had to release later in the day so we had a lot of time to kill. Brenda went and worked with Spirit, and I went to work with the Red-tailed hawk. I had to stop earlier than I wanted to because she got up in the corner of her nest box, and I'm a little to short to be reaching for her up there. We hung out to pass time, enjoying the absolutely gorgeous day we were having. Me and Jeanne also took out some birds to handle. She brought out Athena and I got Emyrs. He looked so sleepy the whole time and I was surprised that he didn't doze off.

12:45 came around and Mary-beth and Patricia ran off to pick up our bird. We were releasing a Peregrine Falcon that had been up at Tufts for recovery. It came from Kensington and was seen in Southington. After we acquired the bird we drove up to our release site up at UCONN. When we were in the van Mary-beth informed me that after she wrote down the band number on the bird that she was going to pass him off to me so that I could release him. I was super surprised because I thought she would want to release this one. It was so awesome releasing this bird, who almost flew into Jeanne's head. It flew off over UCONN going southwest-ish and scattered a whole crowd of Starlings. I ended the day with my good buys and final trip to the Dairy barn for ice cream.

I'm going to miss working at Horizon Wings now that it's all said and done. I not only leaving some really awesome people that I met, I leaving a new family. I feel that doing my internship over the summer instead of all in a few weeks I was able to bond with everyone a lot more. They gave me many opportunities to learn new things and strengthen things I already knew. When I left they still had about 12 birds in rehab, most of which should be able to be released soon. Mary-beth and her team does an amazing service for the state of Connecticut and I hope they continue doing such a great job.

Well it's time for me to start packing up my things and getting ready for my journey back up to Maine. For those that have been following along, I hope have inspired you to take part in something like what I have been doing this summer.


*Some of the above pictures have been taken by Brenda Lyons and Jeanne Wadsworth*

Friday, August 12, 2011

week 9 at state capital internship

This was the last week of summer break. Still quite boring but I was in charge of the front desk the 3 days I was there this week. I also worked on making list of different contacts fir legislative issue areas and state departments. This was also my last full week of work. We also went and took pictures for my internship. My boss has been talking to me a lot about campaigns and what they take to be a good one. As well as how different strategies for different candidates.

Different Week

This week pretty much every morning was different because on Monday and Wednesday we had four interns and Tuesday the ruffed exhibit and holding area were not cleaned due to exhibit maintenance which caused the lemurs to stay in the back holding for the day.

Sunday morning was like a usual morning, I cleaned the ringtail exhibit and holding area, then cleaned windows, then cleaned the fossa holding area. After that the morning was different though and I brought branches from a tree that had fallen down to all the indoor exhibits, then cleaned up dirt and ceramic off the boardwalk outside from a potted plant that had fallen over during the storm the previous night. In the afternoon I disinfected extension cords, did more rust painting, prepared the lemur enrichment and fed the collared lemurs.

Monday I did not clean an exhibit in the morning, I just cleaned windows, cleaned the fossa holding area, and cleaned the tenrec tank. Then brought the aye-aye and rats their morning enrichment, and cleaned the windowsills in the upstairs keeper/holding area. In the afternoon I scraped chipping paint for the fossa holding area, cleaned the floor in the upstairs keeper area, then pulled weeds out on ringtail island.

Tuesday I cleaned the ringtail exhibit, then swept and vacuumed the public area, another intern cleaned the ringtail holding area since the ruffs had to stay off exhibit for the day. Then I cleaned the mongoose and vasa parrot holding area. Then prepared part of the aye-aye and rat enrichment, then went to get diets and prepared the dry part of their diets, brought the aye-aye and rats their enrichment, and did herps. In the afternoon I went to go get new crickets, unpacked the crickets, fed the bats and brought rats and aye-aye afternoon enrichment, put new browse branches in indoor exhibits and holding areas. Then pulled more weeds on ringtail island. Last for the day prepared lemur enrichment and brought it to their holding areas.

Wednesday I also did not clean an exhibit. I cleaned the windows, fed the crickets, spot cleaned the tenrec’s tank, and cleaned the fossa holding area. Then I went on a trip with a keeper, we brought the bags of weeds to the compost area, went to get diets, picked up clean laundry from the jungle, and dropped off fecal samples and picked up arthritis medication for saggy, the brown lemur, from the hospital. When we got back we added the dry parts to the diets. In the afternoon, more browse banches were brought to the sick lemurs in holding and to the black and white ruffed lemurs outside. Then with a keeper did cleaning and rearranging in the storage area of the fossa holding building. After that I fed the bats and aye-aye and did lemur enrichment.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cooksites at Pioneer Village

Hey folks! This week I thought I'd tell you all about one of the biggest parts of life at Pioneer Village: cooksite. Every day the campers cook their breakfast and dinner over fires at one of six sites. Each cooksite has a girl's tent group and a boys tent group, and they rotate pairings and sites every week. In order for cooksite to run, you need two fires, one to cook on, and one to heat water for cleaning. One person from each tent is designated "fire starter" each day, and they go to cooksite fifteen minutes before everyone else to light a fire in the pit. There are also two cooks each day, but everyone else has to collect firewood or kindling. Once the meal is ready, we call everyone back and eat! Clean up includes washing and disinfecting dishes, scrubbing pots and pans, disinfecting the table, covering the wood pile, and putting out both fires.


This week was a short week for me because I had to call in sick on Wednesday. Other then that the week again went pretty routinely, especially in the mornings. This week I cleaned the ruffed exhibit all three days of my working and foamed it on Monday, we normally foam the exhibits, Monday, Wednesday Friday, and back holdings get foamed everyday. I cleaned the ruffed holding area, another holding area, either the fossa or the upstairs or downstairs mongoose lemur. After the holdings are done morning enrichment is done for the aye-aye and giant jumping rats, then herps gets done, then diets get done, and that is usually it for the morning. After lunch tends to be different everyday since the only things that get done everyday are feeding the aye-aye their fruit, feeding the bats, preparing lemur enrichment and hand feeding the collared lemurs their fruit.

On Sunday I went with a keeper to get our snakes back that were removed from their exhibit last week for maintenance, then I washed some dishes and spent the rest of the afternoon painting rusted areas in the upstairs holding area with rust preventing paint.

Monday I did extra stuff in the morning, I cleaned out the tenrec’s tank and I helped to clean the cricket tanks. In the afternoon I did more rust preventing painting, this time in the downstairs holding areas, and then cleaned the floor in the keeper area upstairs. This was done the same way as cleaning the holding areas, with hosing down, then foaming, then scrubbing, then hosing again, the squeegeeing.

On Tuesday, in the morning when I cleaned the downstairs mongoose lemur holding area I also cleaned the vasa parrot holding area, this was a little bit different because the parrots are in there and I have to be careful not to let them out. I also went out to meet a keeper in the outside red ruffed lemur exhibit to feed the ibis that are also out there, they got pinkies, some of which I tossed to one bird and then the keeper put the rest up in the nest while I held the ladder. The ruffs were also fed while I was out there. Then another intern and I stripped the aye-aye holding area. Then I watched collared lemur training and that was the end of the morning. Not really sure how so much got done that morning. In the afternoon I helped put the new crickets in their tanks, watched ringtail lemur injection training, cleaned the upstairs keeper area again and cleaned crates that had been used.

Hi-Fi Kill and Picnic Dam Waterhole Count

Quite a lot took place last week here at CCF. Early in the week, as I was walking to the main center in the morning from Lightfoot Camp (where I stay half the time here), I discovered an oryx that had been killed by some predator, most likely a cheetah. The animal was chased into the Eland cheetah pen fence where it was caught, killed, and eaten. It slightly bent the fence, and the horns of the oryx were caught in the electrical part of the fence, so I had to move it. The four girls in the Eland pen appeared to have been standing right there since the kill, wishing they could have gotten to it. Poor girls were so close yet so far away to a wonderful fresh oryx! I assume they heard the kill happening and investigated, resulting in having to stand and watch as a wonderful meal was consumed without getting the opportunity to take part. Because of this, I found our lead keeper Juliette, informed her and we went and removed the kill. Later on, we checked the camera trap in that area and sure enough Hi-Fi (the cheetah I have been tracking) was around with a bloody face and huge belly. I’ve never seen a wild kill before, so this was very exciting.

Last weekend we had our annual waterhole count of all the 25 waterholes on CCF property. There were 50 volunteers here to count so it was a very busy and active weekend. I was fortunate enough to be placed at Picnic Dam, which is the waterhole closest to the the Waterburg Plateau and deepest in the Rhino Reserve. Rhinos, leopards, and a variety of other carnivores are spotted here, so I knew we were going to have the chance to see some rare sights. Sure enough at around 11 am, a black rhino shows up. Very few people here at CCF have seen one of our 6 or so rhinos so we were very lucky to get the sighting. And to make things even better, at about 4:45 pm, and huge male leopard shows up. Both of these guys walk around the dam (what they call ponds here in Namibia), and spend quite some time right next to the hide only about 50 feet away, so we got some great photo opportunities. Earlier during the count and African Hawk lands on a tree right next to the hide with a kill, which was really neat as well. We got some great photos of that as well. I’ve posted pictures below of all these sightings. All in all, I saw less animals at this count than at the other counts I have done, but the animals we saw here were much cooler so this was by far the best waterhole count of the summer.

My time is coming to a close here at CCF with only about a week and a half left. I’m looking forward to being back in the States, but I’m dreading leaving the things I have come to love here at CCF. It’s been a great experience, but I do have a bit of time left. There will only be a couple of updates to come until I’ll be signing off for good, but no need to worry about that just yet. I’m open to any questions and comments. Any pictures I mentioned in this post can be viewed at my blog Until next time….

- Eli

week 8 state capital internship

This week was much more productive then the last two weeks. I did some basic office stuff, as well as updating a list with contacts for different departments in the state. The really fun thing I was able to do, is I am doing what is called a white paper. Pretty much I am making a fact sheet for the assembly member on a wind turbine project proposed for the district. I’m excited to have the wind turbines come up into northern California finally.

The flower is just my desk decoration, but it was grown locally. :)


Thursday, August 4, 2011

PFD's Please!!

The past 2 weeks have been filled with river clean-ups, programs, and drownings. That's right...drownings. It's sad to say, but this past week we had 2 drownings because people decided to swim without lifejackets. I wish people would realize how fast things can happen, and how much control the river actually has. Law enforcement has been busy, that’s for sure.

As far as interpretation goes, I gave my last 2 river readings and they both went well. I also went on 2 river clean-ups, where a few of the interp staff go out with volunteers (generally high school kids) and canoe the river while picking up trash along the way. Let’s just say you can find some pretty interesting things on these trips. From slushy machines to propane tanks, people find it all. I found 5 different sandals, a baseball, sunglasses, beer, water bottles, a snorkel, goggles, and a big wooden boat seat…not to mention lots of normal trash like cans, plastic bags, and other litter. These trips are a good way to help clean up the river, and have fun too! Oh, and find treasure!

It’s hard to believe I only have 1 more week left here on the river, but it’s been a blast!

Until my last blog,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hours complete, but the internship rolls on

I have completed my required 180 hours as of this week, though I'm still working when ever there are things to do. Monday was our last Starbase program out of three, with all of the same birds. This time though I was first up on the line up and presented Kisra, and then later on the environment. The more and more I hear the information about these birds the easier it is to kind of do their part on a whim. I got a little tongue tide but other than that I felt I did pretty well. It's sad that this was the last time we were presenting there this year, they were a really good crowd.

Wednesday was a tough group, an extremely varied group as far as age goes. We were presenting at a summer camp in New London full of kids from probably kindergarten to 3rd grade. Needless to say some of them did not have the longest attention span. It went alright though, we pushed thru it. I presented Chico at this presentation and he started it off real well by projectile pooping on one of our signs. So now our sign has a nice ole' stain on it.

Friday was cleaning days, in which I ended up an hour late being my alarm never went off. I still cleaned out Silo and the Red tailed hawks while I was there and helped feed the birds. Due to the chance of rain coming we stacked up wood that had just been painted for usage on some aviaries. That only took a few minutes. In between Wednesday and Friday we had been inundated with birds in rehab. We had gotten in another baby Broad winged hawk (we already had one from earlier in the week), a baby Screech owl, and a Cooper's hawk. Two of the other birds that we had gotten had to be put down due to their injuries. The Cooper's hawk unfortunately died that day after we were done cleaning. After all of our work was done we watched the video from when Jeanne and Mary-beth took Kisra and Beamer to a TV program. It went really well and it was nice to see the other people that was on the show too.

Sunday was a simple meet and greet at the Ashford farmers market. Mary-beth and Jeanne were up in Maine visiting Hope, so this program was all me and Alan. I held Herc most of the time and held Dakota for a little bit too. We got a lot more donations than we thought we were, which was awesome. Being that we aren't funding by anyone donations are very important. It's amazing how much it cost to keep one bird a year. My favorite part of the whole thing was when we had a group come up to our table that had found a bird. They had found a baby Screech owl at the beginning of the summer, the one I was having to weigh every week, and had another rehabilitator bring it out to us. They told us all about how they found us and wanted to know how it was doing. It was nice to be able to reconnect with them, and let them know how the bird should be released here soon. When we got back I unjessed Herc and Dakota and then we checked the baby Red tailed. His right foot was pretty swollen, but upon examination we couldn't see any abrasions. I'm pretty curious to see what Mary-beth says when she gets back.

Since I don't think I'll be working too many more days here at Horizon Wings I'm just going to do one more entree in this blog. It won't be for another two weeks, but it will be my closing entree.
Till then,