Our handy office shelf broke, so we fixed it!
Our handy office shelf broke, so we fixed it!
Throughout the year, the animal department has groups of people from different places that want to come volunteer their time with us for a few hours… kind of like community service. Often times these groups (usually anywhere from 6 to 20 people) are from various schools or colleges in the area. The group projects may consist of doing anything from mulching the farmyard to cleaning enrichment toys at the bear house. Our most recent group project was based around making enrichment items as opposed to cleaning them. We use paper mache balloons with some of our animals as a way to hide treats. After we put the treats in, the animals must roll the paper mache around or tear it open to the treat. This is our first time ever making paper mache traffic cones, so we’ll see how they turn out!
You may have seen the previous post that Karyn wrote about new flooring being installed on our support hall. Well, this week has been difficult for the keepers because everything is out of place and out of whack. However, even in light of the craziness that we are currently enduring, people are working through it like champs. In fact, we are trying to find amusement in the chaos wherever we can. The fact that we have to crawl through the small viewing windows of our snake cage exhibits just to gain access to an entire hall of animal exhibits is probably one of the most humorous (if you’re watching someone else crawl through) and annoying (if you’re the one doing the crawling) things that we are having to deal with. Here’s some pictures of us having some fun this morning as we work!
Karyn is a wonderful volunteer, although she prefers live in secret.
Karyn does so many different things to help us out. She can do all of the typical volunteer tasks- cleaning in the Farmyard, taking care of the education animals, and preparing diets -and then some. We ( I guess the ’me’ part of ‘we’) often pull her off regular volunteer tasks and have her step in to help out in so many different ways. She’s organized all our enrichment supplies, super cleaned and organized our hay barn in the farmyard, scrubbed out the bear moat, formulated vitamins for the aviary birds, written blog posts, and the list goes on and on.
Her skill, enthusiasm, and commitment to the Museum is stellar. We even hired her for awhile when Kristen was pregnant and reduced her hours. She’s usually in volunteering on Monday and Friday mornings, and when she’s not “working” she comes by just to visit!
Say hi if you see her around, or look for tweets from her- if you want to know more about this let us know in the comment section.
I was shuffling through a bunch of pictures that Katy had taken and I came across these. The picture title was so clever I figured I’d use it as the title of this post!
Yes, that’s right… I said bathing a small car. That’s because our 1,400 pound steer, Max, is almost big enough to be a small car (or at least it seems that way when you have 4 or 5 people scrubbing him down). We give Max pretty regular baths during the warmer months of the year. He really seems to enjoy being bathed and pampered and it also serves as a fun thing for our volunteers to participate in, along with being a big hit for our visitors to watch! During one of our 80 degree days last month, Kent decided to bathe Max with some of our volunteers and interns.
The Animal Support Hall is always full of life. Whether it’s a Sunday morning with one keeper and one volunteer inside or a Thursday right before lunch with eight keepers and five volunteers. Today the hall was used for exercise. Our opossums Sonny and Cher are a bit on the heavy side so we place their daily diet in various places around the hall and let them wander in search of their goodies.
This afternoon while doing snake enrichment, I was practicing using a snake hook with one of our corn snakes. This is what he wanted to do instead.
NOTE: I’m temporarily working part-time in the Animal Department! I love wearing my official purple shirt. You never know what volunteering at the Museum will lead to.
If you think it is hard to figure out what to have for dinner at your house, imagine all the various critters at the Museum who want to eat. Preparing food for all the animals on exhibit and behind-the-scenes is a major task for the keepers and volunteers every day. Kristen recently wrote about the wolves diet, so I’m following up on the food theme and giving you a peak at what goes on in the Animal Department kitchen. I hope you enjoy this photo journal of some of the food preparation tasks for our animals.
I was hoping to write my first Animal Department blog post about volunteering to help clean the bear pool. But, alas, the weather did not cooperate and the bear pool cleaning was postponed. But, I was already at the Museum so I decided to stay and help out with the off-exhibit animals. Maybe you didn’t know that there are many animals who live behind the scenes. These residents are usually used for education purposes (and sometimes they even get to go to birthday parties!)
So, even though I speak fluent chicken with our Silkie chicken, love to hold the soft chinchillas (“Salt” and “Pepper”), and think our new opossum, Jessica, is just cute as beans, today I am going to tell you about my least favorite “inside” animal–Megatron. Megatron is our beautiful hissing Pine Snake (emphasis on the “hissing”). He’s a large snake (I think he’s our largest) and he’s been at the Museum for about 8 years.
Most of the animals around the Museum make quite a mess every day–sometimes many messes every day, like Max (the steer in the Farmyard), or Bugsy the (indoor) rabbit. Not so much the snakes. They don’t eat nearly as often, so you really have to look to see when they leave a “gift” of poop in their habitat. Usually you will smell it before you see it. But when they poop, they can really make a mess.
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and the Animal Department would like to shout a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers who help us to take care of the animals.
We COULD NOT care for our animals as well as we do without them!! Besides the “usual” jobs they do (scooping poop, scrubbing cages, making food, sweeping, mopping, etc), our spectacular volunteers cover a wide range of other tasks large and small. Here’s a sampling of other things they help us with:
-Mowing the lemur yard
-bathing the steer
-applying lotion to turtle shells
-analyzing poop consistency and color
-measuring out dead mice
-stringing cheerios on mop heads for the lemurs
-supervising snakes exercising outside of their cages
-making papier mache fake sheep for the wolves
-dusting shelves and deep cleaning the animal rooms
-walking the donkey
-participating in emergency training
-brushing ferret teeth
-making peanut butter pinecones for the bears
-moving the “furniture” (logs, tree trunks, etc) around yards
-creating enrichment devices
Our volunteers also make us laugh, eat with us, come in early for special projects, educate visitors, and make life here in the animal department much better. We love our volunteers!!!! Thanks everyone!!