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|November 20, 2012 - Laurie Macha|
Today I was fortunate to be assigned to work in the chick rearing unit (CRU). First of all I was blown away by the intensity of the day. I worked with a very nice and patient volunteer today as I had no experience in this area at SANCCOB before.
I quickly found out that the basic procedures are a bit different than working in the other part of the center. The day started out by learning how to enter the area. Sounds simple just open the door and come in right? Well there is a need to really isolate the working clothes and shoes from the rest of the center and the CRU. This is to protect the chicks from anything the other bigger and health compromised birds may carry. The little chicks are very vulnerable at this age and must be protected as much as possible. Once I learned this task it was off and running the rest of the day. I helped move some of the chicks to the nebulizer and spent the rest of the day doing laundry, cleaning feeding tubes and syringes, filling tubes with water and formula, scrubbing feeding dishes, and cleaning up the chick area. It was a lot to learn but still kept a quick pace. I must have done 50 loads of laundry - just kidding......But these little ones are messy and it's so important to keep their areas clean.
Another exciting part of my day included making chick formula. I'm used to making quarter batches when we have chicks at Mystic Aquarium but today I made four full batches for all the hungry little ones. I am so amazed at how much work and dedication of all the staff, interns and volunteers. I am so fortunate to be part of this wonderful organization.
Another highlight was to be able to participate with a South African media group doing a story on the plight of the African penguin. I worked with the anchorwoman on making chick formula. We had a blast together as we both learned how to make the formula at the same time. We talked a bit about the threats to the African penguins and why I was at SANCCOB. We talked about how Americans really care about the declining population and how I will bring my direct experiences to everyone at home to inspire people to help protect them. Her role is to help make South Africans aware as well—not everyone understands how grim the future of this beautiful bird is. We have a lot in common with our roles and goals. I found that and the end of the day I was tired.
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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