For some of our young volunteers, working with the Animal Department is a great way to get experience for the future. That’s because some of our kids come to us with great enthusiasm and love for animals and hope to one day be a Veterinarian or maybe even an Animal Keeper like us. One of our volunteers, Sarah (pictured above), enjoys weighing our smaller animals and reptiles to get experience in the field of veterinary care… and we are happy to oblige as she is an outstanding volunteer! In the above picture, she is weighing our Mud Turtle. Allowing our volunteers to do such tasks is a way for us to teach them about proper handling techniques and also gives them the chance to do something different. Sarah had weighed our snakes before, but this was the first time she had ever weighed our turtles. She seemed to really enjoy it!
There are other tasks we give to our young volunteers that allow them to have fun and sometimes get messy. Let’s face it, being an animal keeper is a dirty job, and our volunteers get just as dirty as we do! For instance, making paper mache balloons can be pretty messy, and just the sort of task that we give to our kids so they can have fun with it. We make paper mache balloons to use as enrichment for our animals; once you cut out the balloon, you are left with the perfect toy to put a treat into and watch the animals try and get it out. Our opossums even like to crawl into them and sleep. Below is a picture of four volunteers working together to make the balloons. Looking at all the flour paste on their hands, they were definitely getting into it!