Welcome to our new Rescue Department Field Volunteers!!!

Hi all,

What an exciting day of learning and community spirit! The Rescue Department staff recently completed the last field volunteer training for 2010. We had a full house for this training event, which was a lot of fun and a tremendous success!

The group of trainees included local citizens from all walks of life. In common is their desire to become involved in the Aquarium's efforts to respond to marine animals in distress and to collect important data from animals found deceased on our beaches.

In the photo below, long time Rescue Department volunteers, Charles and Sarah, staff the registration table for the training workshop.

In the photos below our workshop participants listen to Anthony, from the Aquarium's volunteer office, welcome them to our organization. Each participant was given a packet of materials they will need for their field work and to become familiar with the Aquarium's policies.

The workshop lasted nearly a full day and included a lot of detailed information. We made it as fun as possible for the participants and they responded with their own good cheer. They all came prepared to learn, to participate in the activities and truly seemed to be enjoying themselves.

One of the first orders of business was to teach our new responders how to identify the different species of pinnipeds (seals), cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), and sea turtles. In the photo below Ulrika reviews common field markings to help them identify the animals they will soon begin working with in the field.

In the photo below Kerry takes the group through a series of slides teaching them the basics of performing a visual health assessment on stranded and or resting seals.

After this part of the workshop, the participants are broken into groups to review photo cards we prepared. Their job is to work as a team and determine the species and the health indicator they see in each photo. I always enjoy this part the most. Usually field response draws caring and active people, people like us who want to have a positive impact on the ocean and the animals that live in and around it. We generally see an instant bond between the participants and this workshop was no different. People who had never met were working together, and having a lot of laughs doing it, all to learn this new information. It was fun to watch and be a part of.

In the photos below the new volunteers work together to determine species and health conditions of the animal on each photo card. Note: The giant penguin in the center photo was not a participant, just a silent observer and permanent resident of our lecture center. I love that it looks like the penguin is looking at the photo cards along with the group!

In addition to the photo cards, our new volunteers were challenged throughout the presentations to test their new skill set. In the photo below, a small group works together to identify the species in the photos and to correctly assess all the positive and or concerning health issues they see.

In addition to the species identification, health assessment per species, general Rescue Department information, tips for how to communicate this information to the general public on the beach, and safety concerns... they also learned how to collect important life history data from any dead animals found on the beach.

In the photo below, Adam reviews one of many important measurements that need to be collected from deceased animals. Most of the data collection is instituted by the NOAA Fisheries and is collected in the same manner across the National Stranding Network.

We covered a lot of information during this long workshop. They won't be expected to remember everything they learned for immediate solo application. They will be working in pairs as often as possible, usually being paired up with a long term field volunteer so they can learn from each other. In addition and most importantly, they will be in constant communication with Rescue Staff members who will be responsible for determining the best course of action in each case.

This was a great day for all who participated, including all of us in the Rescue Department. I may have enjoyed this day more then anyone. I am always touched by people who are active in their community and pursue their interests. Everyone who participated in this workshop did so to become involved in something they care about and to make a difference. They gave us their undivided attention, participated actively and kept their humor throughout the day. We enjoyed a lot of laughter throughout the day, which set the stage for a fun day of learning. We would like to officially welcome all our new field volunteers to the Rescue Department! GO TEAM!

- Connie

Facebook Comments


Post a Comment