Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Love Our Volunteers!

From the desk of Vicki Churchman, Member and Volunteer Services Manager

It is Saturday at the Flint RiverQuarium, one of our busiest days. Wonder what the volunteers are up to?

Let’s check in with animal husbandry first. Cara is cutting up silversides and thawing out krill for the animals in food prep. There are also veggies to prep for the reptiles and crickets for the salamanders. Once Cara has thawed and cut the food she will begin working her way through the aquarium feeding each of the tanks their specialized diet.

Christina is helping with aviary husbandry prepping berries and fish for the birds. The birds get picky and sometimes don’t like the fish that are served to them. Some of the birds will actually toss the disliked fish to the side! But they all LOVE the meal worms!

Austin is probably just arriving in the aviary to help with the doors and visit with the guests about the birds. Austin has recently started in the Aviary, but he is interested in animal husbandry as well and will eventually be trained in caring for the birds.

Since it is Saturday morning, we are fortunate to have two exhibit explainers here. Matthew and Morgan have been learning about the exhibits and animals so that they can interpret the exhibits for guests and answer questions. Personally, I think this is one of the most enjoyable volunteer assignments. You get to meet lots of different people and learn fun facts about the animals. Today Morgan and Matthew might meet a young family visiting from Tifton, Columbus, or even another country.  

Courtney should be in the gift shop for the morning helping our guests purchase items and restocking. There is a birthday party this morning and everyone attending the party will get a coupon for a special discount in the gift shop. There are plush albino alligators, aquatic themed toys and wonderful children’s animal books to choose from. She will also go over to the theater frequently to help with concession purchases while the Theater staff is starting the movie.

Around Ian and Patrick should be heading in. They’ll find our turtle costume and spend a few hours entertaining our youngest visitors. Most children love to see Flint come for a visit, but occasionally some of the smallest children are a little frightened.

At two of our volunteer divers will come in and dive into the Blue Hole! At 175,000 gallons, the Blue Hole tank is our largest tank and is filled with 30 to 40 pound fish: bass, catfish and sturgeon. This fish know the divers are there to feed them and have even been known to snatch a bag of food from the divers! Our guests really enjoy seeing the divers interact with the fish, each other and even the guests.


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