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A Day in the Life of Staci, a Mammalogy Volunteer

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Volunteering

Friday, August 17, 2007

Staci

My name is Staci, and I’ve been a mammalogy volunteer since September of 2006. Marine mammals have always been my favorite animals, so you can imagine what a thrill it is for me to be able to work with them on a weekly basis! It’s a lot more work than you may think, but it’s definitely worth it. In my blog I will be talking about my experiences in mammalogy, as well as relevant conservation issues involving our amazing marine friends.

A typical day starts bright and early at 7:30 a.m. with our morning meeting. During this meeting, we discuss any new developments regarding any of the animals (medications, changes in behavior, etc.) and who will be covering the feeding/training sessions throughout the day. After the meeting, it’s off to the food preparation room to get our restaurant quality seafood sorted and ready for the day. Each animal gets a specific amount of food three to four times a day, so all of the food has to be examined for quality and weighed out into buckets. We also get their vitamins ready—the seals and sea lions swallow their food whole so we just put the vitamins in their fish. Sea otters, on the other hand, chew their food so we have to be a little sneaky with their vitamins—we put shrimp, clam, or squid in a blender and make them a nice smoothie. Then we grind up the vitamins and stir them right in! The rest of the day is spent doing a variety of duties such as cleaning the exhibits, making treats for the animals, scrubbing buckets, and cleaning the food prep room and utensils. I also get to help feed and maintain behaviors with the animals and assist in behavioral enrichment, observations, and special projects as needed.

I volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific for many reasons, but my huge affinity for marine mammals is at the top of the list! It’s a wonderful way to gain experience in the field, and I love learning from the dedicated husbandry staff here at the Aquarium. I also believe that having these magnificent animals on display for the public to see will help us to educate our visitors about the animals themselves, as well as the challenges these creatures face in their natural environment. I’m very passionate about conservation and doing everything we can to protect our environment, and hopefully the more people understand and appreciate our animals, the more eager they will be to get on board with our mission.

A Day in the Life of Staci, a Mammalogy Volunteer
Ellie is one of our harbor seals.  | © Staci Peters

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Alexi

Friday, August 17, 2007 07:06 PM

Hey Staci! Your job does sound rewarding. Those seals and sea lions and otters sound like they get their vitamins a lot more regularly than I do! Thanks for taking such good care of them.

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Elasmo

Sunday, August 19, 2007 04:05 PM

Staci you ROCK!!! What a cool job. Do you ever dive with the seal, sea lions or otters?

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Kerry

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 02:23 PM

Just wanted to say how cool it is that all of you do what you do!  A blog is such a great addition to the site—I know a lot of people will really enjoy seeing pictures of you guys with the animals along with reading about your daily activities and thoughts down there at the aquarium :)

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Staci

Thursday, August 23, 2007 08:19 PM

Hi, Alexi!  I’m still trying to figure out a way to get my vitamins every day, too, so I understand how you feel.  At least we know our animals are covered, huh?  Being able to help out in the care of these animals is such a privilege, as is learning from our dedicated husbandry staff!  Thank you for your comment!

Elasmo, hello!  Thank you for the great question!  I don’t actually do any diving in any of the exhibits, as we have a mighty army of dive volunteers willing to take on that task.  The dive volunteers go in weekly to scrub algae, clean windows (underwater), and vacuum.  We do get into wetsuits and go into the pinniped exhibit to clean the windows so the presentations can be seen clearly, but as far as actually gearing up and diving in the exhibits?  We leave that to our dive professionals.

Greetings, Kerry!  Thank you so much for your kind words!  I agree that this is a nice addition to the site, and I’m excited to read about all the experiences of my co-workers.  I’ve honestly never been in a place where everyone is so genuinely enthusiastic about our oceans, and it’s wonderful to see such a desire to share that enthusiasm with others.  Hope you stop by often and enjoy reading about all the great happenings here at the Aquarium.

All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.

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