Thursday, September 20, 2007
Instead of arriving at the Aquarium at my usual time of 9:30 in the morning I came at 9:00. I had somewhere to be (unfortunately) later on in the day, so I wanted to volunteer as much as possible before I left. Even though I had to wake up a little bit earlier than usual, I still had no problem. It was a neat experience anyway because I got a chance to be a part of the 9:00 update. In updates, there is usually one paid education staff member who takes a group of volunteers and tells them what’s new at the Aquarium. So, for this particular update, one of the education staff members took the volunteers to Shark Lagoon to give us the information on the new bonnethead shark that is on exhibit. I had heard about the bonnethead various times, but I had never seen it prior to the update. I thought that was really neat.
After volunteering for an hour or so, I got a chance to work with an education volunteer trainee named Sheik. I had worked with him before so I was comfortable with him, and he was comfortable with me. We worked at the ray pool and I reviewed the different rays with him. He’s learning fast and has real enthusiasm. I even recall Sheik saying that he wished he could stay at the different stations an hour each in stead of thirty minutes. He’s going to make a fine volunteer indeed.
So, I finished up my volunteering duties and headed out of the Aquarium…only to come back the next day to volunteer for a member event called Young Professionals Night.
I absolutely love volunteering for the extra events that I’m really not required to go to. The whole atmosphere is different since most of the events are at night. In special events I pretty much do the same thing I would do if it was just a regular volunteering day. Young Professionals Night started at 6:00 p.m. and I got a chance to staff Shark Lagoon which really doesn’t happen much for regular volunteering. So, that was nice. I love to see the shocked faces on the guests as they see how absolutely humongous the rays are in the large pool of Shark Lagoon. Also, there are always the handfull of guests that spend about ten minutes chatting with me about how they’d love a job at the Aquarium and how amazing all the creatures are. I know I’m really lucky to be able to say that I see sea lions, lorikeets, a bull shark, and sea otters…almost on a weekly basis. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to say that I work with them on a weekly basis instead of just seeing them.
When everything started to settle down and people began to go home around 9:00 in the evening I was sitting alone at the ray pool on the rocks that are spread out in the middle of the water. I could see the Queen Mary lit up in the distance, I could smell the ocean, the sea lions would vocalize occasionally, and the bat rays were swimming around playfully. It was so serene. I love those moments. Sure, it was cold but I didn’t care. I just got the happiest feeling (I call them “happy spurts”).
I can’t wait to go back and stay the whole time from 9:30 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening…so I can tell you all about more of my “happy spurt” moments. :)
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