The Start of my Summer Internship at the Seacoast Science Center

Wildlife

The Seacoast Science Center (SSC) is a nature center located in Rye, New Hampshire. SSC’s mission focuses on ocean conservation and education. I have been exploring at SSC since I was a kid. It was there that my curiosity for wildlife began blooming. Whether I was a toddler who had my arm shoulder-deep in the touch-tank checking out snails, sea stars, and urchins, or as a 9 -year-old camper at their nature day camp, or as a teen at their “Music by the Sea” summer concert series, I spent a lot of my youth there.

I recently began an internship with SSC doing marketing, social media, and event planning. This has involved everything from taking photos for social media, to writing interesting blog posts, deciding the best place in the center for donation signs, and planning virtual events! I am getting experience working on a marketing team, advancing my writing skills, and crafting photographs that interest the public. Although I am working remotely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, I am gaining experience in a field that I want to go into. Nothing is more important to me than conservation education through creative expressions like writing, videography, and photography. It is my hope to work as a wildlife journalist and photojournalist in the near future.

Just this past week, I got to go into the center and play with Raspberry, a 35-year-old box turtle that was brought to the center when it first opened after being found abandoned at a construction site. He has become the unofficial mascot of SSC and is well-loved by both children and adults who visit. I spent my afternoon filming a cute, bouncy video starring Razz (as the staff call him) on our reopening plan. What a tough job, right? (Kidding of course!)

Raspberry the box turtle at the Seacoast Science Center. Photo Credit: Lauren Bucciero

I also got to be one of the first people to see the new exhibit on coral reef restoration. I’ve seen many changes to this humble non-profit over the years, but this one is particularly exciting as they are expanding their animal collection. There was a very personable eel (I’m unsure of his species, I’ll have to ask) that came out of his hiding place and slunk next to the tank, moving with whoever was walking by.

Eel at the Seacoast Science Center Photo Credit: Lauren Bucciero

SSC will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m fortunate enough to be gaining experience at this beloved facility for the summer that will hopefully help to further my career as a serious wildlife writer and educator in the future. Thanks SSC, with a special shout out to my supervisors Nichole VP, Karen the marketing director, and Heidi the social media specialist.

To learn more about the Seacoast Science Center, check out their website here

Marabou Stork: The Undertaker Bird

Wildlife

Unlike its counterpart the white stork, associated with the mythology of bringing babies, the marabou stork’s unruly appearance and unsettling scavenging behaviors make this bird the center of death folklore.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

The marabou stork is a unique species of bird. Known for its large stature, its long, hollow legs, large beak, and a droopy, pink wattle, the purpose of which is strictly for show, many would consider the marabou stork an unappealing animal. In spite of not having any feathers on their spotted head or legs, their bodies are covered in dark grey feathers. Unlike the traditional stork mythology, the marabou stork is associated with death rather than the bringer of babies. Sometimes called the undertaker bird, African folklore says this awkward looking stork was created by God out of remaining bird pieces when he ran out of animal parts; this is why its appearance is so unpleasant. Although unique looking, these birds have many fascinating characteristics.

Gelatin-Free DIY Birdseed Ornaments

DIY Crafts and Projects, Wildlife

With winter quickly approaching, many animals find natural food sources scarce. This DYI Birdseed Ornament is a craft that’s not only fun to make, but great for your backyard animals as well!

What you will need:

  • 1/2 Cup coconut oil
  • 1 Cup birdseed (usually sold in your local grocery store in the pet aisle)
  • 1/4 Cup chopped nuts
  • 2 Tablespoons of nut butter (I used sun butter)
  • Muffin tin or cookie cutters
  • Mixing bowl
  • Stovetop pan
  • Popsicle sticks or straws

The Do’s and Don’ts of Feeding Wildlife

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Providing food for wildlife has its pros and cons. Leaving food for small backyard animals during the cold months when food may be scarce is a great way to help maintain wildlife populations. However, you also don’t want to overfeed wild animals, as they will become dependent on people and be less efficient at finding food themselves. You also run the risk of attracting pests into your home. This how-to guide gives some pointers on how to safely provide food to wildlife.

How to Find Animal Care Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Wildlife

I’m often asked about my many unique experiences I have had with animals over the years. I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of animal interactions from a young age. Such as growing up visiting my grandfather’s farm, to volunteering at animal shelters, interning at veterinary hospitals, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation for birds, and of course my two-month internship at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park in the summer of 2016. If I had a nickel for every time someone exclaimed “ugh I am so jealous of all the cool animals you have gotten to interact with.” I would have enough money to buy my own giraffe (which I would not recommend, giraffes are smelly!) However, most people don’t realize that you don’t need to have an animal related education or career to have the experiences I have had. In fact, there are many ways that you could start volunteering, interning, or even find a job in animal related career today! I have compiled a list of helpful hints, tips, and ideas below. Check ‘em out!