We have been pretty busy/ sick the last few days, so we are a little behind on some of the posts we wanted to put together right away. So hopefully, although things aren’t getting any less busy, we will be posting several more topics in the next few days.
In other good news we will be visiting Disneyland in a couple weeks for 3 days, so we will of course be making notes of learning opportunities there as well!
One of the things that I as a parent really loved at Disney is the open attitude of cast members and their patience with talking with us and answering our questions.
One excellent example of this is Julie, who we met at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. She is a trainer/ animal handler who talked to us at length about her job, and about Storm a Harris Hawk, who was rescued and rehabilitated after being shot by a shotgun. Storm is completely blind, but in cooperation with her caretakers, she has lived successfully for the past 11 years even without her eyesight!
Here is a link to a webpage where we were able to start learning more about Harris Hawks, and have a better understanding of Storm:
We thought it was particularly interesting that they hunt in packs ( unusual of birds of prey).
Anyhow, since my daughter is very much interested in animals, and thinks she might like to work with animals in some way some day, I thought it might be interesting to find out what Julie’s job entails as well as how she came to be in the position she is in now ( she has been with storm since she arrived there 11 years ago!)
Julie spends her days, not only interacting and educating the public about many different animals ( depending on programs they have scheduled, and anything interesting that may be happening with the animals), but also works with a huge variety of animals, in their care and training. She told us that Storm recognizes her ( and other trainers) and is very familiar with signals that mean that she will be fed and has figured out how to exercise despite not being able to fly since she cannot see.
Surprisingly, Julie shared with us that her educational background ( like so many of us) isn’t actually in an animal or science related field. Her degree is actually in film! However, she was presented with opportunities while she was still in college to work with animals, and she originally thought that she might like to work with animals in film. She wasn’t very happy with the practices involved n training and caring for animals in film at that time, so she pursued oppourtunities to care for and work with animals in a more rescue and rehabilitation arena. Years of on the job training and a passion for what she was doing brought her to be able to be a key member of the animal care team at Disney.
I thought it was an interesting lesson, showing that there is not always just one way to meet your goals, and sometimes life will present opportunities that might lead you somewhere you didn’t expect , but that will make you happier than you might have ever dreamed.