09 April 2013

I&J Young Biologist course – day four

Katja Rockstroh

Last day of theory and last day of written assessments. A collective sigh of relief goes through the room and the rest of the day is a bit more relaxed, as there is no more frantic note-taking.

All photos by Katja Rockstroh
Our YB helpers (from left to right: Zubayr, Aidann, Raeesa and Liana, all from the October 2012 YB course) give the newbies some pointers on how to interact with visitors at the touchpool and microsope

Next up is our visitor services manager, Nathalie Viljoen, who talks about the history of the Aquarium and what it means to be a Two Oceans Aquarium volunteer

It is a day of guest speakers, as our next one is Ruth Wright, senior aquarist at the Aquarium. She chats to the YBs about behind-the-scenes volunteering, the challenges and the interesting experiences one has. The YBs are then whisked off into the back areas of the Aquarium for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Vincent Calder, a senior technician at the Aquarium, first talks about our elaborate alarm system, that goes off as soon as any temperature of any of our tanks deviates from the norm. He then shows the YBs our filter room, which contains several filters needed to clean the water before it gets distributed into various exhibits in the Aquarium

Andrew, one of our volunteers, shows the YBs our roof area, which includes the top of our kelp forest exhibit and the top of our I&J Predator Exhibit

Ruth Wright is back, showing our quarantine area, also found on the roof of the Aquarium. In the background is a large portapool, which we use to hold large animals such as sharks and turtles

Bianca Engel, Deputy Head of Education, also showed the YBs our culture lab. Did you know that we hatch our own zooplankton from eggs bought from America? This happens on a daily basis and feeds most of our small invertebrates in the Aquarium.

One of our feathery friends, Laduma, also made an appearance in the classroom. Andrew, one of the penguin volunteers, chatted to the YBs about what it entails to care for these unique birds. The African blackfooted penguin is an endangered species and is not found anywhere else on the planet. Action is needed now to further stop population decline. To find out how you can help, visit www.penguinpromises.org

Tomorrow (Sunday 7 April) we are off to camp, after the dreaded oral assessment. The camp will promise lots of fun activities, such as snorkelling, hiking and rocky shore exploration.

So watch this space!

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