RogueMuirHead: Photography and Writing

Contrawise & Counterwise, in memorium: Volunteer Excursions June 2017

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Location: Sonoma County Regional Parks

“Contrariwise,’ continued Tweedledee, ‘if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.” ~Lewis Carroll “Alice in WonderLand”

Hello everyone! Today’s post will be moved to Friday to continue on with June’s Roadtrip. I got some sad news at my volunteer site.

I volunteer for the Regional Parks in my area, specifically at the Discovery Center. The center is an interactive building geared towards informing the public on information about the local area’s flora and fauna as well as advice on what you can do towards conservation efforts in keeping the community safe and clean. It is a center that is rich in variety and resource material that often hosts school field trips.

With working as much at my retail job I am only available for the Discovery Center once a week. I usually sweep, dust and clean and once in awhile  when I can spare an extra day I am shadowing any school field trips of younglings. My main focus there is to feed and help maintain the resident wildlife. At the center we have a few animals that live on site: a box turtle named Shelby, a western painted turtle named Rosie, two corn snakes,Sunset and Cornelia, lots of fresh water fish and the creatures in the sea water tide pool, two monkey faced fish and a rock fish. I have many pictures and many stories of everyone that I help take care of there. However, it was today that I found out Tweedles Dee and Dum, a pair of monkey faced eel fish, had died.

I have been volunteering here since late February and have gotten to know the feeding rituals of each species pretty well. I arrive every Tuesday afternoon between 3 and 4 for the great feeding. I like to think that all the critters have taken note of my arrival, usually expecting me. Saying “hello” I enter unlocking the doors, checking all the exhibits to ensure everything and everyone is in their place. The next stop is usually the tide pool. Sea urchins and star fish linger in the sixty one to sixty five degree waters as a rock fish named Pudge swims around the plant life with Tweedles Dee and Dum watching on as they maintain their positions within the depths of the water. It is usally by my high pitched voice that the two creatures slither and swim to the surface to greet me, their big black pupils bugging out their lips smack knowing krill will be within their future.

They will wait close to the water’s edge watching as I begin to prepare their meal of frozen krill and a few carnivorous ends for their survival pleasure. I place their food on the end of a stick ensuring Pudge (who is the theif of the bunch) does not steal every piece I feed to Dee and Dum. They each eagerly kiss the surface of the water gulping down each time. It was a gradual process, however I had reached a point where I could simply drop the food into their mouths at the most opportune time.  

Over the past several months I have been able to observe them. Knowing when they had a particular stressful day from visits from classrooms, with small hands reaching into the tide pool grabbing at them to maturing as they were young creatures. Dee and Dum would often breach the surface of the water to place themselves on the very edge of the pool, allowing me to glide my hand across their slippery skin before they pushed themselves back into the water. This was often not advised, but I felt welcomed with them.  

I will greatly miss Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They had an impact on me and I grew attatched to them. I knew their distinct personalities and in a way they have helped guide me on my next excursion in this life. They may not be part of the desert ecology I am studying, but still they were part of my step into a new adventure in park enforcement and education I never thought I would take.


2 Replies to “Contrawise & Counterwise, in memorium: Volunteer Excursions June 2017”

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