For the past few months, the Education Department has been collecting donations primarily from Facebook posts. Our supporters are incredibly generous, and Erin and I were really touched by your contributions. We wanted to let you know that your contributions went to a very big need!
The Education Team has a quaint room in the big red barn that we use for our avian Education Ambassadors – affectionately called the “Bird Room”. Everything from food prep, medical exams, equipment storage, and beak and talon trims occur in this room. It is used daily, and accommodates quite a bit of traffic.
To be frank, the Bird Room was “well-used”, and was in need of some upgrades. The room was originally outfitted for a smaller staff and smaller collection of animals, but with the increase of our needs over the years, we had sort of outgrown it.
After months of saving up, we were able to transform the room into one that serves all of our growing needs, gave us a space we are proud to work in, and most importantly continue to give our Education Ambassadors excellent care.
Erin and I built up our arm strength moving all the old, very heavy “furniture” out of the room so we could start the process. We are a resourceful people here at Cedar Run, and seeing the many repurposed fixtures reminded me of that. (Some highlights include the old gym benches used as shelves to hold our transport boxes, and the metal lockers that kept our equipment and enrichment items).
First, we painted the floor and the window frames. I’m proud to say that the only casualty of this step was some paint in Erin’s hair – otherwise we escaped the peril of rouge paint unscathed! We diligently painted from the back of the room to the door, ensuring not to “island” ourselves in the room and not being able to leave. Our only mistake – forgetting to turn off the ceiling light in the middle of the room… Minor.
Our orders were placed on Amazon, and every day Erin and I anxiously waited for the sound of the Fed-Ex truck in the drive. Honestly, it was more exciting than Christmas!
Finally, we had received all the new elements for our new room and we got to assembling. Assembling shelves, tables, lights, and book shelves is a funny thing… sometimes they come without directions. Sometimes, they come with directions that don’t make sense, and sometimes they come with funny little diagrams:
The first thing to be put together was the stainless steel prep table. Wow. What a beauty. It’s level (a quality our old prep table lacked), and able to accommodate many different responsibilities, but most importantly – it’s easily wiped down, and disinfected (a VERY important routine for hygiene, and our animals’ health).
Then, the shelves were assembled. Remember friends – read all the instructions before you go full speed ahead assembling something to avoid having to deconstruct the last step to move on to the next one that you accidentally passed. Not that that advice was learned in the putting together of our shelves…
The other elements of the room came together, including a new light for beak and talon trims, and the room felt so professional and beautiful. We were so excited for how these new fixtures would help us give better care to our birds!
I’m very thankful to work alongside a colleague who is handy, light-hearted, and is willing to hold two pieces of shelving supports together while I wack it with a hammer precariously close to her fingers and face. Trust exercise, right?
After a week of use, I’m proud to say our construction has held up, and this room is immensely helpful in it’s new utility. Sometimes new things make you appreciate how much the old things really needed to go. Most importantly, this will serve our Education Ambassadors so, so well, and be a room that will endure beak and talon trims, feedings, and medical visits for a long time to come. It’s easy to keep clean, organized, and adapt to the ever-changing needs of our schedules.
We owe this all to our generous supporters, and I really can’t thank you all enough! You are the reason we are able to continue to serve our community, educate tens of thousands of people annually, and rehabilitate over 5,000 wild animals every year to be returned to the wild.
–Lauren Edzenga, Environmental Educator