My Day in the Wildlife with Dawn

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

About six weeks ago, I got an email from Dawn (the dish soap, not a woman named Dawn) asking me to serve as an ambassador for them this fall in their efforts to highlight the volunteers who work to save wildlife.

I don’t usually like to travel without the family, but this part of the email got me:

“In order to bring the Dawn wildlife story to life, you would be invited to our A Day in the Wildlife event at TMMC in Sausalito, Calif. on September 12 for a peek behind the scenes. You’ll see firsthand the vital role that these rescue volunteers play in the well-being of wildlife across the globe and the amazing work Dawn enables through its support. And of course you’ll get to meet some adorable and majestic wildlife ‘patients’!”

I couldn’t resist. I had visions of baby ducks taking baths in Dawn bubbles. I love baby ducks.

As I got ready to go, I was amazed that EVERY person to whom I mentioned my upcoming trip already knew about Dawn’s commitment to saving wildlife. (Including my children.) The images of oil-covered-birds being cleaned with Dawn have definitely made an impact.

So what did I do at The Marine Mammal Center?

The eleven bloggers were given an experience not available to the general public. Not only did we get the educational tour, but we each had the opportunity to shadow one of the more than 1100 volunteers as they worked.

Did you catch that? 1100 volunteers.

And these volunteers rock. Most commit to work at least one 12 hour shift each week, and go through intensive training before they can even start.

Without the volunteers, the center simply couldn’t do what it does.

What is The Marine Mammal Center?

The Marine Mammal Center is basically a hospital for seals, sea lions and elephant seals. Their entire purpose is to bring injured (or abandoned baby) marine mammals to the point where they can be released into the wild.

I think I knew that, but was amazed to how it all works.

Volunteers suit up in rubber boots and gloves to sort fish, tube-feed animals, scrub down enclosures, and generally get down and dirty to do whatever needs to be done to help the animals.

I got to experience a tiny bit of that during my day.

Tour of The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California ASlobComesClean.com

We started our day with the same tour offered to the public. We learned about the LONG and difficult process of getting animals to the center. When the center receives a report of an injured animal, volunteers are called upon to watch the animal and assess its needs. Then, a team (sometimes of more than ten volunteers) works together to capture the animal. These missions are full of surprises and risk. Even though the volunteers are helping the animals, the animals believe they’re in danger so they don’t make it easy! (And those elephant seals are HUGE!!)

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

Sea lions have teeth! This is one of the reasons volunteers ALWAYS carry their boards for protection when they’re in the presence of an animal, even when cleaning out cages.

Korie Cleaning out an Enclosure at The Marine Mammal Center ASlobComesClean.com

After the tour, it was time to go behind the scenes. I suited up in rubber boots and gloves and headed into the Fish Kitchen.

Sorting in the Fish Kitchen at the Marine Mammal Center ASlobComesClean.com

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

We helped sort almost-thawed Herring in the Fish Kitchen. Volunteers remove any fish with missing eyes or damaged skin. The animals are already sick and they can’t risk feeding them anything that could carry infection. In busy times of the year, volunteers sort more than 1,000 pounds of fish each day! Depending on how many “patients” need to be fed (sometimes more than 200!), some volunteers may work all day (or all night) in the Fish Kitchen.

I also helped clean the kitchen with . . . Dawn! (Surprised?) The center uses Dawn for so many cleaning tasks. While the marine animals don’t get cleaned with Dawn (like the oil-covered birds do), it’s used everywhere throughout the center as an effective cleaner that’s safe for the animals.

Cleaning the Fish Kitchen with Dawn Dish Soap ASlobComesClean.com

We scrubbed down tables and walls and equipment. Did you know fish scales get EVERYwhere? And they’re so hard to see!

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

We also washed the crates and the center’s trucks with Dawn. As a working hospital, cleanliness is essential.

Finally, I got to meet my volunteer partner for the day.

My assigned volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center - ASlobComesClean.com

Korie volunteers for a twelve hour shift every Friday, and since starting at TMMC, she has decided to become a veterinarian! Her work at the center gives her amazing experience with animals.

I didn’t get to go inside this cage while she and another volunteer worked since there were two sea lions in it.

Sea Lion being treated for a shark bite at The Marine Mammal Center - full story at ASlobComesClean.com

This one was being treated for a shark bite. (They said that the wound was looking much better!)

Cleaning the sea lion's pool at The Marine Mammal Center - ASlobComesClean.com

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

I did get to help clean the pool in an empty enclosure, though, and loved spending time with Korie. It was fun to see how much she loves doing what she does! I’ll share a video interview with her in a future post!

Interviewing Korie at the Marine Mammal Center about her role as a volunteer - ASlobComesClean.com

And then the very best part of the day came. We were able to attend the release of three sea lions back into the wild!

We witnessed, firsthand, the reason The Marine Mammal Center exists.

We drove two hours to an unpopulated area where the animals’ chances of success in the wild were higher.

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

I got to help lift one of the crates out of the truck. In silence. The focus is completely on the well-being of the animal, so we were instructed to resist speaking encouraging words to them (like my mama-mouth tends to do without thinking) because they don’t need any distractions.

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

The center would never keep an animal longer than necessary or release it before it was ready, so it was truly perfect timing that we were able to be there. “Apostrophe” and “Row” (two yearlings), and “Fritters” (a young adult) were all so obviously thrilled to get back into the ocean!

Photo Credit - Susan Goldman

Photo Credit – Susan Goldman

I loved my experience at Dawn’s Day in the Wildlife event. The passion and commitment of the volunteers was inspiring and I was in awe to see the hard work that is done to save wildlife.

I’ll share more of what I learned in future posts!

Dawn

Disclosure: I am a paid ambassador for this campaign, but the experiences, the opinions, and the awe are all mine.

Most photos in this post were taken by Susan Goldman Photography.

--Nony

Vote for Your Favorite #TruCareForTroops Story

This is a sponsored post for an awesome cause!

TruCare4Troops

I shared recently that TruGreen is donating up to $10,000 to Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. For each new like to the TruGreen Facebook page they’re donating one dollar, and for each uplifting story that was shared by the family member of an active duty or veteran member of the military they donated $100.

It’s now time to go vote on your favorite story. The entrants of the top five most voted on stories will receive gift card prizes!

If you’re a regular reader, you know how much I love storytelling. Give me statistics and data and I’ll stare at you blankly.

But stories capture me and connect me to the heart of the people who make up the statistics.

It’s one thing to hear what the “troops” are dealing with, but it’s another to read the personal experiences of fathers and mothers who are parenting their kids, managing their homes, and loving one another while one parent is serving the country full time overseas.

I feel it’s my job to pass on the family stories to my own children that help them understand the realities of families whose loved ones fight for the country. I re-tell my own parents’ engagement tale. My mother and father married before their last year of college specifically so they’d have a year to be guaranteed to be together. The draft was in full force and men were being sent to Vietnam as soon as they graduated. That’s the reality of serving the country. Life paths shift and change.

I’m honored to be working with TruGreen to get these inspirational stories out for people to read.

Go to TruGreen’s Facebook page (remember that for each new like they’ll donate $1) and vote for the stories that make you understand the hearts of these heroes.

To participate in the TruGreen campaign for Children of Fallen Patriots, please go to: http://a.pgtb.me/FpRlNW

Participants can engage on social media using the hashtag: #TRUCARE4TROOPS

 

About Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

Established in 2002, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is dedicated to providing college scholarships, supplemental grants and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. Since its inception, Fallen Patriots has extended over $6.5 million in grants that have been awarded to more than 400 children attending universities throughout the United States.

 

About TruGreen

Memphis, Tenn.-based TruGreen is the nation’s largest lawn care company, serving more than 1.7 million residential and commercial customers across the United States with lawn, tree and shrub care. Your lawn and landscape need ongoing attention to stay healthy. That’s why TruGreen provides science-based solutions tailored to meet your specific needs. When combined with proper mowing and watering techniques, these services can maximize your lawn’s potential. As the leader in the professional lawn care industry, TruGreen is committed to responsible lawn care, including offering and promoting the use of natural, organic services and sustainable practices. Today, there are approximately 250 TruGreen branches in the United States and Canada, including about 35 franchise locations. Go to www.TruGreen.com or www.facebook.com/TruGreen for more information about TruGreen.

 

 

 

--Nony

Easy Way to Help #TRUCARE4TROOPS

This post is sponsored by TruGreen.
TruCare4Troops

Last weekend I was in San Diego for a blogging conference. After a few days cooped up in a hotel, sitting in front of my laptop, I was so excited to explore the town a little on my last night there.

Down at the waterfront, this sight made my eyes get misty:

"The Kiss" Statue in San Diego

See that HUMONGOUS statue? It’s called “The Kiss.”

I love this famous image. It made me think of my own grandparents who were young and in love when my grandfather was drafted to serve in the Navy.  They were high-school sweethearts who had married right after they graduated.

My grandfather was one of the last drafted because he already had two little boys, and he was one of the first to get to come home because his status changed when he added a third dependent (my mother) just after the war ended. (There was a little, ahem, visit while he was stationed near his family . . . )

I’m so thankful he was able to come home, and I love imagining his face when he saw his baby girl for the very first time when she was already a month old.

Not every family gets to experience that.

TruGreen knows this and is committed to honoring those members of the military who aren’t able to make it back to their families.

As Independence Day approaches, they’re hosting TruCare4Troops:

Now through July 23, 2014, TruGreen will be donating $1 to Children of Fallen Patriots for every ‘like’ the TruGreen Facebook page receives up to $10,000.  In addition, TruGreen is asking the family members of active duty and military veterans to share an uplifting story about their hero.   TruGreen will donate $100 for each story entry, and the entrants of the top five most “voted on” stories will receive gift card prizes.

Submit your story between June 24th – July 12th, and/or vote on the submitted stories between July 13th – July 23rd.

At TruGreen, we feel it is our responsibility as good citizens to give back to those in need when we can,” said John Hasselle, TruGreen Marketing Manager.  “We are honored to be donating to Children of Fallen Patriots, where we know that our support is helping to ensure that every military child who has lost a parent in the line of duty receives all necessary college funding.

I love simple ways to support important causes! You can go here to do the easiest thing ever and like the page. That’s also where you can share your story. You can also chat about it all on social media using the hash-tags #TRUCARE4TROOPS.

About Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

Established in 2002, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is dedicated to providing college scholarships, supplemental grants and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. Since its inception, Fallen Patriots has extended over $6.5 million in grants that have been awarded to more than 400 children attending universities throughout the United States.

About TruGreen

Memphis, Tenn.-based TruGreen is the nation’s largest lawn care company, serving more than 1.7 million residential and commercial customers across the United States with lawn, tree and shrub care. As the leader in the professional lawn care industry, TruGreen is committed to responsible lawn care, including offering and promoting the use of natural, organic services and sustainable practices. Today, there are approximately 250 TruGreen branches in the United States and Canada, including about 35 franchise locations. Go to www.TruGreen.com or their Facebook page for more information about TruGreen.

 

--Nony
--Nony

© 2009 - 2013 A Slob Comes Clean All rights reserved. | Blog Header and Button design by Many Little Blessings.