I had a bit of writer’s block today. It happens sometimes.
The weather was nice, though, and we finished the daily cleaning on time (sometime around 1pm when we regularly serve the chimpanzees their lunch). Some chimps were walking around the perimeter of Young’s Hill with Katelyn (on the outside of the fence, of course) and Chad had just returned from feeding the cattle and mucking their barn. With things settled and quiet around the Chimp House, I decided to drive around the property to capture some photographs of the scenic landscape. The pastures and woods that surround the facility have started to turn emerald green and are even speckled with the first yellow and purple wildflowers of the season.
One thing that is missing from the sanctuary right now is the extended team of people who would normally be enjoying the onset of spring along with us. We typically have fifty volunteers and interns who show up for rotating shifts, and many of them are like family to us. We are following a strict quarantine protocol and are operating with just the core staff, leaving us with just a fraction of the usual personnel. In terms of caregiving, we’re doing just fine– the meals and meds are always served, the enclosures are always cleaned and the chimps are always engaged in one activity or another- but the facility still feels somewhat empty without the all the familiar individuals who help us to care for the chimps and their sanctuary home.
We’ve been working on other ways to keep our community informed and active. Although we aren’t open to the public and we don’t exhibit the chimps (or even the cattle, for that matter), sharing our work is a huge part of this sanctuary’s culture. While that certainly includes communicating special updates and highlighting noteworthy milestones, it also means illustrating the most simple and mundane aspects of life at CSNW. I thought you all might enjoy seeing this little piece of my day: an afternoon cruise around the sanctuary on the John Deere Gator.