My name is Ellen and I am one of the newest caregivers here at the sanctuary. I am excited for the opportunity to introduce myself to you all today, and look forward to many more shared conversations to come on the blog.
I grew up in Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia where I studied Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. During my junior year of college I had the opportunity to complete an internship at Chimp Haven in Louisiana. Of course, I quickly fell in love with the chimpanzees and knew what I wanted to do…care for chimpanzees.
After graduation, I started my career working with chimpanzees as a caregiver at Chimp Haven. Over my 6 years at Chimp Haven, I grew as a person and caregiver thanks to many important lessons learned from my chimpanzee friends and human mentors. I was involved in training many new caregivers and interns that are caring for chimps and other animals around the country now, which is pretty amazing to think about! My favorite parts of my job were building relationships with the chimps and working with them on positive reinforcement training, which I look forward to continuing here at CSNW. While it was very bittersweet leaving my chimp and human friends, this new chapter has been filled with exciting new adventures.
One such exciting new adventure is caring for cattle! I was excited to meet Meredith, Nutmeg, Honey, and Betsy but unsure of what to expect. We are all still figuring each other out, but Meredith seems to approve of the regular supply of apple sauce I made for her to take her medicine in, and Betsy has graced me with plenty of licks with her raspy tongue, so I think we are off to a good start.
My favorite part of working at CSNW is being able to provide such a high level of individual care to everyone. Whether it is babysitting a troll doll for Foxie, wearing a too small boot for Jamie, getting out of breath running around the hill with Burrito, grooming with Terry, playing chase with Cy, or any other shared moment with the chimps, I am loving every opportunity to build relationships with my new chimp friends and give them the sanctuary life that they so deserve.