Every three months, new interns arrive at IEAS to begin their internship. Our internships are every spring, summer, fall and winter. There are two sessions in which the interns have the most trouble dealing with…winter and summer. It is not the work they have trouble with but the weather. Our interns come from all over the US which means different climates. This winter session we had three interns: Amanda Ray, Sorelle Gash, and Emily Macklin. Here are a few quotes from each intern letting you know how they handled the winter at IEAS.
Amanda tells us how she handled waking up to the frigid temperatures every morning. "When we opened that door every morning, we would judge by the amount of frost on the cars just how many layers of clothes would be required that day. Needless to say that as the layer of ice got thicker, the more layers we added. After struggling to fit all the layers on your body, you actually have to be able to walk around with all of this bulk on and head out to feed. There is a lot of patience involved in these cold months. Locks freeze during the night and we have to melt the ice with a blowtorch to open the houses. The doors are hard to open because even the latches ice over sometimes and the gates are hard to raise and lower since the grease freezes on the slides."
Emily tells us how she dealt with the cold and frozen waters. "Everything feels heavier, including yourself, considering you are wearing about 15 extra pounds of clothing. All the hoses are frozen, as well as the water troughs. This is when you grab a long steel pipe and proceed to beat it against the ice until it breaks a hole through so the animals can reach the water underneath. And trust me, this could definitely take some time, not to mention energy and some strong arm muscles."
Sorelle goes through a list of things you will need to survive the winter. "Layers: Use lots. Also highly recommended are two pairs of socks. When you start dancing in pain because your toes are so cold they feel like they are about to fall off, you will understand. Next, no matter how hot you get, DO NOT remove extra layers until after drive thru. Trust me, you’ll be freezing all over again. Finally, no matter how little dexterity you have with your gloves on, do not remove them when flaking hay. You’ll regret it when you have fifty little stickers embedded in your hand."
No matter how the winter is for the interns, the conclusion is the same for all.
Sorelle: "You will have the time of your life. All joking aside, you learn vast amounts about working with the cats. You also learn greater
responsibility, knowing that no matter how badly you want to sleep in, someone else is depending on you…and they love you for it."
Emily: "At the end of the day, you step outside into the crisp, clean air, hear the lions roaring in the distance and you are satisfied that even though you can’t feel your fingers and your nose is so red you resemble Rudolf, you have helped in giving these beautiful creatures the love and daily care they need and deserve, and that is definitely something to be proud of."
Amanda: "The thing is, we love it here so much that we’d have stayed even through a blizzard (wet gloves and all) to have had this amazing opportunity and to be a part of this wonderful facility, and I’m honored to have been a part of it."