Senior Project Snapshots
During the month of May, seniors engage in off-campus pre-professional projects. Students gain hands-on experience and receive an introduction to the professional world. At the conclusion of their Senior Project, students present reports to faculty and their classmates.
Senior Project: Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
- Jonathon Hurley – University of Delaware
- Supti Roy – Bryn Mawr College
- Carly Teitelbaum – The George Washington University
How did you decide to volunteer at Cedar Run?
Jonathon: I love working with animals. I grew up on a horse farm in Medford, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to work with baby animals.
Carly: I’ve been volunteering at an animal shelter for a while, and I wanted to do something with wild animals instead of domesticated animals.
Supti: I also used to work at a shelter, and I wanted to experience life at a wildlife refuge.
What is a skill you picked up during this Senior Project?
Carly: I would say responsibility.
Supti: I learned a lot more biologically about some of the animals. For example, now we know the anatomy of an opossum, which is really cool. I’ve also learned how to be more patient.
Jonathon: This has really helped me to not only learn about the animals, but showed me how to work in a team environment. We all have to rely on one another to get the job or mission done. We need to work together, because we’re trying to help all these injured animals and the baby animals who have been abandoned.
How do you interact with the animals on a day-to-day basis?
Carly: I get here at nine, and I check the board to see what my assignment is for the morning. No matter what, I’m going to be feeding animals and changing their cages. The fledglings get fed every hour, and every other hour they get something different. So, they get “salads” on some feedings and then they get a baby bird formula on other feedings. We have to see what time it is and what kind of food they’re going to be getting. If it’s salad, then we have to feed them scrambled eggs with the shells still in them, berries, and mealworms.
Jonathon: When I first got here, it seemed odd that they ate eggs. They do, though – they go into other birds’ nests in the wild, especially the red-tailed hawks.
Supti: I think it’s really interesting when we get to work with opossums, because you can watch them get more aggressive as they grow up; you can see them trying to hone the instincts they need to survive. When they’re young, they won’t try to resist anything, but then they learn that they need to.
Jonathon: Every once in a while we’ll get in squirrels and squirrel babies that are only an inch or two long, and you have to hand feed them with little formula bottles. It’s a really rewarding experience, because you can actually watch the baby squirrels grow up and eventually get released. Just yesterday, I got to release four squirrels back into the woods near Moorestown, and Carly was given eight.
What kinds of things happen to the animals that result in them being taken to Cedar Run?
Jonathon: They were either abandoned by their parents or they were injured in some way. We actually just got two flying squirrels, and they are the cutest things in the world. One was trapped in a stick trap, and a woman poured oil all over him to get him out. He came in covered in oil, so we washed him off, nursed him back to health, and now he’s doing great and he’s going to be released into the wild in a week or two.