Posts Tagged ‘rehab’

Photo: Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia.
The green sea turtle above is in Hawaii. Others are in Florida, Egypt, and around the world. When threatened species like these get in trouble, they may receive care at a New York rehab center.

Americans are pretty good at volunteering, and there are so many ways to volunteer that everyone should be able to find something that suits them. I like assisting in English classes for immigrants. The volunteers in today’s story get involved with sea turtles under the guidance of scientists.

Dodai Stewart reports at the New York Times, “On a recent Thursday morning, Maxine Montello was at work making breakfast for 48 hungry diners.

“She had a stack of numbered plastic trays, and a clipboard with a list of corresponding menu orders. Methodically, she placed each tray on a scale, cut up pieces of frozen squid and cold raw herring and added them — including heads and tails — measuring just the right amount.

“Pills were hidden inside some of the fish, and Ms. Montello referred to notes about her customers. ‘Some of them don’t like the tails,’ she said. ‘And Number 7 doesn’t like the squid.’ …

“Ms. Montello is the rescue program director at the New York Marine Rescue Center in Riverhead, Long Island, a nonprofit organization stretched to its limits after receiving a record number of sick sea turtles in urgent need of aid this season. …

“The sea turtle swims under the radar. ‘Even people that might spend a fair amount of time on the water in the Northeast might never see a sea turtle,’ said Barbara Schroeder, the sea turtle coordinator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. ‘But they do use Northeast waters extensively.’ …

“The rescue center mainly sees two types of sea turtles: green and Kemp’s ridley. Both varieties generally travel north in the summer and spend winters in warmer waters down south.

“The green sea turtle, a threatened species with a beautiful starburst pattern on its shell, can be found all over the world. The Atlantic Ocean population often nests in Florida and travels as far as Massachusetts in the summer. They live to about 70 years old, growing to three feet long and 350 pounds.

“The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, a critically endangered species that nests in Mexico and eats crabs in the waters of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States, is smaller, growing to about 100 pounds.

“Once on the edge of being extinct, the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has ‘a very positive conservation story,’ said Ms. Schroeder. Shrimp trawling and the killing of nesting turtles and their eggs at their very restricted nesting beaches had caused their numbers to plummet into the hundreds, but the Endangered Species Act, signed 50 years ago, has helped stabilize the population.

“Climate change has created new challenges to the turtles’ survival. Warming waters mean that ‘turtles and other species are expanding their normal territory,’ Ms. Montello explained. ‘So more and more turtles are going further north.’ Then, when cold weather arrives, often suddenly, the turtles are stranded. … Sea turtles are coldblooded, so when the water temperature drops, so does their body temperature. They become cold-stunned — similar to hypothermia — and go into a state of shock, washing up on beaches.

“The rescue center, founded in 1996, usually treats about 30 or 40 cold-stunned sea turtles during the winter. Ms. Montello has looked at records dating back to 1980, and said this year’s numbers are concerning. … ‘This year we had 95.’

“Of the 95 turtles found cold-stunned this season, 48 are still alive and in the care of the rescue center. The others were either dead when they washed up or perished soon after.

‘Their survival is dependent on how quickly they’re found,’ said Ms. Montello. …

“A lot is unknown about these creatures’ lives in the New York area, and much of the data comes from stranded turtles, not thriving ones. Ms. Montello’s research plans involve recording turtle behavior using customized video cameras that will be attached with suction cups to the backs of healthy turtles when they are released. …

“After the raw fish was loaded onto plastic trays, Victoria Gluck, a biologist on staff, carried a tray over to a turtle tank and doled out the meals with tongs, piece by piece, to the corresponding patients, whose numbers were written on their backs with nontoxic paint. Two volunteers, Britney Dowling and Cecilia Gonzalez, used nets to keep the other hungry turtles away as Ms. Gluck placed fish in front of each turtle, ensuring that they all got their allotted share; a turtle is supposed to eat 2 percent of its body weight a day.

“In the wild, sea turtles are solitary, so being in a tank alongside others in the rescue center makes some of the residents grumpy. On a whiteboard in the kitchen, the team had compiled a list of ‘tank bullies’: turtles known to push their tank mates or try to steal their food. …

“A veterinarian visits once a week, but otherwise the staff members — eight total, four full time and four part time, all women — and a small army of citizen scientists and volunteers are responsible for spotting cold-stunned turtles and helping them recuperate.” Read the rest of the story at the Times, here.

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Photo: Paula Keller
Actor Luverne Seifert demonstrates techniques of Ten Thousand Things, which brings free, low-budget, high-quality theater to people who are not rich.

A new theater company trains actors to do high-quality, free performances for new, nontraditional audiences. Somehow I knew it would be based in Minneapolis, a hotbed of theatrical innovation in the late 1990s when I lived there.

Theresa J. Beckhusen reported the story at American Theatre.

” ‘If I was going to spend my life making theatre, I didn’t want to make art for rich people.’ This is how Michelle Hensley, artistic director of Ten Thousand Things (TTT), a theatre company in Minneapolis, kicked off a recent conference. …

“The gathering drew around 100 theatre makers from across the country to compare notes about working with the grass-roots theatrical model championed by Hensley’s company. Its motto could be fairly summed up as … art for not-rich people.

“For 30 years Ten Thousand Things has been touring productions to prisons, transitional housing, rehab centers, immigrant centers, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, and more — and all for free. …

“TTT productions are performed in the round, in whatever space their tour sites have available. … Actors mingle with audience members, interacting before, during, and after performances.

“The productions are spare: no lavish costumes, no fancy sets, no lights. Hensley puts a premium on story and language. …

“Many conference attendees shared stories … One incarcerated woman in particular was moved by a wedding scene in The Tempest because she’d missed all the weddings in her family. [Another told] how audience members drove from Tijuana to San Diego just to see a bilingual Twelfth Night. …

“Playwright Kira Obolensky led a session on choosing material that would work in the intimate settings pioneered by TTT. She began by posing a question … : What story would you tell if everyone was in the audience? … ‘I don’t think a lot of American playwrights and directors ask themselves this question.’ …

“Brad Delzer reported that he recently began employing TTT’s model with True North Theatre, his new theatre company in Carlisle, Pa. Sensing an opportunity to bring theatre to places that don’t typically see it, and to connect with the strong military community in the Carlisle area, Dezler toured Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s An Iliad to a soup kitchen, a men’s shelter, and the town’s Army Heritage Center, before holding two public performances. …

“He had been generally apprehensive about the whole thing, but had particularly fretted about how a six-minute list of wars from the last few centuries would go over. ‘It played really well, he said, noting the power that came from the moment. ‘It surprised us.’ ”

There’s more at American Theatre, here, where you can see how different TTT groups manage to fund free performances.

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