Training is More Fun with Friends!

I was playing with the style and layout of the blog yesterday evening. Please let me know if anything doesn’t seem to be displaying correctly!!! I changed themes–the old one had too many things broken and was going to be too much of a pain to fix.

I’m also planning to start getting back in the swing of blogging. I’ve been SUPER busy this semester with my classwork at school and I have neglected this blog as of late. My friend Karleen, of ClicketySplit, recently started blogging again after a break of a few months and she’s inspired me to get blogging again too.

As you might know, I’m a member of a research lab group at my university that is called ORCA. (You can check out our cool webpage here.) One organization we work closely with is the Heard Museum, a nature museum in McKinney, Texas. There’s more info about what we do at the Heard on this page on the ORCA website. Working with the Heard is a ton of fun because we get experience working with a variety of species of native and exotic animals. (I’m currently working with a raccoon and a pair of Patagonian cavies.) This partnership is also great for the Heard because the animals and the staff benefit from the training. We mostly work on training projects that make it easier and safer for staff and animals to interact, such as crate training, coming when called, stationing, and training for medical procedures.

This year we have different groups of people going out to the museum 5-6 days a week. Today we had a training demonstration day, where everyone headed out to the museum together. Since we don’t all work on the same projects or with the same animals, we don’t always get to see each other training. That was what today was for!

It was an awesome day, overall. Everyone got to show off all of their accomplishments so far this semester. As well, for some of the projects, the group was able to offer feedback on procedures or techniques or help brainstorm solutions to problem areas.

I was reminded today of how helpful it is to train in groups. Another person is often able to see things from a slightly different angle (either literally or figuratively) and is able to offer suggestions or feedback that you might never have thought about.

Also, it can be helpful to share your training progress with someone who is not very familiar with what you are currently working on. A person with a completely new set of eyes will often force you to explain yourself carefully and really think about why you are doing certain things. In addition, a new person will often ask questions that might raise ideas or possibilities that you hadn’t yet considered.

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