Recently I went to Whipsnade Zoo with my support worker for the day. We had a lovely day seeing the animals and the weather was lovely too! I enjoyed seeing some of the animals being fed. I was really happy that I got to see a baby zebra as they are one of my favourite animals.
Last year at college I did an adult learning course in Animal Care. I learnt not only about how to care for a range of different animals but about conservation too. So I found it really interesting going to the zoo and learning more about zoo conservation and seeing it put into practice. If you would like to find out more about conservation at Whipsnade Zoo please visit https://www.zsl.org/conservation .
Going to the zoo gave me a fantastic opportunity to do one of my hobbies which is photography of wild animals. Throughout the day I took many photos and I thought I would share some of my favourite shots.
European Brown Bear
African Dwarf Crocodile and Butterfly
Butterfly in the Butterfly House
Foal and Mother (Grey Zebras)￼
I had a fantastic day at the zoo and can’t wait to go back there soon!
Through my love of animals which started when I was little as well as how animals have helped me with my mental health. I decided I wanted to do volunteering with animals.
I now volunteer once a week at a farm as an Animal Care Volunteer. The farm I go to has lots of different types of animals. From Alpacas, Goats and Llamas to Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Rats and Rabbits to name a few. We also sometimes get to look after reptiles such as snakes, geckos and skinks.
The farm works with children, young people and adults to build up their confidence and self-esteem through working to care for a variety of animals. Children and young people who come here maybe home educated, have mental health conditions or found mainstream school hard to name a few.
When I was looking at different places I could volunteer at this place taught my eye as they had worked with other young people with mental health conditions. I thought this place would be fantastic as we get to work with animals in a more therapeutic environment. I felt that I could help give back to other young people and show them how much joy animals can bring into your life and help you to be more positive. Animals don’t just help them to forget about difficult things but sometimes helps them to process things as the animals are making them feel relaxed and safe.
Throughout the day on the farm I do a number of different tasks to care for all the animals on the farm. Here are some of the tasks I do.
Cleaning out hutches,cages and fields. I put down fresh hay in all the animals hutches, cages and shelters. Giving all the animals fresh water in their water bottles and bowls and topping them up regularly throughout the day.
Mucking out the ponies field.
Refilling the rabbits water bottles.
Sometimes I groom the goats, ponies and the dog. We also take the goats and ponies out of their main field and take them for walks around the farm so that they have new things to explore and they love it !, The goats love to try and eat the leaves too.
I help to prepare all the animals food as well as giving it to them when it is feeding time.
Grating carrots to put into the rabbits food.
Dinner time for the rabbits.
Feeding Obama the Llama.
Finally a big thing we try to do is do as much animal handling as possible this is not just because the animals need to have human interaction but sometimes children and young people come to the farm to do animal handling sessions here the children and young people learn all about the animals.
I absolutely love volunteering on the farm and would highly recommend volunteering not only is it good to put on your CV but you get to learn new things about yourself. You get to see if you prefer learning through doing or more sitting down and writing.
If you are aged between 14-25 you can log your hours of volunteering you do on the website : http://www.vinspired.com , by doing this you will get certificates for the number of hours you do . You can show these certificates in any interviews you may have from college course interviews to internships, work experience placements and jobs.
Over the past couple of months I have really got into photography, I have found that it is helping me to manage my mental health.
Doing photography helps me to not only be creative but to help me to really ground myself and bring me back to the here and now.
Photography is a very useful tool for me to use when doing my grounding technique I learnt in therapy.
5. Name 5 things you can see right now
4. Name 4 things you can hear right now
3. Name 3 things you can touch right now
2. Name 2 things you can smell right now
1. Now take a slow deep and breathe
I love doing nature and animal photography as I have to really look at what is around me and try and see how and what it could look being photographed in different ways. I especially like taking photos in autumn as the leaves are all changing colour I like how the light shines through the leaves and can cast shadows on the trees. I enjoy experimenting with trying to get photos of the raindrops on the leaves and grass.
Raindrops On A Fallen Leaf.
Raindrops On A Blade Of Grass.
Light Coming Through The Leaves.
Taking photos of wildlife has helped me to look at detail and to take my time when looking and not to rush but be quick enough to capture the shot I want.
I really enjoy taking photos whilst on walks with my dog, by doing photography I can now see things I wouldn’t normally see for example the light shining on some leaves or some fungi growing on some wood. This helps me to stay in the present and try not to dissociative.
Pheasant In The Garden.
Wild Deer In The Garden.
The great thing about doing photography is that I can do it where ever I am because I don’t have to just do it on a traditional camera I can do it on my phone or iPad.
Doing photography has also helped me to express myself too as I can do my own photography projects on different topics. By doing photography I can express and understand my emotions in a creative way instead of keeping my thoughts and feelings inside.