Tuesday, March 13, 2012

South Africa Farewell: Cape Town Revisted

This is a post from Paul Leonard from the Aquarium's penguin care team. He traveled to South Africa in the Fall of 2011 to volunteer his time and expertise helping to raise abandoned African penguin chicks at SANCCOB and study wild penguins on Dassen Island.

I've been home for almost four months now and it still feels like I was just in Cape Town. Before I get any further reflecting on this amazing experience, let me start out by sharing a short message from our friends at SANCCOB, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.

Since I've returned from SANCCOB, lots of people have had tons of questions about my exploits. My responses almost always begin with, "It was awesome! You have to go there..."

Jo Blasi (catch up on her trip to South Africa here) and I have been reconnecting these past few weeks, preparing for our formal report on our adventures. Our Aquarium Lecture will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at the New England Aquarium. It has been fun organizing and putting this presentation together. We've been thumbing through tons of pictures. We often find ourselves digressing into some irrelevant banter. Sometimes we'll show each other the scars that our hands received from the penguins portrayed in the various pictures.

Most of all I'm reminded of the new friends that I've made. They are all so much like us, passionate about protecting their natural resources for generations to come.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about these adventures. I hope they have given you insight into all of the intense work that is being done to save the African penguin from extinction. Please continue to support SANCCOB. Please continue to support the New England Aquarium's mission to Live Blue. Please continue to volunteer for whatever conservation programs you feel deserve the attention.

Paul Leonard

NOTE: The Aquarium Lecture Series is free and open to the public. However, if you would like to attend Jo and Paul's lecture on Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m. here at the Aquarium, we request that you register online here.