Karen T., Super Volunteer

Karen T., Super Volunteer

Every Tuesday morning, one of our amazing, long-time volunteers, Karen T., brings oatmeal for the chimps. Tuesdays are a favorite day for both the chimps and staff at the sanctuary: Karen always shows up with fun new enrichment for the chimps (books, stuffed animals, hats and shoes) and always brings a delicious snack for the caregivers, interns and volunteers as well. (Today she brought us Caramel Tres Leche cake. Wow!)

It’s easy to tell when Karen arrives because the chimps’ pant hoot with excitement as soon as they see her car coming down the driveway. Patti, who usually waits for Karen in the Front enclosure, hops up and down as Karen walks up the front steps holding a pot of steaming hot oatmeal full of raisins, berries and soymilk, a bag of new toys, and even some junk mail (which Patti loves to open while she eats her breakfast). As soon as she saw Karen this morning, Patti let out a piercing squeal of excitement and ran towards her, lips pursed and fingers extended, exchanging heavy breathing with Karen through the mesh (something the chimps do when they are asking for reassurance, often in times of excitement). Then she ran over to me, eyes ablaze and breathing short, so overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation at arrival of her favorite volunteer.

After feeding the chimps breakfast, Karen drives up to the lynx habitat to feed Alfie and Linky as well. Then, without hesitation, she jumps into the first open chimp enclosure and begins to clean and set up for the day. It’s always obvious which enclosures Karen has set up because the perfectly crafted nests of blankets and colorful enrichment purposefully placed throughout them is so inviting, it’s hard not to sit down and enjoy them yourself!

Thank you, Karen, for always being such a delight to work with. We love Tuesdays and we love you!