March 13, 2017
Editor's Note: The following is from Audrey, a guest teen blogger and SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council member. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Youth Advisory Council was launched in 2015 and is made up of a group of energetic, passionate, hard-working, won’t-take-no-for an-answer teens! Our goal when creating the Council, was to inspire future leaders. As it turns out, they were the ones who ended up inspiring us.
Hi! My name is Audrey and I am from a little rural town in the middle of Nebraska; I am also part of the SeaWorld Youth Advisory Council! What?! That must be a joke, right? Nebraska most certainly does not border any sea and the closest SeaWorld Park is more than 919 miles away! So beyond being a possible vacation destination, SeaWorld might seem like it has nothing to do with me and maybe you feel this way too?
What I have discovered about SeaWorld is that the care they have for our environment impacts all of us! Let me give you an example of one way I see SeaWorld in me. Every year, I know spring is just around the corner when I look out my window and see thousands upon thousands of Sandhill Cranes. The town I live in is on a stretch of the Platte River where hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes stop to rest for three to four weeks before they continue on their migration to nesting grounds in northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia. These birds are migrating from their feeding grounds all across the southern United States. The stretch of river close to where I live is considered a ‘bottleneck stretch’ where the birds meet up, find their mates, build up body fat on the waste corn in the fields, and then continue north. This 4-6 week migration in March and April is the oldest and largest in North America!
The Sandhill Cranes are one of the most unique and fascinating birds in the world! For instance, did you know that they mate for life, can live to be more than 20 years old, and that the red spot on their forehead is not hair, it is actually a bald spot? The distinctive spot is colored red because their blood is pumping under their skin which the birds can make bigger, smaller, lighter or darker depending on their mood. One of the most interesting things about the Sandhill Crane; however, is the love that SeaWorld has for these birds! The Sandhill Crane is one of the most rescued birds at SeaWorld Orlando. Since Florida is such a heavily populated area, it is hard for the cranes to find sanctuary from cars, power lines, and people. Every year hundreds of birds, including Sandhill Cranes, are rescued by SeaWorld and released safely back into the wild!
The Sandhill Crane is just one example of how I see SeaWorld in me! The SeaWorld Youth Advisory Council is teaching me that no matter where we live, SeaWorld is just as far away as my backyard!
Want to help all our birds? It’s easy – you can start by picking up any plastics you see lying around. Everything from bags to bottle caps can seem harmless to us humans, but can be deadly to our feathered friends. Share your actions on SeaWorld's myActions platform by posting photos of your plastic pick up efforts and the great birds in your community and see YOU in SeaWorld too!
For more information about SeaWorld’s work with our feathered friends check out this story and learn more about Audrey and the rest of the 2017 Youth Advisory Council here.