Day One at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

I don’t know about you, but my definition of a fun day is standing around in the sun for three hours watching animals ignore me. And fun days they were! In just my first week at the Desert Museum I’ve managed to get up close with all sorts of animals I never thought I’d be so close to, as well as learn a ton of natural history from the museum docents and staff.

Day one

My first day of volunteering at the Desert Museum was Saturday the 5th. I was helping out with a Coati Kid’s club event, a program to help teach grade school level children about Sonoran animals and wildlife through presentations and fun activities.

The kids were learning about otters, which aren’t animals typically associate with the desert. Apparently, otters used to be more common in southeast Arizona, but as the rivers and riparian areas left so did the otters. This makes me really wish there were still permanent rivers in Tucson. Imagine if you could see otters in the Tanque Verde Creek next to Basis? I’d want that, that would be amazing, I love otters! Instead of otters, however, the Tanque Verde River is just filled with dirt and sadness.


Ms Robin, my faculty adviser had brought an animal to the classroom, a hog nosed skunk. While skunks and otters are very different creatures, the share a superfamily, musteloidea. Her name was Penelope, Penny le Pew and she was quite charming. She got to eat some mealworms in the dirt, what a cute thing she was! I did some sketches of her, as well as Dot, the museum’s river otter.


Later, the kids were given a craft to do, a tiny felt stuffed otter. All the pieces were cut out and laid out for them, they just had to put it together. It looked something like this:


Very detailed sketch, I know. I was manning a hot glue gun, to attach the plastic bead eyes to children’s crafts. A boy came up to me, about eight. He said, “I need my eyes glued, I can do it.”

I shook my head, “Sorry, but the glue gun can get very hot. We don’t want you burning yourself on it, so can I glue it for you?” I took the felt otter, dabbed a bit of hot glue onto the felt and pressed a bead into it, and yelped in pain. I burnt myself on some glue.

I’m sure that boy thought I looked very competent that moment.

After Coati Kids club was over, Ms. Robin set me loose to familiarize myself with the museum grounds and get some sketching done. I settled myself in the aviary and drew some bird, because I like birds.


And thus ended my first day at the ASDM. It was 3 o’clock when I turned in my volunteer badge and planned to set off to home.However, my father/my ride forgot that I got out at 3:00 PM. He was 45 minutes away from the museum at that point. So I got to sit in the hot sun in front of the museum for 45 minutes.

Again, bummer, but good day overall.


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