First Impressions: Fauna’s Summer Intern Program 2022

After 2 years, interns are back at Fauna. They share with us their impressions of the first week of the program.

I spent all my life in the city of Montreal. I saw cars, roads, impressive skyscrapers, squirrels and pigeons almost every day. The pace of life in the city is incredibly fast to reach performance expectations. I would go through my emails while commuting in the public transport and do some readings for school between two bites during lunch. Nature was a subject that my classmates and I would passively and briefly talk about. We considered Nature as something far from us and that we could use as an escape when overwhelmed by work. We would talk about nature as if it was a different entity separated from us instead of part of us. I did not learn a lot about animals in schools which led me to forget that we are not less animal than other animals. This is especially striking when learning about our closest relatives, chimpanzees. I knew that Fauna Foundation was an excellent place to get closer to them.

Fauna wild geese

On my way to fauna in Carignan on Montreal’s South Shore, I could see the agriculture fields which reminded me where some of the fruits I get from the groceries store come from and that was an introduction to what I was about to experience during my first week at Fauna. When I arrived on Fauna Foundation’s site, the first element that impressed me the most was nature. I was welcomed by trees, a family of Canadian Geese and mosquitos. I felt like I was in a sort of retreat from the city. Not only did I see no skyscrapers, nor pigeons, but there was no traffic since we could go from place to place on site by walking or biking on pathways surrounded by plants, trees and a lake. When I met Fauna’s staff, I was impressed to see how dedicated they were to the chimpanzees living there. The focus was not performance, but rather the well-being of the chimps. That is what drove them to wake up every day and their energy and good mood were way more contagious than Covid 19.

Michaële cleans

While visiting the Chimps House on my first day, I met Loulis, an energetic old guy and had the honor to be baptized by him with bottled water. Then, I helped with the dishes and all of a sudden, I saw a chimpanzee right above me supervising my cleaning, a Mr. Clean who does not say its name. Except on big cleaning days, working at Fauna is generally peaceful since we are not a lot on site. In fact, Fauna’s team is quite small which makes it feel like a family where everyone knows each other and where communication among all members is easy. I am happy to be now part of Fauna’s team and eager to pursue my learning for next weeks to come.