The Good Samaritan Society, a Lutheran Social Service Organization, is a not-for-profit, registered charity with over 65 years of experience providing specialized health and community care services in innovative and caring environments.
By Charlotte Collieau and Heidi Mouris, Recreation Therapists, Good Samaritan CHOICE Program
October 15th was African Penguin Awareness Day, and Good Samaritan CHOICE clients received a special visit from Millie. Millie is one of the Edmonton Marine Life Centre’s African penguins who visits groups across Edmonton to bring awareness and education to those who are interested in learning about penguins.
Stacey, Millie’s handler at the Marine Life Centre in West Edmonton Mall, was a fantastic educator. She taught us so much about penguins; for example, did you know that of 18 species of penguins, only 5 live in colder climates while the rest are all warm weather penguins? We also learned about they use their strong beaks protect themselves, how their eyes have 3 eyelids and how Millie would not close her two major eyelids while she was here in order to learn as much as she could about her new environment.
Stacey also told us about how penguins’ life spans are shortening due to food shortages, and how the Marine Life Centre is one of many organizations developing strategies to ensure penguins’ survival. She also taught us that we can make an impact on the health of all wildlife by keeping garbage and pollution to a minimum and buying fish that are Ocean Wise approved in order to maintain adequate fish levels for marine life.
Overall, clients and residents alike had a wonderful afternoon with Millie. Clients, volunteer and staff dressed in black and white, and we had tasty vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with Penguin toppers (designed by our very own occupational therapist, Ellie). Needless to say, clients and staff learned tons and were enthralled to see a live penguin up close. Millie was an adorable and entertaining guest as she strolled across the table and CHOICE clients learned about her. A huge thank-you to Marine Life Centre for visiting and teaching us about African Penguins.