Animal Services and Protection
Distancing during quarantine doesn’t just affect human to human contact. Animal and human interactions and socializing have also been somewhat restricted. Animal rescue centers are not considered essential businesses during quarantine, so for Lynbrook’s Animal Services and Protection (ASAP) club, which volunteers with animals through protection services and animal rescues, volunteer opportunities are limited.
In response, the ASAP officers waived second semester point requirements, but are still using email and their website to send members information about online opportunities, so that if members choose to stay engaged they can continue helping different animals in need. Many animal rescue and protection organizations have a variety of online volunteer opportunities, mostly related to promotion. ASAP members can update bios for animals on the Doggie Protective Services website if they want to find some dogs forever homes. Wildcare, an organization dedicated to protecting and spreading awareness about wildlife, has a teen support group, and due to COVID-19 recently added the option of “ad hoc”, or impromptu, duties. Pandemonium Aviaries, a bird sanctuary and conservation organization, builds social networking and art volunteer groups, which are perfect creative opportunities during the shift to online volunteering.
Officer recruitment remained a similar process to previous years, with applications sent out and submitted online, however, interviews were also inevitably conducted online, through Zoom.
“It went pretty smoothly, but it was definitely less convenient for applicants who were unable to present their ideas as clearly as they maybe would have in person,” ASAP president and senior Natalie Semersky said. “In general, it was a level playing field for all applicants, so it didn’t impact our decisions too heavily.”
COVID-19 also impacted other ASAP activities. Members aren’t able to gather for ASAP socials, and several upcoming events were canceled, like a Chipotle fundraiser the ASAP officers had planned to raise money for the Australian Red Cross to help with animal recovery from the Australian wildfires.
COVID-19 may shift the timeline for clubs like ASAP, but it doesn’t create a permanent loss of many fun events and activities. Most cat rescues have kittens around April and May, and though ASAP members weren’t able to volunteer with the cats this year, they will be able to next year. Marine life programs also begin around this time every year, which members will be able to look forward to. Ideas for socials this year are also able to be implemented in the future.
“A lot of our ideas for this time could be used next year,” Semersky said. “So hopefully our current plans will transfer into more frequent and interesting events for future years.”