———— An Open Letter to Future Park Volunteers ————
Posted by Elephant Nature Foundation on April 19, 2008
Phyl Kirkland is a Trustee of Elephant Nature Foundation UK, and has volunteered at Elephant Nature Park more times than even an elephant could remember. At our request, she has written up a list of suggestions for future volunteers, to help them get the most out of their time at the Park.
Your time in Elephant Nature Park will be an experience of a lifetime. To ensure you enjoy it to the full it is suggested you read the following carefully and note the content.
- Please bring old clothes that you do not mind getting dirty or just plain ruined. We have special soap- and detergent-defying mud!
- You will need to bring a torch, nail brush, towel(s), sunhat, sun cream, T shirts, shorts, sweater and long trousers for evenings when it can get chilly and a long-sleeved shirt if you are particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
- The long-sleeved shirt and trousers are also very useful if you find yourself working in undergrowth.
- Although this may seem obvious bringing money will enable you to buy cold drinks, ice creams, items from the gift shop or avail yourself of the many bargains in Chiang Mai. Arriving without funds and then being disappointed is not unknown.
Footwear: Ideally sandals with straps (crock type shoes are excellent) so that your shoes stay on your feet in the river. Trainers or walking boots are also recommended as you never know what chores you may be called on to perform or where.
Rainy Season: The rainy season is May to September but it is especially wet during August and September. You will need Wellington boots. These are available in Chiang Mai but if your feet are larger than an English size 7 you may be better off bringing boots with you as larger sizes are difficult to get. Again, T shirts, sun hat, shorts etc for daytime plus a raincoat. Bring extra clothes with you during this season as it can take up to five days for things to dry.
Cold Season: This is from November to February, with the coldest months being December and January. You are strongly advised to bring warm clothes to sleep in and a sleeping bag would be useful as the provided blanket is not really warm enough. Besides the usual T shirt, shorts and so on for day wear it is essential that you have a fleece or warm jacket, hat/scarf, warm socks and sweaters as it can be particularly cold at night and first thing in the morning. The days are hot and sunny.
The atmosphere at the Park is great, the camaraderie wonderful, the food yummy and the local people fantastic and friendly. The elephant experience is unbelievable but please remember that although they have been domesticated they are essentially wild animals and a lot bigger and stronger than you! The Park rules are for your mutual safety and protection so please observe them.
The rest is up to you. Enjoy and become one of the increasing number of volunteers who return again and again.