Interview with Roel Wouters, volunteer

-How did you come in to contact with The Dutch Parrot Foundation?
Iíve visited the Animal Event in the Beekse Bergen for a few years.
I always went to look at the stand of The Dutch Parrot Foundation. But at the Animal Event 2011, I actually came in contact with the foundation. I now owned two parrots myself and I felt in touch with the foundation, so I talked to a volunteer of the foundation (Nida), and she provided me with information. This was followed by the question if maybe I would like to become a volunteer. The next day I was able to come and do a 'test run' on the last day of the Animal Event.

-Why is it attractive for you to be a volunteer for The Dutch Parrot Foundation?
It's just great to work with parrots, they are such intelligent animals. And to be with them all day, that's great. But ultimately I think it's a great feeling when you know that together with the foundation you can inform the people, many people know so little about their own animal. And usually theyíre given the wrong information.
Many people donít believe everything you tell them, because people are used to the old fashioned way of taking care of the parrots. You see that many donít want to believe what youíre saying, because it is new. And all thatís new is often scary.
It nonetheless does give you a good feeling to be able to show people "our" way of handling parrots and encouraging people to start thinking about their animal.

-Are you only active as a volunteer at events?
I am only active on the events, that's the nicest thing to do! Besides school and The Dutch Parrot Foundation I am very busy with my hobby, playing saxophone, I play first sax in a harmony orchestra, so I am too busy to be active outside of events.

Do you find it instructive to work as a volunteer?
It is very instructive, I have learned so much about the handling / taking care of parrots, my whole life has been thrown upside down! But in the positive sense! You'll learn not only about parrots, but at an event you will learn different social sides of man. You learn how to address people, you learn how people can react and how you can react to them. In the future I will certainly want to work in an area of expertise that is about 'animal behaviour and their needsĒ, Iíve known that for a long time now, even before I came in contact with The Dutch Parrot Foundation. The Dutch Parrot Foundation reinforced this feeling. And to apply this in practice, with your own birds, is very instructive.

-How is the chemistry between volunteers?
I have been at a number of events, we usually have a standard group of volunteers. I think we treat each other in a relaxed and optimistic way. However, I must say that I donít know the other volunteers that well yet and I havenít met all the volunteers, ultimately though we all have the same purpose and I think weíre achieving our goal in a relaxed and cooperative atmosphere.
I always look forward to going to an event, taking the parrots along and hitting the road. The days at an event take a lot of energy but are very instructive.

-What do you like most about being a volunteer?
What I like most is guarding the birds, to see them enjoy their day out. I also like to be able to give information because you do increase your speaking skills and confidence significantly by doing so. And of course you have to do the usual chores such as building up/breaking down the tent and the jungle, these are chores that are less fun, but I think I am not the only one with that opinion. However together with the other volunteers we always manage to even make these ďchoresĒ a lot of fun. .

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