The Echo

The Hook

Published on July 14, 2017
Written by Sarah Gorton

SarahGorton
Courtesy of Sarah Gorton
Sarah Gorton
Bracken Cave volunteer since 2012

I started volunteering at the San Antonio Zoo when I was in 8th grade, presenting information to visitors at kiosks around the zoo. I chose bats because there are so many kinds of them and so many things they do. You can never be done talking about them.

San Antonio Zoo is known as the “bat zoo,” and they donate a portion of their ticket proceeds to BCI. That was how I first got up to Bracken Cave, and then I just kept showing up there after that.

Even though most of the work I’ve done there has been with groups or doing clean-ups, when I go to the cave, I learn something new every single time. Then when I go back to the zoo, I’m constantly telling people to go check out Bracken. Volunteering doesn’t always have to be physically “doing” something. It can be as simple as talking to people.

When people approach the kiosks at the zoo, they automatically think we’re selling something. We have to keep them interested. So I say the most ridiculous true things about bats—like if you were to eat your body weight in a single night, like a bat does, it would be like eating 30 to 60 large pizzas. Or that if their arms were as long as bat wings, their fingers would be three to four meters long.

When you say that to someone with no context, you automatically get their attention, like a good opening line to a book. People are blown away by how strange these creatures are.

Sometimes sheer enthusiasm is enough to convince people. If I get really excited and animated, that really reflects on whatever cause you’re supporting. I believe that if you show your heart, it will reflect in what you do.