99-year-old Myrtle MacDonald and high-school student Jaelyn Bjornerud-Brown formed an unlikely friendship after being paired through a program that connects seniors with young people.
The elderly women signed up for the program after feeling isolated and lonely during the pandemic. She was paired with the 17-year-old Jaelyn, with whom she instantly connected over their common interest – nursing.
High-school students in British Columbia participate in the program because the time spent with seniors is added toward the volunteer hours they need for graduation. They’re supposed to spend 30 minutes per week with their elderly friends, but many go far beyond the expected minimum.
True Friendship Doesn’t Care about Age
In a recent interview, MacDonald shared that she found Jaelyn to be more interested and less in a hurry than she had anticipated. She also added that the 17-year-old filled an empty spot in her life. Jaelyn, on the other hand, commented that she not only loves talking to her new friend but also looks forward to their meetings. Their get-togethers last slightly more than an hour, and according to the teenager, time goes by so quickly.
MacDonald used to be a nurse and spent much of her life living and teaching in other parts of the world. Her stories are an inspiration to Jaelyn who wishes to become a nurse and help people in need.
The Program Received a Huge Positive Response from the Local Community
The program that created this wonderful friendship is managed by the Compassionate Neighbourhood Health Partners Society. Their goal was to help seniors deal with solitude while giving teenagers the opportunity to amass their volunteer hours. However, the success of the program surpassed expectations, according to its organizer Connie Stam.
The friendship between MacDonald and Bjornerud-Brown is a testament that age is only a number. Furthermore, it shows that spending time with the elderly can teach valuable lessons to teenagers whose life is just about to start.
In the audio survey done to record the kiwi bird’s population on the North Island in New Zealand, several areas are now filled with the sounds of this bird. These areas were silent back in 2016. It is not the case anymore. The male bird has a high shriek while the female has a low growl. About 150 bird conservationists heard the sounds of these birds in December when the previous survey was done.
In order to keep a count of five of the nation’s kiwi species, the surveyors depend on the human ear and assess the status of their population in the same areas. This manual survey is called Kiwi Call Count. In 2021, there was a 50% rise in the sounds at these sites and not once were these sites silent. This survey was part of an action plan to save the kiwis in the ‘90s. Dogs, feral cats, stoats, fed on these kiwi birds as they were easy to catch as they were a species that had evolved without any native predatory mammals around.
A Successful Program
The trapping was highly successful considering that two of the kiwi species namely rowi and the northern brown had gone into the endangered zone back in 2017 as per the Red List by the IUCN. The biodiversity ranger at the Department of Conservation Ayla Wiles said to The Guardian in an interview that all these efforts put into saving the species seem worth it. She further added that it felt amazing to hear the birds again after years of silence. In fact, in a place named Whangerei Heads, there were only 80 kiwis and now there are over 1,000 of them. This is proof of the program’s success.
The Night Bird
The call of this nocturnal bird makes it easy to track animals. These calls are easily discernable in the dark. They also have some unique characteristics allowing conservationists to keep track of the same flock of birds each passing year.