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Other duties as assigned: Duckling rescue at the Boston esplanade

Ducklings sculpture, Boston Public Garden (Photo by Rizka).
By Meredith Scalos ·
Tags: Our Stories

While daily duties for Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) worker T.J. Ruddock include opening the parks and making sure the Charles River Esplanade is clean and ready for visitors, sometimes more unusual problems arise.

Ruddock, a seasonal laborer with the DCR and member of AFSCME Local 3485 (Council 93), noticed a woman flagging for help after she witnessed a mother duck frantically circling a sewer grate.

Ruddock and his co-worker went to investigate and saw several ducklings that were trapped below, unable to get out. While Ruddock’s co-worker removed the grate, Ruddock and his manager looked for solutions to help the ducklings get out.

“At first, we tried a net to scoop them out, but the ducklings kept jumping out before we could get them up,” said Ruddock. “We realized someone was going to have to just get down in there and get them out by hand, so I grabbed my highwaters and climbed in.”

Ruddock was able to retrieve all eight ducklings and return them to their mother, making the local news for the rescue.

“I definitely love this part of the job, being able to help,” Ruddock said. “You’re always helping out people, the wildlife, helping when there are events. I’m trying to get a full-time position to be here and help out more often.”

As a seasonal laborer, Ruddock is part of a team that works only during the summer months. He loves the outdoor aspect of the work and being able to help others in his community.

No person’s – or duckling’s – problems are too small for Ruddock and his quack team, who show up wherever help is needed.

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