2016 Year in Review: Raina Krasner, Outreach Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2016! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2016 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Every summer, the Wildlife Center spends a week presenting at all eight branches of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library (CRRL). For four days during July, the outreach coordinators (and education animals) present a dozen programs and meet more than 1,000 people.

It’s one of my favorite events every year – I’ve presented at CRRL for the past four years, and I’m in the process of scheduling for 2017! We usually have fun themes to work with (one year we talked about the superpowers of birds of prey, and this summer we took a “journey down the river”). The staff and community are so engaged and supportive; it’s always fun. In 2015, I did a radio interview about the library tour alongside Rebecca Purdy (formerly the Youth Services Coordinator), and we talked about how cool Buttercup the Black Vulture is. I was even featured in the library’s “guest pick” series on their blog, listing my favorite wildlife-related books. Basically, the CRRL is awesome.

Rebecca Purdy and Raina Krasner (Photo courtesy of WFVA Fredericksburg)

During the week of the tour, I get to stay in a hotel with my animal co-workers – you can learn so much about the animals by sharing a room with them overnight. While sleeping a few feet from an opossum isn’t the most enjoyable (or best smelling) part of my trip, it pales in comparison to sharing fridge space with her dinner (e.g. wet dog food mixed with dried insects and dead mice) or waking up to a Barred Owl’s call as an alarm clock.

Luckily, there are many parts of the library tour that make up for the smells and sounds of my hotel roomies. I love meeting the audiences for these programs. It’s an area of the state I don’t get to see much, so meeting people and supporters from the Rappahannock Region (including the more remote Westmoreland County) is a rare opportunity. They have fun stories about wildlife in their area, or sometimes share an epic tale of getting an injured animal to the hospital in Waynesboro.

Aside from the fun of the programs, I get to explore a different landscape and find cool places along my journey. I’ve taken to eating lunch at this little café called the Art of Coffee, across the street from the Montross library, each year before I present. I have a little routine.

For a couple of these four years, I split the tour-week with my fellow (former) outreach coordinator, Chapin. But this past summer, I was on my own. Chapin had left the Center earlier this year, and her replacement, Alex, wasn’t yet fully trained. But all was ok! I love the library tour, and although it would be exhausting, I knew it would be enjoyable overall.

Then, trouble hit. I’d been busy the week before presenting programs at other libraries, and I could feel my voice starting to go … and by Day Two of the CRRL library tour, I was sick and I had almost completely lost my voice. I was so disappointed!

Luckily, I work with some pretty amazing people. My new co-worker, Alex, helped me out by presenting part of the program on Day Three – his very first program was a little sooner than any of us expected!

On the final day of the tour, former outreach extern (and current front-desk coordinator) Ashley Perry stepped up to the plate to help me out. For the second two days of programs, Ashley presented most if not all of the remaining programs. She was awesome.

I was bummed to miss out on presenting, but I feel so lucky to have co-workers that will back me up when I need help. Thank you!

Now for 2017 … I’m stocking up on honey and throat lozenges …


Keep checking the Wildlife Center's blog for more year-end posts this week!