It’s time to look back on 2018! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2018 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
Answering phones at the front desk of the Wildlife Center has its rewards and challenges. As a front desk "sub," I'm only there when asked to fill in, or to provide an extra hand during the busy season, but I often log in up to 40+ calls a day when I'm there. Most calls allow me to help figure out the best course of action for possibly injured or orphaned wildlife found by a caller. Once we've decided the animal does indeed need rescuing and to be brought to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, the next challenge is getting this foundling to available help.
The Center is fortunate to have more than 400 volunteer transporters throughout the state who have given us permission to give out their contact information to see if they may be available to provide transport should the initial rescuer (or their friends and family) be unable to do so.
Sometimes the first person called is enthusiastically available and all is well. Sometimes dozens of calls and some hours later, we've had no luck.
Insane numbers of vehicles are plying Virginia's highways and byways day in and out. Could we take advantage of all this existing traffic with a communications smartphone app to alert users of transport needs? After all, the Wildlife Center is conveniently located only one-half mile off of a major interstate. Each new user would become that much more informed about the role wildlife plays in a healthy environment. Facilitating the shortest possible travel distances and combined trips has added energy-saving environmental and therefore wildlife benefits.
The digital age is already steadily creeping into the Wildlife Center's affairs. This year for the first time, an online system was used to place bids at the Annual Gala's Benefit Auction. It was a big success, allowing participation from the widest audience yet.
Not being much of a smartphone user myself, I'm sure my expectations for such a cyber-tool may be unrealistic. Could it provide directions to the needed destinations, track mileage for tax-deduction purposes, notify all invested parties of rescue progress? Could it help incentivize transporters with a reward program, help track the fate of their precious cargo, provide the required permission document should the law be concerned about anything amiss?
Enter ERIN. My software-savvy friend answered "yes" to almost all my wild wishes from an app like that. She's even been laying out some design and programming ideas and recruiting help to get this ambitious project started. It is a ways off and meanwhile continues to grow larger than life in my head.
The dedicated volunteers on our transporter list will continue to be our first line of transport attack. They are revered and easily assume god-like status around here. But that TRANSPORTER APP! Could it be the cure for the wave of panic I get when a vet eases up to the front desk asking "Can you arrange transport for that Barred Owl from Richmond?"
Dreaming of an App for That ,