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.
This year has been full of new challenges and triumphs. I’m sure it will stand out in memory as the year we added new staff to our Wildlife Center family, we weathered a giant ice storm, and the year Hudson joined our team of Education Ambassadors. But when I look back at the first part of the year … I see Buddy.
Buddy came to the Center in 2008 as a spiky hatchling eagle with a pox lesion growing on his beak. This was not quite a year before I started my externship and eventual employment. I like to think we’ve grown up and into our roles here together. In the last couple of years, we’ve each hit our stride. I can’t look at Buddy and not see how we’ve each come through tough challenges in the last decade. Of course, Buddy doesn’t see that camaraderie, but that’s okay. I adore him anyway.
A tenth birthday party for the most famous Bald Eagle I know was never a question. It would be a wonderful celebration of Buddy’s influence to teach the world about eagles and other Virginia wildlife who end up needing treatment in our wildlife hospital. [While Buddy might be our most known Bald Eagle, the Center has treated nearly 100 Bald Eagles in the last two years alone. This is a reflection of how well the Virginia eagle population is growing but also indicative of the challenges they are facing.]
The invites were mailed, the cupcakes ordered, banners made, an eagle nest replica built, and the gift bags assembled. We were ready for a party!
When the big day of April 27th arrived, Buddy was the center of adoration for so many people. Some had been to the Center before and knew of Buddy’s story. Others joined us for the first time and learned the ins and outs of eagle treatment at the Center. We talked about lead poisoning, the lesson of the apple core, and how individuals can help native wildlife with careful considerations.
It was a successful day spent fulfilling our mission and one of my favorite memories of 2018.