It’s time to look back on 2021! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2021 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
What a year 2021 has been! I will remember this as a year of growth, grief, gratitude, sorrow, and change. It is bittersweet to see this year - and my time at the Center - come to an end.
In 2021, the Center has undertaken The Great Rebuild, and we’ve worked closely with Lantz Construction company on these many projects. They answer our questions and provide kind and practical advice on challenges the staff see in our aging building. In the course of the last year, working on many projects, the Center and I made a friend in Lantz’s project superintendent Tony.
In January, we were completely heartbroken when Grayson, the Broad-winged Hawk and decade-long resident of the Center, was killed by a predator who forced its way into her enclosure. The staff was further alarmed when there was evidence of other predator break-ins and attempted break-ins to both education and patient enclosures. Tony and his team saw our despair and desperation. He helped us devise and then carry out long-term solutions to keep these would-be killers out of the homes of our wild residents. The animals are now safe, and those changes provided peace of mind and the blossom of a beautiful friendship.
Tony and his team are as compassionate as they come. They realize that loud construction noises can cause stress to our patients and to the education ambassadors, so Tony communicates with me, Amanda, and Dr. Karra frequently to make sure the timing works with moving animals around or putting up visual barriers in order to minimize stress.
The Lantz team hasn’t hesitated to point out potential problems as well as provide solutions, and I know this year with all these projects would have been nearly impossible without the great communication we’ve had with Tony. I came to rely on him and knew that he would never think my questions silly, no matter how basic they seemed. Tony is an expert in his field, but also is so kind.
I have worked at the Wildlife Center for almost all of my adult life, starting at the tender age of 22 and fresh out of college. It's been a personal refuge, gave me a family I didn’t know I needed, and watched me grow into the person I am today. There are many memories that have shaped my time at the Center, but the main memory will be the friends - human and animal - I made along the way.
-- Lacy Kegley, Vice President for Administration